Liver donor does not consider himself a ‘hero’

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NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The man credited for saving a Trumbull County foster child’s life is still recovering from surgery, but said he is feeling better and getting his energy back.

While 4-year-old Jamie remains in serious but stable condition at UPMC Childrens Hospital in Pittsburgh, her liver donor, David Denovchek, 28, is back home in Niles.

He has been sorting through cards filled with get well wishes and words of encouragement, including some from complete strangers.

“I did not realize how many people were going to be affected by this but it has been really nice, really positive and fun,” Denovchek said.

It has been two weeks since he underwent surgery, donating a piece of his liver to a child he has never met and saving her life.

“It was kind of scary to think that if anything had gone wrong or if we had to delay it, that she might not have made it, but in general, I felt pretty good when I found out that we had done it just in the nick of time,” Denovchek said.

The workers at Trumbull County Children’s Services update Denovchek, whom they call a hero, on Jamie’s recovery almost daily. His next door neighbor June Long said he is that and more.

“He is a hero, but more than a hero. I wish I could describe it. There is no words in the dictionary to describe this guy,” Long said.

But Denovchek said he does not consider himself a hero.

“Honest to goodness, the mentality I have maintained this whole time is really I just did what any person should do and just trying to help somebody. I hear it a lot, I get it emailed to me a lot. I don’t honestly think that is a word I am ever going to use to describe myself,” Denovchek said.

He said his recovery is going well, and he already had a check-up following his release from the hospital last week. He is scheduled for more testing on Monday, and still has at least 10 more weeks before he can head back to work.

“As much as I would love to do things, I can pretty much sit, lay down and stand. And those are pretty much the three things I am allowed to do right now,” Denovchek said.

And although it is a long road to being back at 100 percent, he said he just did what he thought was right.

“My mentality has always been if someone can use it better than me, they are welcome to it and apparently that applies to my body,” Denovchek said.

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