Local Woman Receives Liver Transplant From 12-Year-Old Girl

Taitlyn Hughes (Courtesy photo)

KILLEEN (October 21, 2012)-- A Central Texas woman is fighting to make sure the story of the child who saved her life lives on.

Killeen native, Nefeterius McPherson, was just starting a brilliant career when she was diagnosed with secondary sclerosis cholangitis. It's a liver disease that stops the flow of bile to the stomach.

"I never had any health problems growing up," McPherson said.

"But in 2005, I was told I had this disease. I was really shocked, doctors told me there was a possibility I could develop bile cancer someday."

McPherson was born with the disease, though it never came into fruition until she began working as press secretary for the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington D.C.

As she tackled her dreams on capitol hill, the deadly disease grew inside McPherson.

"I just wanted to know what was wrong, I was completely blindsided," McPherson said.

In 2011, complications from the disease required McPherson to undergo a liver transplant. She was put on a waiting list for the organ.

After months went by, McPherson finally was given a new liver. However, she was surprised to discover it was from a 12-year-old girl who had died of brain hemorrhaging.

"I was excited to get my new liver, but when I heard it was from this sweet little girl it broke my heart," McPherson said.

"How could I be excited when I knew across town this family is mourning their child?"

McPherson was given a new life, but not without death. She wanted to get to know the little girl was who saved her life.

After much research, McPherson found out her new liver was from West Virginia native Taitlyn Hughes.

Taitlyn was an avid football and West Virginia Mountaineers fan. McPherson contacted her family and scheduled a visit.

During the visit, Taitlyn's mother gave McPherson a West Virginia Mountaineers football shirt. The shirt, had previously belonged to Taitlyn.

McPherson wore Taitlyn's shirt to West Virginia's game against UT in Austin,TX. While at the game, she took a photograph and posted it to Facebook. The caption read,"She wore it first, and I wore it last."

The photo went viral and Taitlyn's story has been shared across America.

West Virginia University has even invited Taitlyn's family and McPherson to their game against TCU in November.

There the university will honor the little girl who chose to be an organ donor, and saved a life before she died.

"It's all about keeping Taitlyn's memory alive and helping people understand that organ donation saves lives...like mine," McPherson said.