Levi Goff Somerset, Kentucky

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Support Levi at Upcoming Donate Life KY Blood Drive

In celebration of Levi Goff, and to support Kentuckians like him who will require an organ transplant and/or blood transfusions, Donate Life KY is partnering with Kentucky Blood Center for a blood drive on April 11. The drive will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Donate Life KY at 10301 Linn Station Road in Louisville. Appointments are available at the link below. 

Blood transfusions play a vital role in many organ transplants, including the small intestine, liver and pancreas multi-organ transpant Levi received. April is National Blood Donor Month. Learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation at DonateLife.net.

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Somerset Teen Making the Most of a Second Chance

Levi Goff and his mother, Laurie Goff, and KBC's Somerset Donor Center.

Turning 16 years old is a milestone for most Kentucky teenagers because they have reached legal age to obtain a driver’s license.

Levi Goff from Somerset was looking forward to his 16th birthday in July 2023 for a much different reason: He could – with parental permission – donate blood for the first time.

“He’s always talked about how he wants to do it, so he was excited to actually go when he turned 16,” said his mother, Laurie Goff.

At that age, when most boys are thinking about video games and playing with their friends, Levi had his mind on giving the gift of life. It’s important to Levi because he wouldn’t have made it to that milestone birthday without the generosity of others who donated part of themselves when Levi – too young to know – was in desperate need. 

At two weeks old, Levi lost his small intestine and later his liver because of a birth defect called malrotation that twisted his small intestine and cut off all blood flow to his bowels. He required a multi-organ transplant and several blood transfusions to preserve his life.  

“I would like to try to help someone because I got helped and it saved me,” Levi said.

Levi’s condition as an infant, as Laurie describes it, was so dire that, after removing his nonfunctioning small intestine, doctors presented Laurie the option to let Levi pass away peacefully while sedated because of the grim outlook.  

For the Goffs, it was never an option.

“I couldn’t have lived with myself knowing that there might have been a sliver of hope of him having a life,” Laurie said. “We wanted to give him every opportunity to live a life. Maybe it was a little selfish on my part, but I couldn’t lose my baby.”

Levi's Long Road

Even after a brutally complicated and difficult surgery, which required several blood transfusions, Levi’s fight was just beginning. To even be eligible for an organ transplant, Levi needed to weigh at least 20 pounds, which was wasn’t going to be easy to get to without the ability to orally digest food.


From Dire to 'Normal'

Levi Goff in a Donate Life KY shirt.

Within four months, it was determined that Levi would also need a new liver and pancreas from that accumulating liver damage.

After eight months of grueling care and uncertainty, the Goffs received the news that they had a donor for little Levi. He underwent immediate surgery and was given a second chance that Laurie wasn’t so sure he’d ever receive.

“I honestly didn’t know that he would survive long enough to get a transplant,” Laurie said. “You just live in the moment and try to get through the day and just be happy that you got another one with him. We were lucky that we were able to get a match.”

Recovery wasn’t without its complications. He had an ileostomy (that was eventually reversed) and experienced a small bout of organ rejection in the first year, he needed additional blood transfusions, and he required a feeding tube for quite some time.

But Levi persevered. That he is here because someone else – a 5-week-old infant that was tragically lost – is always on Laurie’s mind.

“You know what the cost of that gift is,” Laurie said. “There was another child that had to pass away for Levi to receive the transplant. It was very joyous because we now knew that Levi had a second chance, but we also knew that there was a child and another parent suffering while we were celebrating. It’s a very complicated feeling. … I’m very thankful that she (the donor’s mother) did choose to donate in her time of grief to help us get through what we were going through with Levi.”

Levi has since meant the mother of his donor, including on the 10-year-anniversary of the transplant and when she got married recently.

“She said when she saw Levi, she knew she made the right choice,” Laurie said. 

That mother’s choice, and the generosity of blood donors, has ensured Levi is now just a normal 16-year-old junior at Pulaski County High School who enjoys video games, riding bikes and playing with his three siblings. Blood donation was on his mind as he neared eligibility age, but so too are the everyday things that seemed nearly impossible 16 years ago.

“I’m thankful for that every day,” Laurie said. “He learned to walk, he learned to talk, he learned to ride a bike, and he’s learning to drive right now. That’s a miracle that he’s made it this far and he’s just a normal teenage kid.”

Levi Was Anxious to Give Back

Levi Goff at KBC's Somerset Donor Center after his first blood donation in July 2023.

Blood donation was just one important part in a combination of life-saving efforts, but it’s a simple act that has resonated with the Goffs, who have since made it a regular routine to visit the Somerset Donor Center and give as a family.

“That’s just one simple thing that we can do that doesn’t take us 20 minutes out of our day to do,” Laurie said. “Sometimes it’s not as critical as it was with Levi, but we all need blood in our body to live. It’s such a small thing to do to make such a big impact on someone’s life – to potentially save their life.”

Levi is just grateful to join his family’s efforts to give back. He returned for his second donation in December.

“I liked it,” Levi said. “It was pretty fun.”

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About Kentucky Blood Center

KBC, the largest independent, full-service, nonprofit blood center in Kentucky, has been saving local lives since 1968. Licensed by the FDA, KBC’s sole purpose is to collect, process and distribute blood for patients in Kentucky. KBC provides services in 90 Kentucky counties and has donor centers in Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort, Pikeville, Somerset and the Tri-County area (Corbin).