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Tucson man has new lease on life after receiving liver transplant

TUCSON – Doctors told a Tucson man that he had three to five years to live after being diagnosed with liver cancer three years ago. Now Michael Palmer, 63, has a new lease on life after receiving a liver transplant at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

“When somebody tells you, you have cancer then they tell you they don’t have a transplant. There’s not much light at the end of the tunnel.”

Palmer was put on a liver transplant list for two years and turned down six times.

Dr. Justin Reynolds from Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix said it is not always a perfect match the first time.

“When we have people who are on the transplant list, we will often get organ offers. When we go to procure the organ it doesn’t turn out to be a good quality organ for our intended recipients.”

Through it all, Palmer’s motivation was his daughter. She died from brain cancer right before he was diagnosed.

“So I figured it this kid can go through all that nightmare, of those surgeries and watched her go through all of us, of course, she passed away. If she can do it, I can do it. I wasn’t backing out.”

His daughter left behind five kids which also motivated Palmer to stay strong.

“That is the main reason, I have to take care of her children. If she wasn’t there with those children, I might not have done this. I might have just stuck to drinking beer.”

Palmer said he feels great and ready to go back to work. He added he got very lucky all because one person decided to become an organ donor and says others should, too.

“So there’s a big bright light at the end of this tunnel now. It’s rewarding.”

Palmer plans to connect with the donor’s family.

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Allie Potter

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