Man on mission to find donor family 21 years after his liver transplant

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MELBOURNE BEACH, FL. AND ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — A Florida man wants to find the donor family behind his liver transplant.

Joey Parrish, originally from Las Vegas, says he knows firsthand how critical organ transplants can be. He wants to get the word out in New York in the hopes of finally knowing the story behind his own transplant.

Parrish got a second chance at life with a liver transplant 21 years ago. He was never able to connect with the New York donor family who chose to help him. He wrote them a letter through the donor service but never heard back.

He said he understands the family may be hesitant to come forward.

“Obviously it was a tragedy in their family,” Parrish said, “but they were able to be amazing enough to help others through that tragedy.”

All Parrish knows about his donor is that the liver came from a 4-year-old child from New York state and that his transplant was done on Aug. 21, 1999.

‘These last 21 years have been amazing, and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Parrish said, “and I just want to thank them for letting me have this time with my family, friends, and my girlfriend, and everyone else I’ve met along the way.”

Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the organ transplant waiting list.

Besides meeting his girlfriend, Parrish has run half marathons, traveled the world and started his career in anesthesia. He sometimes even works on organ transplant operations.

Parrish says even if he never hears from the donor family, he hopes they will see his story and know they changed his life.

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