Transplant Recipient Continues to Honor Organ Donor By Cheering - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Transplant Recipient Continues to Honor Organ Donor By Cheering For WVU

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MORGANTOWN -

Nefeterius McPherson is trying to change the world. That was what 12-year-old Taitlyn Hughes wanted before she died on November 6, 2011.

Hughes changed McPherson's life by donating her liver and now McPherson is trying to help Hughes change the world by raising organ donation awareness.

Hughes was a huge Mountaineer fan. Following the transplant, McPherson wanted to honor Taitlyn's spirit and quickly became a Mountaineer fan herself.

"I joined the Mountaineer family in such a bittersweet way because I received Taitlyn's liver," McPherson said. "But I love West Virginia now like I love my alma mater SMU and I am thrilled to see my first basketball game here."

McPherson first made news when she attended the WVU-Texas football game last fall in Austin, Texas. She wears a WVU t-shirt with Taitlyn's age when she died, 12, and Taitlyn's name on the back of it.

McPherson lives in Kileen, Texas and once again made her way to Austin to support the Mountaineers.

She sat a few rows behind the WVU bench and proudly held up a sign that read, "I'm from Texas, but my organ donor loved WVU."

Her story has become a popular one, especially to West Virginia fans who approached McPherson to take some pictures with her.

"It's actually a little surreal," McPherson said. "I saw some people looking at me walking in and then they saw the sign and recognized me."

McPherson arrived early to Austin so she could join WVU fans for a pregame meal.

"Earlier today, I had some dinner with West Virginia alums from the Houston and Austin chapter," McPherson stated.  "When I walked in people were wondering who I was and then figured it out."

McPherson had never attended a WVU basketball game until the game at Texas earlier this week. She saw quite a dramatic game with WVU overcoming a 10-point deficit with less than four minutes remaining to force overtime. The Mountaineers pulled out the win in OT. Taking Taitlyn's spirit to WVU games when possible is very important for McPherson.

"Each time I root for West Virginia I feel as though I am rooting with Taitlyn," McPherson said. "It's an honor to be honest with you. It's an honor to have an organ donor like her and like her spirit living on in me. I'm so grateful for the gift of life that I can't help but talk about Taitlyn each time I get. It's such an honor to be here just because of the gift of life she gave me."

So McPherson is trying to change the world every opportunity she gets. She will gladly stop and talk to you and tell you her story. She did it with many Mountaineer fans before, during and after the game at Texas. McPherson is seeing signs that she is making progress towards helping Taitlyn change the world.

"Just yesterday I received a tweet from someone saying I am a registered organ donor because of you," McPherson shrugged. "I need to remind people that it is not because of me. It is because of Taitlyn's story with me. It is so humbling when someone says I am now registered to be an organ donor and willing to save a life like Taitlyn saved yours."

McPherson plans to attend another WVU basketball game when West Virginia visits Baylor. She is also looking forward to seeing a game at the WVU Coliseum later this season. McPherson will have some follow-up doctor's appointments in Washington, D.C. and says she wants to get back to Morgantown for a game.

In the meantime, McPherson will continue to honor her organ donor, "Taitlyn's dream was to change the world and if I can fulfill that dream, that would be the greatest thing for me."

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