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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: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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