Local family celebrates gift of life on Mother’s Day

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

As families across the country celebrate Mother’s Day, one local family is celebrating a gift that keeps on giving.

Maryjane Mabie, a mother of two from Neillsville said she started to feel sick about 12 years ago.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I kept retaining a lot of fluid. They told me my liver was failing and that I should have a pump on it. It was supposed to lower the blood pressure but it didn’t lower it enough,” Maryjane said.

Five months later Maryjane said she was told she needed to go under the knife for a liver transplant.

“They didn’t give me a time limit but said they’d put me on the waiting list. But they also told me that there were 2,614 people ahead of me,” Maryjane said.

Maryjane said she turned to her family and found her daughter Heather Murphy was a perfect match.

Just a few days before Mother’s Day 2001, the mother and daughter endured hours of pioneer surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospital.

Maryjane said she received 60 percent of Heather’s liver.

“At the time we were only the second live liver donors done in the state of Wisconsin, which was pretty intimidating. But the doctors at UW Madison made you feel that anything was possible,” Maryjane said.

Both women said they’ve fully recuperated from the surgery.

10 years later, the mother and daughter celebrated Mother’s Day at their family home in Neillsville on Sunday.

“Every Mother’s Day is very special. Every day is special but Mother’s Day is a good reminder,” Maryjane said.

Heather said there was no question whether she would donate part of her liver to her mother.

“She faced eminent death. It wasn’t difficult at all to step up and offer,” Heather said.

For the past 10 years Maryjane and Heather have been telling their story to various groups, encouraging everyone to consider donating their organs.

“Every person who donates an organ is a hero to me,” Maryjane said.

“Even if you don’t know the person; what a difference it can make in their lives,” Heather said.

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