An Ohio woman has a new lease on life thanks to a priceless gift from a fellow church member she barely knew. When Jason Stechschulte sat down and started reading the bulletin before the Sunday service at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Van Wert, Ohio, he read something that arrested his attention and felt God-calling him to make a life-altering decision, CBN News reports.
Stechschulte read that Carole Motycka, a 44-year-old mother with four sons, had stage 4 colorectal cancer and needed a liver transplant to survive. He said, “I just had this feeling come over me that this is going to be me, that I need to do this. I was called to do it. Answering the call was not easy for Stechschulte, who has two pre-teen children of his own. The 41-year-old would have an eight-hour surgery to remove the left lobe of his liver, which comprises about 40 percent of the organ. Another team of Cleveland Clinic surgeons skillfully transplanted the liver into Motycka during a 12-hour procedure that was necessary to save her life.
Motycka did not know she was suffering from cancer until she struggled to complete a 17-mile hike with her family. She dealt with severe pain in her back and shoulder during and after the hike, so she went to the hospital the next day. There Motycka learned the shocking news… she had stage 4 colorectal cancer and it had spread to her liver.
Motycka underwent chemotherapy and it seemed to stop the spread of the cancer. Then, a doctor with the Cleveland Clinic performed an operation in which she removed the colon and liver cancers. However, her liver was severely damaged due to a genetic disorder and her health continued to decline.
Doctors told Motycka that she had one hope to prolong her life, a liver transplant. Not wanting to be one of the 3,000 people a year who die while waiting on a liver transplant, she sought a living donor who would be willing to help her. When Motycka, the church’s youth director, placed a notice in the bulletin, Stechschulte did not hesitate to help.
He said that he remained composed throughout the time leading up to the lengthy surgery. He said, “I was really calm throughout. I wasn’t worried or nervous. Everybody was really professional, really helpful.” He views the surgery in a positive light, noting that his family and the Motyckas have become close through the process. “I gave her a liver, and I received a relationship with Carole and her family in return. That was a pretty good trade off.”
Motycka’s health continues to improve and she has lived to see one of her sons graduate college, two begin college, and another graduate high school.
She remains grateful to Stechschulte and is thankful for his sacrifice. She said, “I can’t ever do or say, or give enough to thank him for what he gave to me: My new life.”
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Vchal