When a new chapter in her life began October 2, 2008, St. Agnes Academy Sophomore Elizabeth Hibbler began looking for a way to give back to the people who saved her.
"This was the first - big thing - I've done and I've been looking for a way to show my gratitude for the people who helped me," Elizabeth said. "I wanted to thank my donor, my donor's family and my doctors for giving me another chance at life."
"If you're driving, it's a simple check mark on a driver's license," she said. "I just want people to be aware of what a difference they can make in helping to save a life. The statistics are unbelievably sad and so many people die waiting for organs. One person can save up to eight people through donation."
As a young child, Elizabeth was diagnosed with auto-immune hepatitis which led to an enlarged spleen and a compromised liver. As her health became precarious in eighth grade at John Paul II Catholic School, Elizabeth was put on the transplant list at Texas Children's Hospital. Fortunately, she waited only 76 days for a liver and suffered complications following the procedure, but is now a healthy, recovering young adult.
"Recovery is hard work, but I am 100 percent healthy. My transplant gave me a whole new life and I am forever grateful for the gift I was given," Elizabeth said. "I will do whatever I can to give back."
At St. Agnes, Elizabeth also is a member of the Key Club, Student Council and is a new member on the school's Campus Ministry Team. She's also a member of the diving team. She plans to make increasing awareness about organ donation the focus of her junior-senior service project.
"She had such grace, throughout the 13 years she had to live through this. When you're given a cross like that, it takes a very special person to carry it while keeping other aspects of their life in perspective," said Kathleen Miggins Hibbler '84, Elizabeth's mother. "We will strive to honor donors, medical professionals and clergy on Saturday through highlighting the importance of this issue. One person can save so many lives. No one likes to think about it, it's uncomfortable, but for our family it comes down to awareness and faith."
The License to Give event included a group from the sophomore class, other SAA students and friends, and Elizabeth's family. It also showcased the "Our Cup Runneth Over" Silent Auction with special themed baskets, paintings, gift certificates, tickets, food, drinks and live entertainment. Proceeds supported Texas Children's Hospital and the Chris Klug Foundation.
For more information, visit "License to Give 2011" on Facebook or visit www.licensetogivetx.org.