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Turlock teen leads normal life after liver transplants
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Gary and Griffin Boyd stand next to the wall panel at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto that tells the story of how Griffin is able to live because of two liver transplants he had as a baby. - photo by NANCY ANGEL / The Journal

An emotional panel of speakers gave a new meaning to life when they honored organ donors and transplant recipients at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto Wednesday morning.  As part of National Minority Donor Awareness Week, about 40 panels were on display in the hospital’s main hallway, which featured stories of residents whose loved ones lost their lives and donated organs and tissues.  The wall also commemorated the people whose lives were saved because of the transplants.

One of the transplant recipients at Wednesday’s event was Turlock resident Griffin Boyd, who had two liver transplants.

“Being at the wall of hope makes me emotional in many ways,” said Boyd.  “It gives me an appreciation for life and everyone around me who’s gone through the same thing I have. It was very difficult to see all the testimonies because you see all the pain the families are going through.”

Griffin, 14, currently suffers from a rare genetic disorder known as Anderson’s Disease and continues to fight every day with the help and support of his parents and family.

“I’m still like any normal kid.  I still have to do my bed every morning and fulfill my everyday obligations.  I am excited to be attending high school this fall and most importantly, graduating,” he said.

Gary Boyd, Griffin’s father, said his son is a fighter with an amazing will to live.

"He had full-blown cirrhosis of the liver at six months old and he had to undergo two liver transplants. We never thought he would make it to kindergarten," he said. "Very few children who have this have lived very long.”

Griffin is the type of kid who doesn't let a life-threatening disease stop him, though. At his father's almond ranch he helps fix irrigation and sprinkler systems, rides the tractor and works on mechanical projects. Off the ranch he plays hoops at school, rides motorcycles and four-wheelers and has participated in 4-H. In every aspect of his life he attempts to be a normal kid, something he learned from his upbringing.

"He's a spunky kid and he is very verbal. He will let you know what's going on. So, we don't give him any slack and we treat him like any other kid," said Gary. "I think that is part of the reason he has lived so long.”

The future looks bright for Griffin, and he’s already looking at different colleges to attend once he graduates.  Griffin said he would like to become a gunsmith or a lawyer, but he indicated that he is leaning towards a career as a gunsmith because he “doesn’t want to be in college forever.”

“I feel like a normal kid despite everything I’ve gone through, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me,” said Griffin.