Ilion woman to donate liver to best friend's husband

Few people can count their childhood best friend among their adulthood inner circle.

Posted: May 10, 2018 12:07 AM
Updated: May 10, 2018 9:00 AM

ILION, N.Y. -- Few people can count their childhood best friend among their adulthood inner circle.

For Jessica Morey and Mandy Knowles, their high school friendship grew into an bond.

"We spent many Christmas Eves together, holidays, summers," Knowles said.

"Each of our second kids, we're the godparents," Jessica Morey said. 

When it came time for Mandy to meet Jessica's future husband, she was supportive of her friend's choice.

"I always liked Ted and I liked them together," Knowles said. "He brings out the best in her."

The two women settled their families in Ilion and the rhythm of their friendship changed due to the pressures of raising children.

Ten years ago, Morey's husband Ted discovered he was ill with primary biliary cholangitis.

"What I have right now is an autoimmune disease," Ted Morey said. "A buildup of toxins in the blood that the liver usually filters, so because it's not working properly, those toxins are now getting to my brain."

"I felt horrible for them and their kids and having to see what they were going through," Knowles said.

Within the last year, Ted's condition worsened to stage four. He was at the point where doctors put him on the organ donation list and authorized a search for a living donor. Rather than wait for a liver donation from a deceased person, the Morey family was given guidance on how to search for a transplant donor who is alive and well on social media.

"My wife was actually the one who put all the information on her Facebook," Ted Morey said. 

"We're not sitting around waiting for something tragic to happen to somebody else," Jessica Morey said. 'We're getting the best of both worlds."

Knowles found the Morey's Facebook plea, and after planning and research, made the decision to get tested as a possible donor for Ted.

"My first thought was Jessica and Ted, to tell them that we we're doing it," Knowles said. "What if I don't click that button? What if I was the one person that could be the one that could do it?"

After testing in the Bronx revealed she was a match, Knowles is now preparing to donate 70 percent of her liver to Ted on June 27.

"How do you thank somebody who's going to give your kids back their father, who was suffering?" Jessica Morey said.

"You have people that come in and out of your life and you don't realize at some point in your life, you might be in that kind of situation and this person steps up and says 'I'm a volunteer,'" Ted Morey said.

Knowles' liver will regenerate back to its full size. 

Ted Morey, a welder who has been out of work since his disease has worsened, is looking forward to getting back on the job.

"For someone to just even put themselves in the position where they're being questioned to donate something like that, they're not just donating an organ, they're donating an extension of life," Ted Morey said. "They're giving, in my situation, my family back their husband and their father, so I can go back to work and provide for them the way I would like to."

If you would like to support Ted and Mandy's medical journey, you can donate to their GoFundMe page here.

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