19-year-old gets new liver from living donor: 'I'm not going to waste it'

Conner MacKenzie went from being exhausted all the time due to a rare liver disease, to making a full recovery after receiving part of someone's liver – whom he does not know.

"I was just nervous and happy at the same time," he told FOX 2.

Earlier this year, Conner learned that he would be getting a new liver at Henry Ford Hospital – thanks to an anonymous living donor.

The 19-year-old's disease caused him to develop jaundice, itchy skin, and more. He was just waiting on a liver transplant to save his life.

Connerr MacKenzie (Provided by the MacKenzie family.)

"Late last year I accepted (that) I got a 50% chance of living," Conner said.

After the transplant, the transformation is unbelievable.

"Going from him laying in a ball on the floor scratching constantly, to now back to where he was prior where he's up and active – it's amazing," his father, Scott MacKenzie, said.

Conner MacKenzie (Provided by Henry Ford Health)

His loved ones tried to become living donors, but nobody was a match. And time was running out.

"(I thought) 'am I going to have to watch him get that far? Almost to the point of death before we might get a donor?" his mother, Nichola McKay said. "And knowing people die while waiting for organs all the time."

But when the family got the call, they could not believe it.

"I didn't know what to say. I was just like – ‘wait what?’" McKay said. "Thank you god."

Henry Ford Health and the Living Liver Foundation are celebrating living donor awareness night at a game at Jimmy John's Field Friday night, and Conner is throwing out the first pitch.

Living donors will be honored at the game, and even though Conner may never know who his donor is – he and his family are so grateful to that person and the transplant team at Henry Ford Hospital.

"Thank you for your willingness to save somebody's life that you don't even know – that you were willing to put yourself through that to help somebody else," the mother said. "Thank you."

"I'm forever grateful. He saved my life and gave me a second chance," Conner said. "I'm not going to waste it."

For more information on becoming a living donor, visit this page at Henry Ford Health.