JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One of the more than 17,000 patients waiting to receive a liver in the United States is now off the list.
After living with a restricted diet for years because of cirrhosis of the liver, Will Sherbert is cooking up a storm.
Sherbert's cirrhosis was caused by hepatitis B he lived with for years without knowing.
"I'm just elated that I have a second chance at life," Sherbert said.
We first introduced you to Sherbert and his partner Charles Tripp in March. As Sherbert waited for a transplant at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Tripp, a would-be donor match who is also HIV positive, fought to change a federal law from the 1980's preventing HIV positive organ donation.
Although HIV positive patients can receive organ transplants, they can't donate.
While he researched and lobbied for a way to get Sherbert the liver he needed sooner, the call from a healthy donor finally came.
"Next thing I know I woke up and I have a new liver," Sherbert said. "I'm ever grateful to whoever it was."
After 10 years of being sick, the previously pale, frail 46-year-old feels alive. Sherbert said he didn't remember what it felt like to be healthy until now.
"We're starting on a new journey together completely," Tripp said. "All we've known is sickness so this is going to be wonderful."
As Sherbert gets stronger every day, Tripp and doctors from around the country are still pushing for change.
"They're taking it to Capitol Hill to get the initial phases started so the ban can be lifted and we can move forward," Tripp explained.
Led by Dr. Dorry Segev, the Director of Clinical Transplant research at Johns Hopkins, a group of doctors and lawmakers are taking their appeal for a repeal to Washington, D.C. at the end of the month.
"I would say to other people out there who may think, 'hey they already have that, they're sick, that's a waste,'" Tripp said, "It's not a waste, it's actually a chance to start life over. HIV is no longer a death sentence."
While they work to save others, Sherbert is reclaiming his life, tasting food he hasn't had in years. And every day, thanking the person who gave him back his life.
"I'm just elated that I have a second chance at life and I'm just so thankful to you that you, the person chose to mark that on their drivers license," Sherbert said. "I'm very ever grateful."
First Coast News