These 2 Friends Share A Liver — Now They’re Tackling A Marathon Together!

Sara Gillingham and Dave Kane

Four years ago, Dave Kane of Cape Elizabeth, Maine received dire news about his health.

He’d always been in good shape, but doctors discovered cancer in the bile ducts of his liver. The only way to save Dave’s life was to receive a liver transplant, so he put out the word to all of his friends and family. When his friend Sara Kate Gillingham heard about his condition, she felt “called” to see if she was a match.

Dave says his “diagnosis was pretty grim,” but thankfully for him, Sara Kate turned out to be a perfect match! Not only that, but she was willing to go under the knife to give him 60 percent of her healthy liver in order to save his life.

“I don’t know. I just felt a calling,” she explained. “I felt like I am in a really good position to do this. It’s really nice to be able to sit here and smile and laugh about it. But it was a very dark time.”

The surgery went well, and both Sara Kate and Dave healed. Their friendship deepened as they completed their first post-transplant year, followed by a second and a third. This year, they decided to celebrate the fourth anniversary of their successful transplant by running 26.2 miles in the New York City Marathon!

Sara Kate Gillingham and Dave Kane
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Sara Kate and Dave used the event as a way to raise money for the American Liver Foundation. Press coverage of their unique story has also enabled them to raise awareness for living organ donations, a topic they’re both understandably passionate about promoting. The transplant list for donated organs is long, so finding someone who’s willing to do a living donation can mean the difference between life and death.

Dave couldn’t be more thankful to Sara Kate for her incredible gift.

“Sara Kate saved my life,” Dave said. “That’s what’s so great about this opportunity to run and to publicize, you know, the incredible bravery and generosity and love of Sara Kate and the opportunity to be a donor.”

Sara Kate Gillingham and Dave Kane at NYC marathon
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Sara Kate says her donation made her life more meaningful and she hopes their story shows people they can “make a bigger impact on the world than you think is possible by doing this.” She currently volunteers with other living donors to educate them on the process and recovery.

It’s so wonderful to see how healthy and happy both Dave and Sara Kate are after their transplant! Share this story to wish them best of luck in the future.

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