“Knott County’s Justin Laferty received a hero’s welcome Tuesday night in the pouring rain. Signs lined the bypass leading to Hindman welcoming the family back as the Laferty’s pulled their new RV into town.
‘I was just glad to be home all my friends and family I was just tickled to death with it,’ said Laferty.
A near four hours after expecting to be back, two replacement tires from blowouts on the way home from Baltimore gripped the road. The literal road home for the Laferty’s is a good representation of the figurative one that has been their life the last five months.
Right as the coronavirus pandemic hit challenging everyday life, Justin Laferty faced tougher challenges. Justin, who had been diagnosed with liver failure five years prior, saw his health deteriorate quickly.
‘My organs started shutting down because of my liver,’ said Justin.
The family took Justin to UK Health. Doctors deemed Justin’s condition too far gone, sending him home to hospice care and suggestions for the family to say goodbye.
The Laferty’s tried the University of Wisconsin and a trip to Pittsburgh. Both trips ended with the same result. Justin’s father, Danny, refused to give up.
‘I accepted the fact that I might have to bury my son but until that day I’ll spend every minute,’ stopped Danny fighting back tears. ‘Until that day I’ll spend every minute trying to save his life.’
Danny’s full-time job effort to find a transplant to save his son paid off. After a trip to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, looked to have the same outcome, the Laferty’s received a call as the doctors decided to reverse their decision and do the surgery for Justin.
‘Dr. Stumbo told me, he said “Danny, this doesn’t happen. This does not happen this way.” Everything went against what the tradition is. Within six days of getting him there, he was in surgery getting a liver transplant.’
After making the trip to Baltimore the next day, Justin was admitted to the hospital. He said he doesn’t have a memory of much before the surgery except for what got him through; his favorite bible verse, Philippians 4:13.
“‘I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.” I just kept saying that over and over in my head. I remember that,’ said Justin.”