MHP trooper donates part of liver to life-long friend

Sgt. Gary Stanton with Troop F in New Albany is taking his responsibility to save lives to a personal level.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 5:30 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 5:57 PM

NEW ALBANY, Miss. (WTVA) - MHP Sgt. Gary Stanton with Troop F in New Albany is taking his responsibility to save lives to a personal level.

Stanton and Sandy Byrd have been friends since kindergarten.

Gary Stanton and Sandy Byrd (right)

Gary Stanton (right) and Sandy Byrd graduating from Potts Camp.

Sandy Byrd (center) and Gary Stanton (right) at Sandy's wedding.

“We went to high school together, community college together; we were in a band together," he said. "I was in his wedding, he was in my wedding...pretty much everything a friendship could go through.”

However, while filing for life insurance seven years ago, medical exams turned into doctors warning Byrd to monitor his liver.

"In December [of 2019], I was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma in my liver,” Byrd said. 

This news was something that is no match for this pair of best friends. 

Stanton has worked for the Mississippi Highway Patrol for 13 years. 

“The goal of the agency is to basically save lives, so this is just another avenue to do that,” he said. 

For Stanton, he said it was an easy decision, but Byrd said he didn't agree at first. 

“It’s an emotional thing," he said. "It means the world. I know that he loves me and he knows that I love him. At the same time, it’s scary that he’s taking this risk for me.”

It is also a difficult decision overall for their families. Both have children under the age of 14. 

However, each family is going through this together. 

“He doesn’t deserve it," Marcy Byrd, Sandy Byrd's wife, said. "He’s a really good guy. He’s worked really hard in life."

“I know how important Sandy is to all of us, and I know that I would want someone to do that for him,” Kalee Stanton, Gary Stanton's wife, said.

One thing is for sure, Stanton and Byrd are keeping a positive attitude. 

“I think my hope for this, you know, other than Sandy, is for people to be willing to explore that option," Stanton said. "Whether it be something this extreme or something just as simple as giving someone a ride to work.”

Byrd's procedure will happen at a hospital in Memphis. Doctors will take 59.5% of Stanton's liver and quickly transplant it into Byrd. 

For now, the two said the coronavirus pandemic has not impacted this procedure besides the fact that they are only allowed one visitor. 

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 147382

Reported Deaths: 3763
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
Jones346788
Lauderdale3355144
Lafayette317549
Washington3122107
Lamar283449
Oktibbeha240861
Bolivar240184
Lowndes229763
Neshoba2177115
Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
Pontotoc196128
Monroe191477
Sunflower190555
Lincoln186865
Warren172657
Tate165451
Union163925
Pike160658
Copiah159540
Yazoo152039
Scott150729
Coahoma148743
Itawamba148234
Pearl River146567
Alcorn146327
Simpson145153
Prentiss141230
Adams137949
Grenada137745
Leake131943
Holmes126561
Tippah123030
George122324
Covington119737
Winston119124
Wayne116223
Hancock115939
Marion111646
Attala109833
Tishomingo106542
Chickasaw104132
Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
Calhoun6112115
Marshall607954
Etowah606565
Houston517038
DeKalb474736
Cullman428038
Limestone413744
St. Clair409055
Elmore400762
Lauderdale393653
Walker3588108
Talladega343453
Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 45°
Columbus
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 43°
Oxford
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 40°
Starkville
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 39°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather