Michigan teen's family still expressing gratefulness for liver transplant 16 years later

A Michigan family is sharing their message of gratitude this Thanksgiving since it's been 16 years since their baby girl was given a life-saving organ transplant.

That baby is now a thriving high school senior all thanks to an amazing gift from an anonymous family.

"We’re just so very grateful. God has been very good to us," said Shannon Hamet. Sixteen years ago, she realized her baby was facing an uphill battle. When she was nine weeks old she was diagnosed with rare liver disease.

Doctors did what they could but Marisa would ultimately need an organ transplant.

"I was horrified, just very, very scary. We honestly didn’t know if she would survive," Hamet said. 

Now, this November marks 16 years since Marisa received that gift of life: a liver transplant, thanks to a family who made a decision that the loss of their baby would save another. 

"They made the decision during the worse time but that decision ended up saving my life," said Marisa Hamet. "I’m just forever grateful to them."

Marisa’s mom is still emotional and thankful for the donation.

"You couldn’t help but think about her donor family that chose to donate the organs of their small child that in turn saved our daughter," said Shannon.

The Hamets are also thankful to Gift of Life Michigan.

"They helped procure the organ that changed our lives and the lives of countless other people. They're a wonderful organization," Shannon said. 

Today, at 17 Marisa is a high school senior in Flat Rock who participates in school activities like the school robotics team and she says she is so grateful for a second chance at life.

"Other than getting bloodwork done every few months, the doctors’ visits every six months, it’s normal. And having to take medicine every single day for the rest of my life," Marisa said. "I’m just grateful that I am alive."

And Marisa says she is also grateful she can make plans for her future. 

"I want to eventually become a pediatric nurse because I see how important it is to the patient and the patient's family."

The family hopes that as you count your blessings this Thanksgiving holiday that will consider being a blessing to others and sign up to be an organ donor.

Right now, more than 110,000 people are waiting for new organs in the U.S.

"It can save so many people and the people you save and their families and everyone they interact with will always be grateful," Marisa said. 

For more information, visit giftoflifemichigan.org