New life makes Easter more real
New perspective on life took 14 years and the saving gift of a new liver
By Erin Davisson
Summoned to Serve is the diocesan theme for 2000-2002. The theme is an outgrowth of Renew 2000 and the Jubilee Year. It invites Catholics to put their faith and spirituality into action by serving others through charity and justice. This series will look at ways to do that.
I am alive! The thought made me giddy that spring day in 1991. I'd spent the last four months in the hospital, sometimes
wondering if I'd ever be taking this ride home. That day, my eyes
not accustomed to the sunshine, the colors of spring seemed
intensely brilliant, and practically shouting out that new life
For the first time, I could fully appreciate the enormity of
God's precious gift of life, and felt a part of his resurrection
My new perspective on life was 14 years in the making. Call me a
slow learner. It started when I was a college sophomore and
diagnosed with Wilson's Disease. At Mayo Clinic, doctors told me
about the disease. They said that Wilson's Disease was
hereditary, and meant that my body did not metabolize copper.
Instead, copper that I ingested in food and water would migrate
to my liver or brain. It could be treated with drugs and diet.
I seized upon that last bit of information, and went back to
living a normal life, with some adjustments made to this
invisible disease. But Wilson's Disease would become quite
visible soon enough.
In August of 1990, I was working at WFRV-TV in Green Bay. My
health had slowly deteriorated over the years, but in subtle
ways. I felt tired frequently. I retained water. I had trouble
eating. It was nothing that would really catch my attention. But
I was about to get a violent shove.
After work one Friday, I felt unusually tired. A full night of
sleep just left me exhausted. In the morning, my then-husband,
Gary, called the doctor. When he returned to where I was sitting
in the living room, I'd already gone into shock. The next
half-hour was a blur of riding fast in our car, and being rushed
to the hospital emergency room.
It turned out that I'd been bleeding internally all night, and by
the time I arrived, my body was shot: veins collapsed, blood
draining away, blood pressure at 50/10. I was conscious enough to
know what was happening around me, but was unable to move or
speak. But instead of being afraid, I felt safe. God was in the
room, and I felt his presence very strongly.
That faith, and the love and support of family and friends, would
sustain me through the next two and a half months. After being
put on the list for a liver transplant, all that was left to do
was to pray and wait.
Fifteen hundred miles away, an 18-year-old boy was spending the
day as a carefree high school senior should. He was having fun,
enjoying the Florida sun while riding in the back of a friend's
pickup truck. Stopped at a stop sign, he must have seen the car
behind him approaching too fast to stop. In the crash that
followed, he fell from the truck and hit his head. He never
A popular student athlete, his death must have devastated his
parents. But when a nurse approached them about donating their
son's organs, they responded with a generosity that still fills
me with an overpowering awe. You see, their son's liver went to
Ten years have passed since my life was restored through that
miracle of God and modern medicine. This Easter, I do ponder a
few mysteries. Why was that Florida teen's life taken so soon?
And why was I allowed to live?
But the resurrection story does not seem so mysterious as it once
did. I have seen God's power over death first-hand, and
experienced his life-saving gift of love. The miracle was always
there for me to see. Now, thanks to his blessings, I see the
miracle of God's triumph over death everywhere I look.
(Davisson co-anchors WFRV, Channel Five's 6 and 10 p.m.