In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

February 8, 2018

Gift of Life Forever Entwines Two Families

By In the Loop

When Faith Westby received the new liver she’d been waiting for at Mayo Clinic, the only thing she and her family were told was that it had come from someone in their tristate area. All of that would begin to change, however, after they saw a news story about a young boy who had tragically lost his life in an ATV accident not long before.

Logan Luft was just 15 when he died in an ATV accident. His family donated his organs, and by chance (with a little help from social media) they were able to meet one of the grateful recipients.

Shortly after losing their 15-year-old son, Logan, to a deadly ATV crash last summer, the Luft family was going through some posts and comments others had left for them on Facebook. One message in particular jumped out at them. "Someone had made a comment about knowing somebody in their town, a young girl, who had received a liver," Logan's mom, Wendy, tells ABC 6 News.

That girl was Faith Westby, from Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, who lived about 5½ hours away from the Luft family's Charles City, Iowa, home. ABC 6 News reports that young Faith received her new liver after doctors had made a "surprising discovery" following a heart surgery she had early in life. "She was diagnosed with a large atypical adenoma in the left side of her liver, and the right side of her liver had quite a few adenomas as well," Faith's mom, Jeannie, tells the station.

Faith had been on the transplant wait list since April. And on July 7, 2017, the Westbys received a call from Mayo Clinic saying a liver was available.

At the time of the transplant, Faith and her parents knew only that her new liver had come "from someone in the tri-state area," according to ABC 6 News. But as Faith was recovering from her liver transplant procedure at Mayo Clinic, the family saw Logan's story on a local ABC 6 News broadcast and began wondering whether Logan could have been the one who had saved Faith's life. "He was at Saint Marys, and that's when our wheels started turning, thinking possibly could this be?" Jeannie tells the station.

Meanwhile, the Lufts were asking similar questions after reading about Faith and her transplant. Wendy reached out to Faith's family via Facebook to confirm the connection and asked if they would like to meet face-to-face to talk more about the bond they now shared.

Jeannie tells the station she was "hesitant to respond" at first. "I think it just scared us that, what if, what if they don't like us, what if they don't feel we're taking care of Logan as well as we should," she says.

There was another worry weighing on Jeannie's mind. "One of our greatest fears also of accepting to meet the Lufts was, will they be disappointed that the organ that their son gave went to a special needs child?" she tells the station. That fear would be short-lived. "The minute I talked to Wendy, that fear was gone," Jeannie tells the station.

In its place has grown a new friendship and a newfound, extended feeling of family. And it's all thanks, ABC 6 News reports, to the gift of life Logan chose to give by electing to become an organ donor. "Every time we're with her and her family, we get to be with Logan, and that's a gift," Wendy tells the station. "We have given them the gift of life through Logan's liver, but they've given us the gift of hope, knowing that we have somebody we get to hang on to."

You can read more about Logan and Faith here. Then share your comments below before using the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.



Tags: liver transplant, Patient Stories

Such a heart warming story!! Faith is a very special young lady that has touched our community. Her joy & excitement brightens your day! So glad the Lufts have seen the joy Faith can bring and have some comfort being with her and her family.

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