Valentine’s Day Organ Donation Requires Second Transplant

Courtesy: Steven Robinson

Valentine’s Day Organ Donation Requires Second Transplant


CLEVELAND — There’s no denying that Richard Coons and Steven Robinson are close.

what you need to know

  • Here’s an update to the story Spectrum News 1 reported on Valentine’s Day about a former college roommate’s life-saving love story through organ donation
  • Complications became clear almost immediately after the transplant at the Cleveland Clinic
  • Richard Koonce has his second transplant six days after his first and now has a liver from a deceased donor

“This is my brother. I think I’m almost my biological brother,” Robinson joked.

Their decades-long friendship began as roommates at Norfolk State University. Fast forward more than 20 years and Koonce needed a liver transplant. Robinson stepped forward to be his donor.

But things didn’t work out as expected. After the transplant, complications were evident.

“First. I was a little panicked. A little worried, but then I was told that my liver was big and healthy, and it maintained Rich until the second donation,” Robinson said. “Really, that’s my only liver, donated by Steve. It leads to a place where I won’t be in your body forever, but I’ll keep you going until they get this deceased donor,” Coons said.

Koonce said he had to undergo another operation six days after the first. He said he now has a new liver from a deceased donor.

“So, it makes you reflect on your life, and so I do. I meditate, I talk to God in my own way, it’s like saying, ‘Have I done my best? “I believe I did it,” Coons said.

The road to recovery is still long, but friends feel stronger every day.

The experience strengthened their spirituality, and both said they were grateful to be on the other side of the surgery.

“It’s not necessarily going to be as successful as we thought, but it’s an important part of faith,” Koons said.

The Cleveland Clinic released this statement to Spectrum News:

“Complications arose after the transplant on February 14. A liver transplant is a major operation and complications may arise after a liver transplant. In Mr Koonce’s case, a second liver transplant was required. The transplant was successful, And the patient is doing well now. We thank the organ donors and their families for making the gift of life possible.”

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