“Miracle Match”: The Unlikely Bond of Two Lives Saved by a Shared Liver Transplant

Cooper and Susana may seem very different. Cooper is a lively 3-year-old who loves cars and dinosaurs. Susana is a 63-year-old who used to work as a nurse but had to stop because of severe back pain and a condition called autoimmune vasculitis.

Last fall, both Cooper and Susana needed liver transplants. Cooper had a condition called Alagille Syndrome, which damages the liver, and Susana had fatty liver disease made worse by other health problems.

Luckily, they both got part of the same donor liver during a special surgery at NYU Langone. Susana got 80% of the liver, and Cooper got the remaining 20%.

Susana feels incredibly grateful for the transplant and says she’s now free from pain.

Cooper’s journey started differently. He was born with Alagille Syndrome, just like his mom’s sister who sadly passed away from it. Cooper’s parents, Amanda and Sherman, noticed something was wrong with him right after he was born.

Cooper’s liver was failing, and he suffered from itching, delayed growth, and jaundice.

Dr. Nadia Ovchinsky, Cooper’s doctor, noticed how much he was suffering and suggested a transplant.

Cooper’s family was scared because his aunt had died while waiting for a transplant. But one Saturday morning, they got the call they had been waiting for.

Cooper had his surgery the next day. It was a tough moment for his parents to see him being taken into the operating room.

The surgery was a success. When Cooper woke up, he asked for his favorite drink, apple juice.

Cooper’s dad posted a video of him asking for apple juice on TikTok, and it became very popular. People from all over the world sent him toys and helped with medical expenses through a GoFundMe page.

@cooperstransplant Cooper recieved a Liver Transplant over Labor Day weekend. He was unable toeat or drink for 48 hours. This was him being reunited with his favorite drink… apple juice.#baby #foryourpage #fyp #babiesoftiktok #viral #ALGS #raredisease #raiseawareness ##happy ♬ original sound – CoopersTransplant

After the surgery, Cooper’s mom saw pictures of his old and new liver. She was shocked to see how damaged his old liver was.

Now, six months later, Cooper is doing great at home with his family.

NYU Langone organized a meeting between Cooper and Susana to celebrate Cooper’s birthday. They were amazed to see how well Cooper was doing after his transplant.

For Cooper’s parents, meeting Susana was surreal. They felt like a part of their son was living in her.

Cooper’s mom was touched when Cooper went up to Susana and said, “So big!” It showed how much he had grown and changed since the transplant.

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