Julie Bonn is a vibrant 24-year-old with a bright and promising future. Twelve years ago, that future hung in the balance.
"I went from being perfectly healthy to status 1A on the liver transplant list," she says. Status 1A is as serious as it gets. It started with what Bonn describes as mild flu-like symptoms. Within a month and without explanation, she went from active pre-teen to severely lethargic, edematous, jaundiced liver transplant candidate. When Bonn entered Cincinnati Children's Liver Care Center and the care of William Balistreri, MD, doctors knew she would last little more than a week without a new liver. She went to the top of the transplant list and fortune smiled on her: a liver became available. Over the next few years, Bonn battled bouts of rejection, a 50-pound weight gain from steroids, and all the attendant issues that go with receiving a transplanted organ. Even though she hasn't had a rejection episode in nearly 10 years, Bonn still takes daily immunosuppressive medication. She will be the first to tell you it is all worth it. But now, as a medical student with plans to become a gastroenterologist, her dream is to find a better way.