Kimberly Springer and 6-month old Adam CourtneyWhile the season of giving flourished in department stores, the true meaning of the word was demonstrated in a hospital in North Carolina. A near-stranger was donating a part of her liver to an infant with a rare liver disease whose last hope was a transplant.

Kimberly Springer vividly remembers her husband, Darrell, bringing home the news about a co-worker at the New River Air Force Base whose baby, Adam Courtney, had no more than four months to live unless a suitable liver donor was found. She asked what blood type he had and when she found out it was the same as hers she immediately called the hospital and volunteered to donate.

“I just wanted to do it,” explained Springer, who has two children of her own. “I never thought of not doing it.”

Doctors assured Kimberly and her family about the procedure. “They’d done this enough times that they were really confident,” Kimberly recalled. “There were normal health risks when you have surgery. But they said my liver would grow back within four weeks.”

One of the unique things about the liver is that it is the only organ in the human body that regenerates after trans-plantation. Both Kimberly’s and Adam’s livers would re-grow to normal size.

Adam’s mom, Sheri, really wanted to call and thank Kimberly but she didn’t know what to say. “You just don’t know how to act. Here is somebody willing to put their life on the line to help your son…. She is a special person.”

But when the Courtneys were in the neighborhood for dinner, Sheri took the opportunity to visit the Springers and make contact. “As soon as I walked in, I couldn’t even say ‘thank you’ before the tears started pouring out of my eyes.”

After surgery, which was the day after Kimberly’s 28th birthday, Sheri remembers Kimberly got to see Adam for the first time. “She would light up every time she saw Adam. She just stood there with her mouth open.”

Kimberly has made a complete recovery and Adam continues to grow and thrive and is expected to live a normal life.

“It’s neat,” Springer said. “I don’t even know how to describe it – to be able to help somebody like that. It’s a great feeling.”

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