Liver transplant recipient thankful to Oakland man


ABC7 spoke to Murphy Monday afternoon and after the six-hour liver transplant operation on Sunday, Murphy says he's feeling great. He's never met the young man who donated his liver, so he says he is both touched by the generosity and surprised by the tragedy of his donor's death.

Murphy says he woke up at 5 a.m. feeling great after a successful liver transplant Christmas Day.

"They got me up and... walking," said Murphy.

He says he's been following reports about 23-year-old Butler -- the man who donated his liver.

"For me to actually see the donor person, see him on a video, is really touching," said Murphy.

In a video taken in October 2011, Butler was asked, "Where do you see yourself in three years?" and he replied, "On a boat, traveling the world, meeting a lot of new people."

Butler recently graduated from a Merchant Marine training program and was looking forward to an adventurous career. He was shot to death just yards from his West Oakland home last week, while he was driving back from a local store. Oakland police have yet to make an arrest in his murder, but his family says they've been in close contact with investigators and they're hopeful police are on the verge of a major development.

"They are coming up with more leads as we speak, and of course I don't want to jeopardize their investigation, so I can't say too much," said Valerie Butler, Charles' sister.

Daniel Murphy's progress is great news for Butler's family.

When Valerie heard Murphy was doing well and talking, she said, "Oh, that's wonderful. That's wonderful."

She says five more of her brothers organs were successfully matched with other recipients. Outside his home, a small memorial of candles was set up as word spreads of Butler's death and his gift of life to others.

"Whoever was kind enough to show us that you care about what's going on and that you love our brother like we do, we really want to say thank you," said Valerie.

Both families have been in contact with each other by phone and they want to meet each other once Murphy is released from the hospital and fully recovers.

A total of four patients received five of Butler's organs. Besides Murphy receiving is liver, one patient received his heart, one received his kidney, and another received a kidney and a pancreas.

The man who received a kidney and pancreas was 34-year-old Luke Barnes from the San Luis Obispo area. Barnes has been on dialysis, but thanks to this transplant, he will no longer have to take insulin injections or have to undergo dialysis treatments. Barnes' operation began at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day and ended at 5 p.m.

Barnes spoke to ABC7 and said, "It's hard to put into words how grateful that me and my family are for what this young man could do for us and I just pretty much feel like I got a second chance on life. And I just wanted to thank them from the bottom of my heart."

Butler's family wants everyone to know the importance of organ donation and that they have received a great sense of comfort by knowing that a part of their brother will live on in other people.

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