Ashli Taylor from Temple, Texas was forced to undergo a surgery when she was just one year old due to a rare congenital condition she developed at birth.
Even though she never had the opportunity to talk with the doctor that saved her, he surprised her with a heartfelt reunion almost fifteen years later.
Ashli urgently needed a liver transplant as an infant, and if they couldn’t find a matching donor, Ashli would only have a couple of more months to live. Luckily, a donor organ had been found, but that was almost immediately after the 9/11 attacks. With no planes flying, the liver couldn’t make it to Ashli in time.
“Looking at what was going on in the country was awful, but when it hit me personally and could mean my child would not survive, it was a whole other ballgame,” Ashli’s mom told Temple Daily Telegram. “When it is your child, you do whatever is needed.”
That’s when Ashli’s mom told Dr. Robert Goldstein to donate a part of her own liver.
Livers are fairly regenerative, and this procedure was the only option left to save Ashli’s life.
Dr. Goldstein performed the surgery fifteen years ago and Ashli wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for him.
Unfortunately, Ashli has no memories of the man that saved her, but she calls him one of the most important people in her life.
Thanks to a high school writing assignment, these two got back in touch with each other.
Ashli’s teacher Brad Billeaudeaux asked Ashli’s class to prepare a letter to a person of their choosing. The 15-year-old decided to address her life-saving doctor of all those years ago, and she sent a copy of the letter to Dr. Goldstein. She writes how grateful she is to be alive and how much of an impact the doctor has had on her life.
“Not a lot of people — or my teachers — even know what happened,” Taylor said to Tennessean.
“You probably have no idea who I am, but you had a great impact in my life,” she wrote in her letter. “I know you’ve had a lot of patients over the years and they appreciate your work. But my parents’ lives would be totally different if it were not for you, especially my mom. “
The teen mailed the assignment but didn’t think that she’d ever get a response.
However, Dr. Goldstein read her touching letter and decided to surprise her in person.
Dr. Goldstein and his staff were clearly moved by Ashli’s warm words.
“I can’t tell you what this means. We made an impact on her, but Ashli made more of an impact on us. This is why we spend the hours doing what we do, because when you see something like this, it’s incredible.”
“She moved me to the point where I wanted to give back,” he added. “I wanted her to realize her words had a real lasting impression.”
The doctor, who lives more than two hours away, decided to drive to the Temple High School and give Ashli’s class a surprise visit.
“Ashli? Guess who?”, he asked with a small bouquet of flowers in his hands. “Your mom’s surgeon. You wrote me a letter, Dr. Goldstein.”
It didn’t take long before Ashli realized that her writing assignment reached its destination. The reunion is very emotional and touching, and Ashli immediately gave the doctor – who was still dressed in Navy scrubs – a big hug.
“Look at you!” the doctor shouted. “I almost started crying when I saw Ashli,” he added.
Ashli certainly didn’t expect that she’d meet the doctor again that saved her life.
“I was not expecting this at all, but I’m really grateful,” Ashli said. “Kids that go through the same thing… they don’t always make it,” she added. “And me being able to make it, I’m just really grateful for those who helped.”
After the surgery fifteen years ago, Ashli exceeded all expectations and has been doing well both physically and mentally. She made a full recovery and has no signs of organ rejection whatsoever.
Ashli is now considering to pursue a music degree in college after she graduates from high school.
Be sure to watch their beautiful reunion in the video below.
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