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Man Steps Up To Donate His Liver To Terminally Ill Friend He Hadn’t Seen For 21 Yrs.

Steven and Richard

The closest friends don’t have to see each other every day, every week, or even every year. Some friendships are simply timeless.

That’s how Steven Robinson of Teaneck, New Jersey felt when he was visiting Detroit, Michigan and realized his old college roommate lived nearby. He called up Richard Koonce, whom he hadn’t seen in 21 years, and asked if he could swing by for a visit.

Richard and Steven go way back. Not only were they roommates at Norfolk State University in Virginia, but Richard actually introduced Steven to his wife, Natalie. Richard immediately said yes to a visit, so Steven, Natalie, and their three kids drove to his home in Sandusky, Ohio.

As soon as Steven saw Richard, he knew something was wrong. Richard had lost a lot of weight and didn’t look well at all. Steven pulled his friend aside and asked him what was up. That’s when he learned that Richard has been fighting a rare liver disease since 2019. Primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC, is a chronic disease that causes scarring inside the bile ducts. Steven had already tried several different treatment options, but the only cure for him now was a liver transplant.

Richard didn’t even have to think about it. He immediately felt called to donate a portion of his own liver to his friend.

“It’s a special man who would volunteer to do something like this,”said Richard. “Steve is special.â€

Steven discussed the donation with his whole family, and they agreed it was the right thing to do. Richard’s own family had tried to be his donors as well, but doctors determined that Steve is a better match for his physiology and also shares the same blood type. It seemed meant to be!

Steven credits his religious faith for his certainty. He also wanted to set a good example for his children.

“I also looked at it as something my children could look at it – not necessarily giving an organ – but being considerate of other people in life,” he said. “There was a lot of prayer; I’m still praying on it. But I believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Steven and Richard had their transplant surgery on Valentine’s Day. Richard’s daughter Morgan shared a message on Facebook saying the operation went great and both men are recovering nicely!

There’s truly no shelf life for some friendships! Steven and Richard’s story reminds us that each relationship we make in life is precious. You simply can’t predict the impact you’ll have on someone’s life down the line.

Share this story to wish both men well as they recover.

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