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Doctors diagnosed Kathy Monteverde with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in 2014 when they discovered scarring on her liver.

Kathy decided to go through living-donor liver transplant process at UPMC. She received her lifesaving transplant a year later from her son, Jeremy.

At UPMC, we consider living donation a first-line treatment option for patients with advanced liver or kidney disease.

After her transplant, Kathy was grateful for the opportunity for a second chance at life. Now, she feels determined to give back and to help others who are in a similar position to what she experienced. As a living donor ambassador at UPMC, Kathy helps patients and their families by educating them about the lifesaving benefits of living donation.

“After 30 years of nursing, I feel like I found my mission,” Kathy says. “After my diagnosis, I realized I wanted to do something to give back once I was transplanted. I know that being a living donor ambassador is helping save people’s lives, and I’m more than happy to be a part of that.”

As patients move through the transplant process, it can sometimes be challenging to remember everything throughout their day-to-day routines of receiving medical care.

From evaluations and appointment times to the valuable programs offered to help patients during their transplant journey, Kathy is there to help.

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UPMC Living Donor Champion Program

Kathy talks to patients and their caregivers about the UPMC Living Donor Champion program. The program helps patients find a suitable living donor in the hopes of earlier transplantation.

“I don’t want patients to give up on the transplant process,” Kathy says. “I was a patient myself at one point, so I understand how difficult it is to be your own Champion.”

A Champion may be a friend, family member, co-worker, or anyone who is willing to provide emotional support for someone on the transplant waiting list. They can help by taking the lead in finding a compatible living donor.

A Champion’s role includes:

  • Finding a living donor in a timely fashion.
  • Taking the responsibility of identifying a donor away from the patient. This allows them to focus on their health.
  • Sharing the recipient’s story.
  • Offering support and inspiration through the journey.

Talking with Caregivers

Kathy provides support and resources to caregivers as they help their family members through the transplant process. This allows patients to focus on their health and stay strong for their transplant.

“Part of my job is to educate caregivers to be aware of what lies ahead,” Kathy says. “If their loved one is just newly diagnosed with liver disease, they may not know everything there is to know about transplantation. I want to provide them with as much information as possible so that they are ready for the road ahead.”

You may have a lot of questions as you navigate your transplant journey. Kathy is there to make sure you and your loved one stay educated every step of the way. If you have any questions, visit our website for FAQs about living-donor liver transplants.

For more information on living donation and the UPMC Living Donor Champion Program, or to register to become a living donor, visit our website.

About Transplant Services

For more than four decades, UPMC Transplant Services has been a leader in organ transplantation. Our clinicians have performed more than 20,000 organ transplant procedures, making UPMC one of the foremost organ transplant centers in the world. We are home to some of the world’s foremost transplant experts and take on some of the most challenging cases. Through research, we have developed new therapies that provide our patients better outcomes — so organ recipients can enjoy better health with fewer restrictions. Above all, we are committed to providing compassionate, complete care that can change – and save – our patients’ lives. Visit our website to find a provider near you.