Indiana Woman Gives Part of Her Liver to Save Mom: ‘A Calling for My Life'

Lori Herbert battled chronic liver problems since she was a teen. She was placed on the transplant list, but her two adult daughters offered to be tested as live donors.

When Jessica from Indiana found out her mother, Lori, needed a life-saving liver transplant, she took the risk to offer hers. “It was like I just knew instinctually or just deep down inside that this was like a calling for my life,” Jessica explains. “I knew it was going to be me. I was not afraid. I stepped right up. I absolutely was ready for it.”

Lori Herbert has been battling chronic liver problems since she was a teen. Lori was placed on the transplant list, but her two adult daughters offered to be tested as live donors.

Lori talks about her daughters and how it felt for them to offer to help. “How could I expect my daughters to go through such a major surgery when they're totally healthy, nothing wrong with them, and it just was scary to think about what if something happened to them while they're trying to save me,” she said. “It would have been devastating. Of course, I get very emotional every single time I talk about it because I wouldn't want to lose one of my daughters. They're everything to me, both of them.”

Before going into surgery, Jessica spoke with her 15-year-old son and had the tough job of explaining what was happening. “I told him, ‘We've got something pretty big to talk about,’” she said. "’Grandma is dying, and we are going to try something to keep her alive.' I explained to him that it was a major surgery and that there were risks to both of us. I told him specifically, ‘If something happens to your mama, please don't be mad at me. Don't think that I'm leaving you behind.’" 

Doctors took 60% of Jessica’s liver and transplanted it into Lori during a ten-hour surgery. The liver is an organ that grows back after being cut, so not only has Jessica’s liver returned to normal size, the sliver of Jess’ liver inside her mother has also grown to full size.

Since the surgery, the two women have grown closer together. “Of course, we were already very close,” Jessica says. “But now we're literally a part of each other now. I think that that definitely strengthens our bond.”

Lori adds, “I didn't think I could love my daughter any more, but after she did this for me, it's very humbling and very, very ... I just can't even explain how it makes you feel that your daughter would do something like that for you, and just love you that much.”

And now that Lori is healthy, it's safe to say that she got one of the best Mother’s Day presents ever. “I already told her, 'You don't have to get me another birthday present or another Mother's Day, it's all good. We're set for life,'” she said.

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