Talk About Teamwork – AT&T Employee Donates His Liver to Team Member in Need
Last year, Brian Burkett, an employee based out of Arlington, Texas, wrote to his family, friends and everyone he knew. He was diagnosed with cirrhosis and needed a liver transplant.
Despite his healthy lifestyle, Brian’s body kept gathering fluid around his lungs and abdomen. He learned that he had a genetic defect in his liver. Specialists at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas were frustrated as Brian went in and out of the hospital 9 times over 18 months. Nothing worked. Each visit had its own unique issues.
After three years, Brian’s doctors told him a new liver was the only option. "But I wasn't a good candidate. It could be years for someone to pass away with my blood type. My doctor suggested looking into a living donor,” Brian said.
That's when Mike Snyder, customer services technician, got the word.
Mike filled out the transplant questionnaire. He was fourth on the list. The first three – family and colleagues – were not a match. The transplant team tested Mike. All looked good except he had a fatty liver and needed to lose 20 pounds. Mike did one better; he lost 25 pounds in three weeks.
The surgery and transplant happened on September 21, 2015.
How are Brian and Mike today? They’ve never been closer. "Mike is like family now. Part of him is in me."
Mike donated 70 percent of his liver to Brian. Good news – both of their livers have grown back to 90 percent already. Brian's energy level and appetite have returned. He's able to do things that he hadn't been able to do in years.
For his part, Mike says, "It's so rewarding to see Brian every day and see how well he's doing. It's a miracle a body can even do that. I'm just a guy who did what he could do. To me it's a true blessing."
Portions of this story first appeared in the AT&T Insider on 1/25/16. The story was title “Would you share your liver to save a colleague?” by Lauren Garner.
Image Caption: Brian Burkett (left), and Mike Snyder (right), before surgery