MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A lawyer whose liver-transplant story touched hearts across the Mountain State plans to attend West Virginia University's home football game against Texas Christian on Nov. 3.
Nefeterius McPherson wore a gold and blue T-shirt at the Mountaineers' game against the University of Texas in Austin on Oct. 6 to honor her donor, 12-year-old brain hemorrhage victim Taitlyn Hughes of Martinsburg.
"Excited about going to the WVU-TCU game!" McPherson said Thursday on her Twitter account. "#WV here I come!"
McPherson and the Hughes family will visit Morgantown just three days before the anniversary of Taitlyn's death. WVU invited them, but the visits are being paid for with private donations.
McPherson was a lawyer in Washington, D.C., at the time of her transplant but has since returned to her hometown of Killeen, Texas. She said she's shocked by the warmth and generosity of West Virginians who have read about her story and her gratitude to Taitlyn.
"She was 12, you know? I still struggle with that at times," McPherson said in a WVU news release. "She will never live to experience the things we take for granted: your first car, becoming a teenager, going to college, getting married, having children. At that age, I remember I just felt l was going to live forever."
McPherson now feels a part of West Virginia.
"How did wearing one shirt give me so much Mountaineer pride? I can't even tell you where that comes from," she said. "It must be the liver inside of me."
Among the people McPherson will visit are faculty and students at WVU's journalism school, where professor Joel Beeson has waited four years for a liver donor. Beeson, who suffers from a genetic bleeding disorder, is scheduled for a transplant later this month.
He's one of more than 116,000 on the national transplant waiting list, according to the Center for Organ Recovery & Education. Each day, 17 will die without one.
In West Virginia, only about 34 percent of people with driver's licenses have designated themselves donors.