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When a pastor in Illinois heard that the mom of a girl connected with his church had been diagnosed with cancer and needed a liver transplant, he made a remarkable decision. After talking with his wife, he decided to be tested to see if he qualified as a donor.
“I always had a feeling that I was going to be a match,” said Rev. Matt Hoffman, according to The Chicago Tribune. “I don’t know why. Maybe everybody has that feeling, I don’t know. But I really felt, from the time I signed up, that, ‘yeah, it’s probably going to be me.’”
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In October 2018, three weeks after giving birth to her third child, Ellen Totten found out she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Days later, she heard that she also had a rare and aggressive form of cancer in the bile duct of her liver, a complication of the PSC. In order to stay alive, Totten needed chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and–“most critically”–a living donor.
People began spreading the word about Totten’s need, and Hoffman heard about her plight one day after visiting the classroom of her daughter, Jane. Even though Totten and her family attend South Park Church, Jane goes to the preschool connected with St. Andrews Lutheran Church, where Hoffman is the pastor.
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“There’s a section of hallway between the church and the school and I just sat down on the ground and cried,” he told the Tribune. “It was just really tough to think about what (the Tottens) were going through and what Jane could be facing.” So Hoffman talked with his wife Anne about exploring the possibility of donating his liver to Totten. Anne wasn’t thrilled about the idea of her husband undergoing surgery, but said that if she were in Totten’s...
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