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Recipient Stories

A Normal Life

As a 2009 district qualifier in the Ohio wrestling championship, 17-year-old Dominic Pizzurro defies all odds. At death’s door in 2005, he’s living proof that organ transplants work.

Born with liver cancer, Dominic had many procedures as a baby, to prevent the surgery he would one day need to survive and live a normal life – a liver transplant. He coped with cancer for most of his childhood, but in the fourth grade, Dominic became ill. Blood work showed his condition was getting worse.

In May 2002, it was time to list Dominic for the liver transplant he needed to survive. He says that he was ready, because he knew he would finally get better once he received his new liver. While he waited, Dominic was able to play basketball and baseball, and did his best to live his daily life, even though he grew sicker by the day, eventually turning yellow.

But on July 21, 2005, the Pizzurros got the call they had waited three years to receive. A liver was available. Dominic says he was the calmest he had ever been after hearing it was time for his surgery. He received his second chance at life on July 22, 2005 and celebrates his gift every year by going to dinner with his family on his transplant anniversary.

Dominic says he’s so thankful for his donor, and his transplant. As a junior at DeSales High School in Columbus, he’s a wrestler, and even played football his freshman year – the first time ever in his life playing a full-contact sport. He plans to go to college, and hopes to one day become a teacher and coach. Dominic says he never gave up while waiting, that he always had his faith and believed in his future. Because of Dominic, many of his friends and family have signed up as organ and tissue donors.

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