DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A gift of life led to an emotional meeting for an liver recipient and the liver donor’s surviving family.

Rebecca Roper met Denise Ely, who received the liver of Geraldine Hodges, Roper’s mother.

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Geraldine Hodges (Hodges family)

The life-saving transplant happened in 1997.

Although Ely received her transplant at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Hodges was from Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Ely and her son Evan Ely flew to Dallas for an incredible meeting on Friday.

Roper and Ely meeting for first time (Southwest Transplant Alliance)

Ely received the liver 21 years ago when Hodges was 75, so Ely’s liver now has the chronological age of 96.               

“It just a wonderful feeling to see the result of what happened and the decisions that were made,” said Rebecca Roper. “I know without a shadow of a doubt that she would be so happy with what you have done with your life, and that you were the one.”

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The coincidences between the donor and the recipient are uncanny. The recipient grew up in a foster home, and the donor grew up in an orphanage. Both Ely and Hodges earned a Bachelor of Nursing degree when they were both 52 years of age; Ely views it as a way to give back after her transplant.

According to Ely, Hodges is the mother who gave her life.

Both families said they hope their story encourages more people to become registered organ donors.

Rebecca Roper and Denise Ely (Southwest Transplant Alliance)




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