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Thriving after a Liver Transplant

July 07, 2008
Zach Bryon2

Zach Bryon ends his journey with a routine checkup after a liver transplant.

Seventeen year-old Zachary Bryon and his family ended their three week cross-country tour Monday, July 7, 2008, with a stop at Hopkins Children’s and a visit with Director of the Pediatric Liver Center Kathy Schwarz, M.D. Local news crews were on hand to document the family’s last leg of a journey chronicled by national media.

The clinic appointment was an anniversary of sorts. Born with a genetic liver disease, diagnosed by Schwarz, Zach spent most of the first years of his life at Hopkins Children’s, undergoing a successful liver transplant there in June of 1991. Since his high school graduation this spring, Zach and his North Carolina family have traveled the country to promote organ donation and transplantation awareness. They kept a blog along the way.

In 1991, Zach received a portion of liver from a child killed in a car accident. Meeting his donor’s family in the Midwest during the trip stood out for the teenager, who for nine years now has been free of medicine related to the transplant and leads a full and healthy life. "I realized the magnitude of what had happened to me and to them," says Zach, now contemplating a career in microbiology. "I’m so grateful. I would not have survived otherwise."

Schwarz and Zach’s surgeon Paul Colombani, M.D., surgeon-in-chief at Hopkins Children’s, have more than 20 years of experience in caring for transplant patients and families. Learn more about The Johns Hopkins Pediatric Liver Transplant Program, which specializes in living donor transplants, an option not available in 1991.