SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is ready to make a life-saving donation, giving half his liver to the choir member he replaced, even though he never knew him.
Liver transplant patient Ross Woodall has waited almost a decade for this moment.
“8 years, 8 long years having to keep my phone with me 24/7 hoping for a call,” said Woodall.
That wait ends Friday as Dave Andrade prepares to donate half his liver to save Woodall’s life.
“It’s gonna hurt, but we both know that,” said Woodall.
“Life from here on out is going to be different,” admitted Andrade.
The invasive, painful surgery will have both men adjusting their diets and physical capabilities for the next six months.
“The painful transition from bed to chair to walking around slowly but surely,” said Andrade. “It’s not necessarily the removal of the liver that’s so dramatic; it’s that they have to cut through the abdominal wall to get to it”
Woodall has been waiting for a liver transplant since 2008, but the health complications started much earlier than that.
In 1987, he was diagnosed with HIV. By 1996 he lost most of his vision due to the virus. Then came the liver failure.
Ever since he’s been looking for a match. He found much more than that in Dave Andrade.
“It’s true brotherhood. There’s no other way to explain it,” said Andrade.
KPIX 5 first reported on Woodall and Andrade back in December, the night before the annual San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus holiday concert.
The two men never sang in the chorus together. Woodall left the chorus on medical leave, and Andrade essentially took his place.
Andrade heard Woodall’s story through the chorus and decided to find out if he could save the life of a man he’d never met.
“It seemed like it was just meant to be like David was the one Ross was waiting for,” said Jerry Andrade, Dave’s father.
“I’m also a spiritual person and I felt in my spirit this is what needs to happen, agreed Dave’s mom Cathy Andrade.
But Woodall doesn’t see it that way. After all, who would call 30 years of serious health complications destiny?
It’s the right mind, the right people, the right attitude to come together, said Woodall.
His close friends will tell you his sense of humor, even about this major surgery, is what has kept him alive all this time.
“They’re using Propofol. No, I’m not Michael Jackson,” chuckled Woodall.
But for the man who always seems to have a witty comeback, when it comes to Andrade’s gift, it’s hard to find the right words.
“Umm, I think he’s just amazing,” Woodall said with tears in his eyes.
Because to him, it’s not an act of God or an outside force that made this happen.
It’s simply a perfect match.