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Living sister donates part of liver to sick brother: ‘A lot of excitement and hope’

‘This is the biggest gift that anybody could ever receive’

The gift of life is an incredible thing, and one local man is about to find out firsthand.

He’s sick and a transplant is the only thing that could save his life.

“They said that as far as the numbers were concerned, the odds were I had a 50% chance to live two years or longer,” said Barry Zilan.

Those were pretty shocking words to hear. The 40-year-old was diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver just over a year ago. Now he’s on the transplant list waiting for the right match.

“A person gets that, you know, it’s a combination of lifestyle choice as well as possible genetic predisposition,” he explained. “But it comes down to, you know, life choices and things that I’ve done with my life, you know? I partied pretty hard.”

As you can imagine, the news has hit not only him hard but whole his family in Wixom.

“It was terrifying, definitely for myself and the whole family,” said Julia Smith.

But then, an angel stepped in to help. Barry’s sister, Julia, had heard that being a living donor was a possibility. Instead of letting him wait for a liver from a deceased donor, she stepped up to the plate. Their blood type was a match.


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