Doctor setting an example while raising donor awareness

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SALT LAKE CITY -- There was a ceremony Monday morning east of University Hospital to pay tribute to a cyclist team that will ride 24 hours a day on a 3,000-mile journey.

The Team Donate Life Squad, as it calls itself, is looking for more support for organ donations, but one member is telling people who've already had transplants to let nothing slow them down.

That member, Terry Box, should know. He is a University of Utah liver transplant physician who himself has had a liver transplant. He was diagnosed with a large liver tumor in 1999. He got his transplant in 2002. In the three years of waiting, he saw things from both a physician and patient-in-waiting perspective.

"Now I obviously have a relatively unique perspective of both sides. I never anticipated this, not once," Box said.

Unlike most of us who've never had a transplant, Box outperforms in cycling with his transplant to prove a point: A liver transplant, even in the aftermath of cancer, is not a death sentence.

"It's been very rewarding for me to not only be able to reassure them, but, in a way, just to show them that: No it is not. Here I am today, and most of them have no idea that I've received a transplant before they meet me," Box said.

Members of Team Donate Life, University Health Care staff and Intermountain Donor Services were all there to wish the cyclists a safe journey.

Box does have a few precautions. "In order to avoid some of the adverse effects of medications, I have to be careful. I have to be rehydrated. I have to be adequately fueled," he explained.

But other than that, he's returned to life healthy as he once was, doing even more than he did before. [CLICK HERE for more information about the upcoming race]


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Ed Yeates


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