RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond nurse saved her brother’s life by donating 70% of her liver.

Zeke Traylor, a former coach for Hampden-Sydney College football, said he’s been battling liver disease for the past three years.

“I would throw up constantly. I was tired. I was weak,” he said.

After going to several doctors’ appointments and leaving without answers, Traylor finally received a diagnosis at the end of 2021.

“I thought I was going to die,” he said.

Doctors told him that his liver was failing, and that he only had two more years to live without treatment.

Traylor was hoping to receive a liver donation, but it wasn’t as easy as he initially thought.

“I was confused and frustrated because I was sick enough to need a liver, but not sick enough to receive one,” he said.

Brooke Wilson is a nurse at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She’s also Traylor’s sister.

Siblings Brooke Wilson and Zeke Traylor. Credit: 8News

After finding out about his condition, she got tested and found out she was a match.

“The living donor option came open and even as a nurse I wasn’t familiar with the whole process,” she said.

They traveled to UVA Medical Center, where doctors performed the surgery on July 14. They took 70% of Wilson’s liver and gave it to Traylor.

Doctor also put a stint in his new organ.

“I can never repay her. It’s just a selfless act of love that I didn’t deserve,” Traylor said.

Wilson said, “It’s unbelievable. It’s a miracle truly. I would do it again tomorrow.” She said her liver is expected to grow back to 100%.

Credit: 8News

Traylor said when he fully recovers, he’s heading to the beach to spend time with his family.

According to the American Kidney Fund, nearly 2,600 Virginians are on the waitlist for an organ. The non-profit added that last year, only 170 living donations took place across Virginia.

More than 113,000 patients in the U.S. are awaiting on an organ transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). 

Now both siblings are recovering at home, and they hope their story inspires more people to consider becoming an organ donor.

Traylor said he encourages others with chronic conditions to share their diagnosis with a support system and to not let it define them.

“I prepared my field and we prayed for rain,” he said. “The Lord God poured rain all over the place.”

Traylor thanks his family, including his wife, daughter and sister. He also appreciates the outpour of support from his football family at Hampden-Sydney College.