19-month-old girl meets live liver donor who saved her life

PITTSBURGH — A 19-month-old girl who is alive and well thanks to a live liver donor met the woman who saved her life Wednesday at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Ella Diekmann, of Youngstown, Ohio, was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a potentially fatal disease of the liver and bile ducts, at 6 weeks old. Her family members began chronicling her failing health on the Facebook page

and issued a public plea for a live liver donor last winter. That’s when Ella and Amanda Crow’s paths intersected.

Crow, 25, of Hermitage in Mercer County, told Channel 11’s news partners at

that she was having trouble falling asleep one night and went online to browse social media.

“So naturally I went to social media because I'll fall asleep with my face on my phone,” Crow, who works in admissions at Slippery Rock University, told

. “Then I just happened to see this article about Baby Ella, and I found out that I just happened to be a blood match.”

She called UPMC to inquiry about how she could help Ella.

“I knew I was going to come out OK, but I also knew that if I didn't, it was my purpose to save someone else,” Crow told

. “There's no better purpose than that.”

The surgery took place on March 7. A surgeon removed 25 percent of Crow’s liver and transplanted it into Ella during an eight-hour surgery,

reported. Dr. Abhi Humar, chief of the transplantation division at UPMC Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, told

that the liver took immediately.

Until last Friday, Ella and her mother, Suzy Diekmann, did not know Crow’s name, her age or where she lived. They all met for the first time face-to-face on Wednesday.

Ella took to Crow at once. She smiled at her constantly, touched her hair and played with a bracelet on her right wrist,


“I just wanted to make an impact on Ella and her family. I didn't want them to suffer and worry for their child. God calls us to help and love people in the best way we can. That's why I did it,” Crow told


To read TribLIVE’s full story about Ella and Crow’s face-to-face meeting,