TORONTO – Doctors say Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is recovering well after his liver transplant earlier this week at a Toronto hospital, as is the anonymous donor who made the life-saving surgery possible.
Dr. Atul Humar, director of the multi-organ transplant program at University Health Network, says says the 55-year-old Melnyk remains in the intensive care unit and is awake, smiling and answering questions.
The hospital would not identify the donor, so it’s not known how old the person is or whether they are male or female.
Even Melnyk does not know who his benefactor is.
Dr. David Grant, who led the transplant surgical team, says the donor provided a number of reasons for giving a large portion of their liver to the billionaire NHL team owner.
Grant says the donor told him the motivation was to help Melnyk return to health so he can enjoy his family and friends —and “most importantly to bring the Stanley Cup home to the Ottawa Senators.”
Melnyk’s family thanked the donor in a statement and wished the unknown individual a speedy recovery.
Grant says more than 20 of the 500 people who answered the public appeal to be donors for Melnyk have said they are willing to donate to others waiting for a new liver.
“So many lives will be saved as a result of this appeal, and we as a community should be very proud of these heroic, caring individuals,” Grant said.