Matt Mullis loves Duke University basketball. When this teenager was told he had liver disease, he carried this love all the way into the hospital. His surgeon, Stuart Knechtle, M.D., felt the same way about Matt’s favorite team.
“Before they talked about his liver issue, it had to be a Duke discussion first,” said Matt’s mom, Susan.
Matt said, “When he saw I had a Duke hat and a Duke shirt, we were close ever since.”
A liver became available a few months later. Matt was getting ready for his surgery, but he had a surprise for Dr. Knechtle. He wrote the words “Go Duke Blue Devils” on his stomach.
"He's really got a lot of spirit," said Dr. Knechtle about the surprise, "and it endeared me more to him."
The surgery was a success. But there was one more surprise. This time it was for Matt. The transplant team called 11Alive, which reached out to Duke. After his surgery, Matt got the chance to see his Blue Devils in action, as they beat Colgate by 52 points. Matt got to visit with the players and Coach Mike Krzyzewski after the game.
"It was just a lifetime memory I will never forget," Matt said.