Winnie Bender

The year was 1970. Liver transplants were still in the experimental stage. Winnie Bender had a recurring disease where her own body was attacking her liver. She was told she would need a liver transplant within five years to survive.

But, it wasn’t until twenty years later, in 1990, that Winnie’s liver finally gave out. The school teacher and mother of two received her much-need transplant in October 1990.

“I am grateful each day for the kindness of a donor and family, who gave me a second chance at life,” says Winnie. “Because of them, I have been able to continue teaching and working with children. I have lived to see two beautiful grandchildren born, whom I thought I would never meet. Just seeing their faces and hearing their voice brings joy that is immeasurable to my heart. I have lived to see my son and daughter grown into adulthood and take on the responsibilities of life. Love is all around me, shared by my loving family, church family, transplant support groups, my co-workers and friends.”

“To be the recipient of a liver transplant has been the greatest gift that I could ever wish to receive. Not a day has gone by that I have not been grateful and have tried to give something to others in return.”

“Someone once told me, ‘Happiness is a journey and not a destination’ – this is how I live my life.”