Mike & Amy's Story
and More Information
In My Words
My name is Michael Haas, I underwent a successful living liver transplant on March 10th,2022. My donor Amy & I want to thank everyone for their support, especially our caregivers Juan & Heidi. Amy & I are both recovering nicely. I once again want to thank my living angel Amy Galvan, which I constantly do for her literal gift of life. I hope she never grows tired of hearing it, because I will never get tired of saying it. My blood chemistry is also back to normal, thanks to my new liver. Amy & I now want to concentrate on reaching out and educating people who might be willing to become a living organ donor. I need to thank our wonderful pioneering surgeons, Dr. Ascher & Dr. Roberts. Dr. Ascher has the distinction of being the first female surgeon ever to perform a liver transplant. Dr. Ascher performed the partial liver removal from Amy & Dr. Roberts transplanted Amy's partial liver into me. This team has performed every living liver donor transplant performed at UCSF. One more thing, they have been married to each other for over 30 years.
Our story would not be complete without mentioning "The Planting Love Project." Without their seed, I may not be here now. With their help which started with someone delivering a plant to our doorstep, we achieved media attention through local newspaper coverage which culminated in a story broadcast by ABC-7 in San Francisco. Because of the media attention, 11 potential donors came forward. 10 of whom were complete strangers as well as my Angel Amy who knew us through a casual encounter when she worked at Lowe's in Livermore. Amy was the last potential donor tested. She was the last of the 11. Amy was the only candidate accepted by UCSF to donate. The rest is history.
I have been married to my wife, Heidi, since 1990. I was was born and raised in the East San Francisco Bay Area. I lost my Mother at the age of 7 to cancer. I was then lovingly raised alone by our Father, a German Jewish Holocaust survivor. I have always been gainfully employed in the renewable energy field, and am an active member of the amateur radio community. I have been a Livermore resident since 1992.
In Amy's Words
My name is Amy Galvan, I grew up in Livermore my entire life up until moving to the Sacramento area. I attended Livermore High School and graduated in 2012. In November of 2014, I welcomed my beautiful daughter Lily, and she has become what I am most proud of.
Fast forward to 2015, I began working for Lowe's of Livermore and within a few years is where I would come to meet Mike & Heidi. I worked as an Appliance Specialist, and they had come in for some new appliances. They were very nice people and very personable. I would frequently see them here and there throughout the store and in passing.
Fast forward one more time to December of 2020 and that was when I would see Mike again, but this time it was on the news, and he looked completely different than I had remembered. That was when I learned that Mike was very sick, and he was in liver failure. So, the first thing I thought was, "I'm type O blood, I know I might be compatible just by being young, and I take care of myself. What if I could do this for him? What if I could help give him a second chance? What if I could be that person to help him?" That began my journey and my yearlong series of tests/ appointments to figure out if I would be compatible with Mike.
Turns out, I was a perfect match! ;) If something is meant to be, it will be, and nothing will stop it. I am living proof of that.
Surgery was successful on March 10th, 2022, and I wouldn't change anything. Mike is healthy as ever and I am back to feeling as strong as I ever was. A life changing experience for both of us has turned out to be such a rollercoaster ride of good times, scary moments and lots of smiles.
Some words from Mike's brother Gregory Haas
Usually, livers for transplantation are obtained from people who have died and have given permission for their organs to be donated. However, there are not enough of these donors available. The solution for Mike was a Living Liver Donor transplant.
A living donor transplant occurs when a piece of a donor’s liver is surgically removed and the graft is transplanted into the recipient. Living donor transplantation is possible because a healthy liver has the ability to regenerate. In fact, the Doctors will tell you that it only takes about 8 weeks for the donor’s liver to return to its original function & size, which, of course, is a miracle. Mike was lucky enough that his living Angel Amy gave a piece of her liver so Mike could receive a living donor transplantation. He is on the road to return to a normal, healthy life.
As Amy can attest, donation surgery is major surgery which will require a four to six week recovery period, after which the donor will lead a normal life. However, the surgery is not something that should be undertaken lightly or without full knowledge of the procedure and its risks. Thankfully we have the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), one of the premier transplant centers in the world right in our backyard. This is where Amy & Mike's surgery was performed and the follow up care for both the donor and recipient is provided. All costs for the surgery for both the donor and the recipient is covered by the recipient's insurance.
Unfortunately, not everyone can qualify as a donor. The donor has to be be either a blood type match or type O blood, be of relatively normal weight (a BMI 32 or under), and be between the ages of 18 and 65 years old. The donor has a separate team of healthcare professionals to evaluate them as a living donor. Their job is to help you understand the potential risks and benefits and look out for your best interests. Everyone in Mike’s family, including his wife, were evaluated and none of us are acceptable donors.
If you could spread this message around in any manner possible to your friends, family, online acquaintances, you may be able to save a life. Just the fact that you have taken the time to read Mike’s story makes us grateful, and we maintain the belief that there is goodness in this world.
If you believe that you can help, please contact us, UCSF or Donor Network West using the information on the Contact page.
Our goal is to reach out to anyone who would be willing to become a living donor. If you cannot donate, then please pass this along to anyone you know who might be able to. In the Gallery, you can watch some short videos from Amy & Mike including hearing from 3 other potential donors who were willing to give part of their liver to Mike.
Thank You for taking the time to hear our experience
and consider helping in this important matter.