A high school freshman reunited with the doctor who saved her life when she was just an infant thanks to a creative writing class assignment.

Fifteen year old, Ashli Taylor was born with congenital cirrhosis of the liver, causing her to need a liver transplant. In June 2001, Ashli was placed on the National Organ Transplant list as her health declined and her chances for survival became slim. On September 11, 2001, Ashli and her mother, Crystal Pope-Taylor were traveling to Houston to see a physician when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. Ashli and her mom were unable to see the physician, but received a call that a liver was available for transplant. The liver was in another state and had to be flown in, but all flights were canceled due to the attacks.

In these circumstances, Pope-Taylor decided to be a living liver donor for her daughter. Dr. Robert Goldstein, of Baylor University Medical Center, removed part of Pope-Taylor’s liver, which was sent to the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and transplanted into Ashli.

The transplant was successful and Ashli has had good health ever since. To express her gratitude, Ashli decided to write a thank you letter to Dr. Goldstein for her creative writing assignment.

“You probably have no idea who I am, but you had a great impact in my life,” Ashli wrote. “I know you’ve had a lot of patients over the years and they appreciate your work. But my parents’ lives would be totally different if it weren’t for you, especially my mom.”

Dr. Goldstein was touched by the letter. “It had been 14 years and out of the blue you get a letter like this and I can’t tell you what this means,” he said.

In response, Dr. Goldstein surprised Ashli with a visit to her high school in Temple, Texas. The two embraced, wiping away tears from their faces.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Ashli said of the visit. “But I’m really grateful,”

Initially, doctors told Ashli’s parents that their daughter might have developmental and physical delays due to the liver illness. However, Ashli has excelled, she is taking Advanced Placement classes and is active in band, choir, and theater arts. In college, Ashli hopes to pursue a degree in music.

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.