Thrive by IU Health

Daughter-in-law donated liver to the one who ‘puts family first’

IU Health University Hospital

Daughter-in-law donated liver to the one who ‘puts family first’

At her worst, Rebecca Warner went home to rest all day after church. Liver disease zapped of her energy.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

She met the woman who would become her mother-in-law 17 years ago. From the first day she met her, Caitlyn Warner said there was one thing that always stood out. Rebecca Warner always put her family first.

Caitlyn Warner married her husband Chris 15 years ago. They have two daughters, Emma, 12, and Addy, 8. Chris is one of four children of Rebecca Warner, 59.

When she received a diagnosis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), all of Rebecca Warner’s children and their spouses said they’d do whatever they needed to help restore her health. NASH is a liver inflammation and damage caused by the buildup of fat in the liver. Genetics can be a contributor to the disease.

“Rebecca never had a drink in her life. Her sister, and her brother, and mother also were diagnosed with the disease,” said Caitlyn. She was diagnosed in 2021 and over time, the family learned that she would need a transplant.

In July 2020, IU Health restarted the living liver transplantation program. Living donors undergo an initial screening, multiple tests and evaluations. The transplant involves removing a portion of the donor’s liver and then using it to replace the diseased liver in the recipient. The liver regenerates and returns to full function within a month.

After going through testing, Caitlyn emerged as a match and her mother-in-law received a liver transplant Oct. 24, 2022.

Caitlyn and Rebecca hugging

“The transplant team explained things very well. I expected to bounce back a little quicker but it wasn’t like previous surgeries I’d had and I’d do it again for her,” said Caitlyn. Rebecca is “Mi Mi” to her grandchildren. She’s known for her peanut butter fudge, and the love of her family.

Her husband of 41 years, Anthony Warner, is a church pastor. When he changed churches from Brazil, Ind. to Whiteland, Caitlyn remembers her mother-in-law driving the children back to Whiteland to school. She also drove to visit her mother almost every day.

“She does everything for her family and always puts them above everything else,” said Caitlyn. Eventually, Rebecca’s husband was transferred back to a church in Brazil. She joins him for Sunday services, singing with him on the worship team.

“I feel great now. There was a time when I had to rest all day after Sunday services, but now I’m so thankful to have the energy and I’m looking forward to having my granddaughters for sleepover and pool parties,” said Rebecca. “Dr. (Chandrashekhar) Kubal and the rest of the transplant team was amazing.”



Related Services