‘She’s finally cancer-free’: 2-year-old cancer patient meets 30-year-old living organ donor who saved her life

PITTSBURGH — It was a magical moment at UPMC Children’s Hospital. A man who donated part of his liver to save a child’s life met her in person for the very first time.

Because of the living donor liver transplant, 2-year-old Emily Smith will grow up to lead a normal life.

It was pure joy on the faces of Joseph and Courtney Osborn, as they laid eyes on little Emily. She had a cancerous tumor on her liver.

“Unfortunately, she went through five rounds of chemotherapy that didn’t take care of the tumor. Her only option to survive was to get a new liver,” said Dr. Armando Ganoza, a liver transplant surgeon at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“You’re beautiful baby,” said Joseph when he saw Emily.

Joseph did not know the family, but wanted to help.

“It was one of those things where it was like the Lord loves her and the Lord values her, and I’m going to stand in agreement with that,” said Osborn.

He gave a priceless gift to a child in need.

“Oh gosh, there are no words to even describe it. It gives you chills just talking about it. I mean that was a huge surgery. I had to look into all the living donor stuff for our purposes, too. That was a huge surgery that he undertook for a complete stranger,” said Heather Smith, Emily’s mother.

“We’re excited about the Lord’s plans for her, and so we knew that the way he kept opening doors that everything was going to be all right and it was going to be good for everybody involved,” said Joseph.

The prognosis for both patients is very good.

“She’s getting ready to go home. So we’re excited! And she’s finally cancer-free, so that’s exciting too,” said Smith.

When asked if Emily will be able to live a normal life, Dr. Ganoza said, “Absolutely, she’s already living a new life.”

Thanks to her new and now life-long friend, Joseph Osborn.