LIVEr Champion

2019 New York City LIVEr Champion


Hello! My name is Caleigh Lans and is an absolute honor to be the liver champion for this year’s NYC Walk for the American Liver Foundation. When I was 12, I began to lose weight rapidly. I was uncontrollably itchy and incredibly tired at all times. We went from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, waiting room to waiting room looking for answers. Eventually, I was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis and placed on the transplant list. Almost ten years ago, I was lucky enough to receive the ultimate gift. A second chance to live my life to the fullest.

Without the support and fundraising efforts of my friends and families, I would not be here today. I am nearly 10 years post-transplant and I am confident that I can still be anything I want to be. No longer is my identity “the sick girl” but now it’s the strong girl. The one who was able to overcome a sickness that plagued me all through my high school years and still be able to graduate college with the rest of the peers I’ve been learning with since kindergarten.

That is why the American Liver Foundation is so important to me. They provide hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. They provide guidance when the future is extremely uncertain and most of all they provide me an opportunity to return the favor of being there for someone. Not only to my friends and family but to my second family. The family that, on the worst day of their lives, were able to think outside themselves and think of me. A stranger.

Because of the selfless acts of others, I am here today. I am able to speak on behalf of The American Liver Foundation as a success story.

The Liver Life Walk NYC has shown me time and time again just how powerful we can all be when we join together and work towards one goal. Please join me and hundreds of others at the Liver Life Walk this year. Not only is this a great way to raise money and awareness about liver disease, but it’s also a great chance to connect with others who have dealt with or may still be dealing with liver disease. If this walk teaches us anything it’s that we are not alone.

Thanks to the generosity of others, my life has only just begun. And I hope to see you all June 2nd so you can share your stories with me.

By Caleigh Lans, 2019 NYC Liver Champion

2019 National LIVEr Champion


In 2010, Manny was only two and a half months old when he was diagnosed with biliary atresia (BA). Very soon after he was diagnosed, he had his first surgery called the Kasai procedure. His first years of life were tough as he was frequently having to get flown to the hospital. It seemed like something was always wrong, and things were not getting easier for him.

The year of 2017 was a tough one; he was in and out of the hospital and eventually his doctor gave us the news that he needed a new liver. Even though I knew the day would come, it really hit me. We were very scared and felt helpless. On January 2, 2018, we had another trip to our local emergency room, resulting in another flight and hospitalization. By January 16th, we received the news that Manny was on the transplant list.

Two weeks after being added to the transplant list, I received the call that would change our lives. I could hardly believe that an altruistic donor had come forward. We were shocked that a stranger was willing to donate a piece of his liver to help save Manny’s life.  While we were in the hospital waiting for his recovery, we sent the donor a thank you card. We will always be extremely thankful for what he did. We received a letter back, and in it was the donor’s phone number. We finally got to meet and were able to express our gratitude.

By Karina Estrada, Liver Champion’s mom

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