NC man donates liver to his best friend with cancer

North Carolina news

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – A Morehead City man is getting a second chance at life because of his best friend.

Josh Lambeth and Brandon Bass have gone through it all — high school prom, marriage, kids, but now they were on a new journey.

Josh Lambeth and Brandon Bass at
their high school prom.

“I think we’re extremely close and I think this experience has definitely brought us a lot closer,” said Lambeth.

In 2013, Lambeth was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. A year later, his cancer moved to his liver and to stage four.

“It kind of felt like we were running out of options. I was having major symptoms and side effects that I ​hadn’t encountered before and it was really changing my quality of life,” said Lambeth.

Lambeth’s wife turned to social media. She connected with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Dr. Abhi Humar, the chief of transplantation.

“He had a condition that he had run out of all either treatment options and was not responding​ to any other treatment options,” said Humar.

Lambeth met with doctors, who said he qualified for a living donor liver transplant — part of a healthy person’s liver is transplanted into someone who needs a new one.

“If you look at all the liver transplants in the United States only five percent is from a living donor,” said Humar.

Josh Lambeth and Brandon Bass at the hospital.

His best friend, Brandon Bass, stepped up to the challenge. Like a true best friend, he was a perfect match.

“I don’t feel any different. It was just essentially helping a friend out, is the way I view it,” said Bass.

The surgery happened in the middle of the pandemic, limiting family visits. Lambeth and Bass went hand-in-hand through the process. ​

“Crying while we were laughing, it hurt so bad and it was nice but at the same time it was very painful,” said Bass.

Bass doesn’t consider himself a hero after donating part of his organs – he says it’s about being a friend.

Now, Lambeth is alive to tell his story because of an act of friendship that binds them together more than ever.

The two will continue with follow-up at the doctors.

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