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Women who met during liver transplant 35 years ago reunite

Patients who met during transplant 35 years ago reunite
Patients who met during transplant 35 years ago reunite 02:22

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Katherine Strickland and Anna Fischman had liver transplants as babies 35 years ago. On Friday, the women were back together again for the first time in two decades, this time with their own families.

The organ transplant happened in 1987 when there were so many unknowns. Three decades later, they're inspiring others.

Strickland and Fischman were reunited Friday, now as wives and mothers, and it was something that was never assured.

"It's been a long road for both of us," Strickland said.

Strickland's and Fischman's parents met in the hospital and bonded through the transplant process, and so did the girls.

Katherine Strickland and Anna Fischman first met when they had liver transplants as children in 1987. The two women have remained stayed in touch since.

"We were little," Fischman said, "but we did form such a special bond. It's such a unique thing to go through, and we've kept in touch."

As children, they shared beach vacations, but they ended up living in different states as adults. They communicated mainly through text messages.

"It's so wonderful to have a friend been through the same experience," Fischman said.

They both have children now who met Friday for the first time.

Fischman and Strickland are part of the Transplant Pregnancy Registry, which helps patients have families.

"As long as their organ is working well and they are on medications safe for pregnancy, they actually do very well with pregnancy after transplant," Lisa Coscia with the Transplant Pregnancy Registry said. "So I think people don't even know that it's a possibility."

Here together for the first time in 20 years with their families sharing an early holiday meal at Philadelphia's Gift of Life House, their gratitude still extends to the donor families who made it all possible.

"To make a selfless decision to save other lives during their time of sorrow," Strickland said.

The two are living examples of the gift of life. These transplant patients are now life-long friends.

"She's such a loving woman and just strong," Strickland said. "There's not enough good things I can say about Anna."

The Transplant Pregnancy Registry has an ongoing study that is following almost 5,000 transplant patients through parenthood since 1991.

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