This is what the holidays are all about! Recently, a police officer from Colorado donated a part of her liver to an eleven-year-old boy. However, she did not stop there! In fact, the officer went above and beyond, even helping the parents pay for their medical bills after the organ transplant…
A Police Officer With A Mission
Carolyn Becker from Broomfield, Colorado, knew from a young age that her life would revolve around serving her community, and especially children. As an adult, Becker became a police officer, serving as many families as she could. Becker has been a police officer for the past six years at the Broomfield Colorado Police Department. There, she worked as a school resource officer. However, Becker still did not feel as though she was doing enough. So, the police officer signed up to donate an organ to a stranger in March 2018.
Part of her decision stemmed from her own life as a mother of two. “If I had a kid needing an organ, I’d be in a very desperate spot to see my kid healthy again. I felt like I could help. I had my moments where I thought, ‘Wow, I’m crazy.’ But this was something I was meant to do,” Becker said later on.
Deciding To Have The Surgery
Becker had no idea that her online liver donation form would lead to a life-changing meeting. Clyde Hoffman is an eleven-year-old boy from Colorado. Hoffman was born with Alagille Syndrome, which is a rare genetic disorder that affects many organs, including the liver, kidneys, and heart. Dr. Shikha Sundaram, medical director of the Pediatric Liver Transplant Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, explains that not all those who born with the disorder are affected by it. However, “there are others who are affected earlier in life and may have severe problems with their liver and potentially with their hearts and kidneys.”
Hoffman enjoyed a wonderful, relatively healthy childhood. Unfortunately, in the spring of 2018, his symptoms began showing. At first, he just seemed tired, and as though he could not concentrate. Soon enough, though, Hoffman could not consume enough calories or stay health. When doctors realized that his liver was functioning 10% of what it should, they determined the 11-year-old needed a liver transplant.
Hoffman joined the organ transplant list in June of 2019. Less than a month later, doctors informed him of the fantastic news: he had a donor! The doctors made it very clear that there are consequences to the transplant, but Hoffman and his family knew there was no other way.
The Second Incredible Donation
The surgery occurred on August 6. The doctors removed a third of Becker’s liver and transplanted it into the boy’s bod. Meanwhile, Hoffman’s family’s waited and worried in the lobby. Over the long hours, Hoffman’s father recalled he felt amazed that someone would give a total stranger a part of themselves. “It still hasn’t sunk in that people are willing to do that.”
Thankfully, the surgery was a complete success. Afterward, Hoffman ate an entire meal for the first time in months. “I ate a meal, I ate all of it. I had an appetite again, and that was amazing.” Seven months later, the boy sent his unknown donor a thank you note for saving his life. Since Hoffman only signed his last name, Becker needed to find him. after a little research, she found the fundraising page the family set up to pay for the boy’s medical bills. “It was really painful to [read],” the police officer said.
So Becker did the only thing she could think of – she raised some money herself. The police officer stood by the side of the road, in the cold and in the hot weather, with a sign saying, “I donated my left liver lobe to an 11-year-old stranger. Help me raise $20k for his transplant bill.” Becker managed to raise over $10,000 and donated it online, anonymously.
“Anyone Can Donate”
About a year after the organ donation, the Hoffmans finally discovered the identity of their mystery donor. They held their first meeting with Beck in private. However, for the second, held at an air museum in Denver, the family invited press along. At the event, the boy and the police officer chatted, talking about Hoffman’s dreams to become a pilot.
Becker summed it up by saying, “It’s a little strange that a piece of me is walking around outside. But yeah, it felt really good to be able to help not only a child but to help a parent as well … a fellow parent.”
The Hoffmans are still at awe by Becker’s incredible generosity and feel like they could never repay her. “Anyone can donate,” eleven-year-old Hoffman said. “And if you do donate, you’re an amazing person who’s helping everyone out.” If you’d like to learn more about these kinds of donations or sign up yourself, you can here.