Image: Alena Christian gift of life

An engagement, education, career and life all put on hold.

“I didn't feel like I was ready to go at that young of an age,” said Alena Christian. 

She was just 16-years-old when she was diagnosed with auto-immune hepatitis; a disease that causes the immune system to attack the liver. By the time she was in her late twenties, she found herself on a transplant list waiting for a deceased donor. 

During that time, she had many health complications including nausea, abdominal pain, jaundice and even acytis. In fact, she was collecting so much fluid, that it caused her to look pregnant. It was a time of uncertainty for both her and her fiancé.

After a long wait and no match, things changed, “After two years of waiting I was running out of time, they reevaluated my case and decided that they could do a living donor,” said Christian. 

The clock was ticking, and one of her sisters turned out to be a match. But a phone call presented another opportunity for her to get a liver sooner. 

“I was ecstatic, I was really happy, I was really emotional, I was crying, I was just so thankful that I was able to receive a transplant,” said Christian.  

It was a feeling that wouldn’t have been possible If someone hadn’t checked the box that said "yes" to donating their organs. 

But just when she thought the battle was over, more challenges arrived.

She developed sepsis twice, and even had kidney failure, but she overcame them both.

Now, she's living life to the fullest, after getting a second chance. From traveling, to finishing her degree, planning a wedding, and even volunteering at the gift of life with her fiancé to help save lives. 

Alena says everyone has the ability save another life or eight lives after they pass, if they choose to become an organ donor.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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