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Transplant Recipient Continues To Do Well

Sun., April 20, 1997, midnight

The “Gigi updates” were posted on the door of the public relations office.

Staff and students at Gonzaga University last December anxiously followed the news on Gigi Preston’s liver transplant.

Preston, the office manager for GU’s public relations department, and her husband, John, the school’s director of athletic development and assistant athletic director, are well-known and well-cared-for on that Roman Catholic campus.

“I feel very lucky,” says Gigi Preston, wearing a royal blue Spokane Shootout warm-up suit in her Southside kitchen. “(The transplant) has taught me a lot about myself. How strong I am. How strong others are and how generous people are.”

Colleagues at Gonzaga, as well as friends and family around the world, prayed for Preston as she lay in the hospital. One friend wrote, “When you dream, do you feel people’s prayers?” Preston believes she did. As she slept, a wave of comfort would wash over her.

Preston was raised a Christian Scientist. She was taught to think positively and told, “God does not want you to be ill.”

She attended Whitworth College, where in 1976 she contracted viral hepatitis.

In 1982, she learned the hepatitis had seriously damaged her liver, and four years ago her doctors began to talk of a liver transplant.

While in the hospital last December, Preston converted to Catholicism.

“It was very comforting,” Preston says. “I prayed more than I ever prayed in my life.”

Today, she’s recovering from three compression fractures in her back, a common complication for transplant patients. She must guard against infections, and avoid people with colds or the flu.

But she hopes to return to work part time next month and to attend a Gonzaga basketball tournament in Alaska next Thanksgiving.

Gigi and John Preston also plan to adopt a new set of puppies, to replace a pair of beloved dachshunds that lived 16 years. Gigi Preston looks ahead and sees a future that extends well beyond the new puppies’ life span.

“We plan on being old,” she says.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: For information on becoming an organ donor, call 1-888-543-3287.

See related story under the headline: Ruben’s gift

For information on becoming an organ donor, call 1-888-543-3287.

See related story under the headline: Ruben’s gift

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