Two weeks after Ajax firefighter Nadine Young gave 70 per cent of her liver to a stranger she had met mere days before, she has no regrets, despite the severe pain. The 39-year-old says it was the toughest thing she has ever done, but worth it.
"I would never ever think of not doing this,” she told CTV News Toronto.
"I don't think I've cried as much as I have in the last two weeks. The whole thing is just an emotional rollercoaster "
Just before Christmas, 19-year-old Jarrett Singer was diagnosed with Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma, a rare form of liver cancer. The University of Guelph student needed a life-saving liver transplant. Singer's father, also an Ajax firefighter, put a call out for a possible donor. Young, a mother of a two-year-old girl, turned out to be a match.
Except for the work connection between Young and Singer's father in the Ajax Fire Department, they were strangers, but now have a forever bond.
"I don't even know him but I love him. He is a freaking warrior, " said Young.
Jarrett's father calls Young "an exceptional human being, truly an amazing woman.” Mark Singer points out they are still in contact with Jarrett, and he does not see that ever ending.
"I couldn't be more proud of both families, they displayed so much courage,” said Young's fiancé Todd Vinson, who took care of their two-year-old daughter Adelynn, during recovery.
It has been a difficult two weeks since the eight-hour surgery to remove part of Young's liver. "Your body feels like it got hit by a cement truck you can't move you can't walk."
Young does not want to take the narcotics prescribed for the pain, which has been severe since the operation. "It's a tough, tough, tough go, but in the long run it is worth it and it's still tough "
With a new liver it will be tough for Singer as well -- a life transition -- his father says. There will be "constant changes and new responsibilities."
Vinson points out "the optimism he has, the respectfulness he has, he's polite. Kind of makes her believe there couldn't have been a more deserving person of the donation."
Young celebrated her 39th birthday in recovery the day after surgery.
"It was pretty neat, I'll never forget that birthday even though I hardly remember it," she said with a laugh.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help defer some of the outside costs to the families who have been staying in downtown Toronto hotel's close to the hospital.