Leslie Franklin

I contracted hepatitis C while serving in the U.S. Air Force, a virus which eventually destroyed my liver. By 2004 I was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease and placed on the national waiting list for a liver transplant. I was on the list for nearly four years before receiving a life-saving liver transplant in 2008. That time waiting for a life-saving transplant was transformative, the worst of times and the best of times. I do believe, however, that I am a stronger, wiser and a more compassionate person as a result of that experience. It has left me with the deepest respect for those who make the decision to be organ, eye and tissue donors, including my own donor family. I had the rare opportunity to personally meet and thank themĀ for the gift they gave me, and I am grateful for that experience. But for my donor family’sĀ compassionate decision to donate the organs of their loved one to save the life of a stranger, my story would have ended long ago. After a successful liver transplant I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to pay it forward by volunteering as a OneLegacy Ambassador and as a member of Team SoCal, educating our communities and encouraging organ, eye and tissue donation. I am grateful for a second chance at life, and I hope my story will inspire someone to be the hope for those waiting for their own life-saving transplant by registering to be organ, eye and tissue donor.