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Mother & Daughter Share Special Bond After Transplant Surgery

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's a testament to the love between a local mother and daughter.

Valentine's Day is also National Donor Day, which is about making people aware of organ donation. And Annette Ishida made a decision that would save her mother's life.

Traute Ishida is an artist. Her personality, as colorful as her creations.

Her daughter, Annette, owns the restaurant Senti in Lawrenceville, where many of her mother's paintings are displayed.

But a few decades ago, her mom's vibrant energy changed.

"After a couple of months I thought this is not right," said Traute. She developed extreme fatigue and constant itching.

She was with diagnosed primary biliary cirrhosis, or PBC, which is not related to alcohol and can lead to liver failure.

"It's like she got weaker and weaker every single day," said Annette.

Traute needed a transplant. She was on a waiting list, but with her health failing, a live donor was her best bet. So Annette made a decision: She would undergo surgery to save her mother's life.

"Imagine a person drowning. I mean you don't even think. I have to save that person!" said Annette.

They have the same blood type, she was approved as a donor, but.. "My mother on the other hand was absolutely not in favor of being a recipient from me," said Annette. "She did not want me to be a donor."

Traute interrupted with: "That's major surgery. If you had died, I tell you, I could not live with myself."

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But eventually, her mom was convinced.

Seven years ago, mother and daughter entered UPMC Montefiore Hospital, where Annette gave her mom a life-saving gift. Doctors took part of her liver and transplanted it into to her mom.

Traute said: "My first question when I came to, "How's my daughter?'"

Both mother and daughter recovered fully.

Annette considers being able to save her mother's life, a true miracle. "I went to sleep, and my mother was dying. I wake up, and she was recovering. It's amazing."

Some people don't realize live donation is an option when it comes to the liver.

Annette says they basically took her right lobe and then what's left grows to accommodate what's missing.

She has an event planned next month to raise awareness about organ donation.

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