Frank's Story

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When he was three years old, Frank Garger was diagnosed with liver disease. His parents were told their toddler would not likely live through his teens. But Frank defied that prognosis and was eventually placed on a liver transplant waiting list.


"All I asked was, 'Please get me through to August,'" Frank says. "That's when my second son was due to be born."

- Frank Garger


Years later, in May 2002, Frank was admitted to Einstein for the removal of his gallbladder. When the Einstein surgeons saw the state of Frank's liver, they immediately elevated his priority level on the nationwide transplant list. They determined Frank should undergo a liver transplant as soon as possible, which turned out to be the day after he awoke from gallbladder surgery.

"All I asked was, 'Please get me through to August,'" Frank says. "That's when my second son was due to be born."

Franks endures serious health problems caused by liver disease

Frank had dealt with the symptoms of liver disease for most of his life. Classmates and coworkers teased him about his jaundiced eyes and yellow skin color, and he often had to cope with bouts of diarrhea, severe itching and reduced appetite.

Despite those health challenges, Frank excelled in contact sports and worked rigorous outdoor construction jobs. "I was very fit physically," he says. "But I always knew that a liver transplant might be in my future."

An Einstein liver transplant improves Frank's quality of life

After undergoing Einstein transplant surgery, Frank weathered two rejection scares. Still, he was able to attend his son's birth and ultimately made a strong recovery.

Frank has never looked back. His busy schedule includes a full-time position as a salesperson for a plastics firm. He is also president of his son's school board as well as the Lehigh Valley Coalition for Organ and Tissue Donation. He keeps active and even earned a gold medal in bowling at the National Kidney Foundation's Transplant Olympics.

"The games are a lot of fun and we all try to do our best," he says. "But they carry an important message too-that transplant patients are everyday people who lead active lives, and that transplantation has come a long way: it works!"

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