Former Room Mate Donates Liver 21 Years Later

A man in New Jersey donates part of his liver to save his former college roommate who he has not seen in over two decades.


The two men with their wives.
Koonce and Robinson, with their wives

Steven Robinson, 57, was on a trip to Detroit when he realized his old friend, Richard Koonce, lived nearby. So he got in touch, and Koonce invited Robinson and his wife over, but Robinson was taken back by Koonce's considerable weight loss.


That's when Robinson learned Koonce had been battling a rare liver disease for the past three years. He had tried various treatment options with little success, and was seeking a living donor. Robinson did not hesitate and offered to donate a piece of his liver to save his friend. As luck would have it, he was a perfect match.


"I think it was a spiritual thing," he said. "I always had love for the brother. And I could see something was wrong. I could see it in his eyes."


The life-saving operation was performed on Valentine's Day at a Cleveland hospital. Robinson will be in recovery for six to eight weeks. For Koonce, it will take about six months.


"I am so truly grateful for the gift of life that God has offered through my friend, Steve Robinson, who decided almost within the very minute that he learned of my disease to step up and do whatever he could to help me," Koonce said.

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