Billboard Liver Search Pans Out

Liver donation plea billboard
A man's efforts to get a healthy liver with public pleas, including billboards and a Web site, succeeded as he underwent transplant surgery with a donated organ.

Officials at The Methodist Hospital said Todd Krampitz, 32, was recovering Friday in the intensive care unit, normal for all transplant patients, following successful surgery overnight.

Krampitz, a newlywed, was diagnosed in May with liver cancer and by July his doctors said only a transplant would save his life.

His family mounted a media campaign, including two billboards along a Houston freeway, and a Web site that detailed his plight and raised awareness about organ donation. Krampitz and his wife Julie also did national media interviews.

In a statement, Julie Krampitz said "a generous family" donated the organ, and that it was given specifically for her husband.

The donor was from out of state, but no other information was being released, said Catherine Graham, a spokeswoman for the organization that coordinated efforts to bring the liver to Houston after it became available Thursday morning.

Graham did not know when the donor died.

"The donor is not seeking publicity. The family is in mourning at this time," she said.

Officials with the United Network for Organ Sharing, which coordinates the nation's transplant system, believe public pleas for directed donations run the risk of bypassing the established allocation system and can create an uneven playing field for all individuals on the national waiting list for organs.

Julie Krampitz said she and her husband want to continue encouraging all individuals to discuss organ donation with their families.

"Organ donation truly is the gift of life," she said. "We are excited that our efforts to find a donor for Todd have served to increase public awareness of the tremendous need for organ donation nationwide."

The liver is the second most commonly transplanted major organ, after the kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. As of July 30, there were 17,471 people nationwide waiting for a liver transplant. Last year, 5,671 liver transplants were performed in the country.

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  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for