Olive Sommers is a happy, healthy, 5-year-old girl but she’s faced some tough challenges in her short life. While a baby in an orphanage in China, doctors diagnosed her with biliary atresia a rare life-threatening pediatric liver disease.
Olive would eventually need a liver transplant to survive. The diagnosis didn’t stop Paul and Angie Sommers from making Olive part of their forever family.
“For us it was kind of a scary thing but as soon as we saw her picture and we prayed on it and felt right about it, we knew she needed a family to go through that process with her,” said Paul Sommers, Olive’s dad.
Once settled, the family of eight traveled from their home in Wooster, Ohio, to Cincinnati Children’s where Olive was put on a transplant list in 2018. She waited more than a year until a stranger came forward offering to donate part of her liver.
“It takes a special person to be willing to donate an organ. It takes an incredibly special person to be willing to put themselves at risk ultimately to help make the life of a child better,” said Laura Mooney, living donor coordinator at Cincinnati Children’s.
The Sommers didn’t know who that special person was until 9 months after the transplant. This August, they met the woman who saved Olive’s life.
Amanda Powell is a mom of four from Lexington, Kentucky. After going through a series of extensive testing and evaluations at Cincinnati Children’s, Amanda was found to be a match.
She told the Sommers family she always wanted to be an organ donor.
“This case was incredibly special because Amanda is our first altruistic donor, meaning she called me out of the blue and said she was interested in learning more about living liver donation and was willing to donate to anyone,” said Mooney.