CANTON, Ohio (CBS Local) — An Ohio pastor is volunteering to give up part of his liver to save a dying child that he’s never met. Noah Schumacher, the pastor at HighMill Church in Plain Township, said he relied on his faith when he made the decision.
“We say we follow Jesus as Christians and I don’t understand how you couldn’t do this,” Schumacher told WEWS.
Schumacher’s mother, Diana Horger, was diagnosed with liver failure about three months ago. He hoped to donate a portion of his liver to his mom, but a transplant was denied because it would require taking a larger percentage of his liver than he could spare, The Repository reported.
“It was easily the hardest day of my life because I want to save my mom’s life. It’s the greatest gift that can be given to me,” Schumacher said.
But a transplant coordinator told Schumacher that he was an ideal candidate for a dying child who was also in need of a liver transplant.
The pastor talked it over with his wife, Michelle, and their three children. The six-hour surgery can have complications, but Schumacher said he didn’t hesitate to volunteer.
“I knew I wanted to do it and when I told [Michelle], there was no hesitation. Her first thought was ‘of course we can do this.'”
The Schumachers won’t be able to learn any details about the recipient, including age and gender, until six months after the surgery and then, only at the family’s discretion.
The surgery will take place next week at The Cleveland Clinic. Schumacher expects to be in the hospital for at least a week and hopes to return to preaching at his church within four months.
Meantime, pastor’s story has inspired many in his community to offer to get tested to see if they are a potential match for his mother, who was placed on a national registration for liver transplant recipients.