Grateful mom donates generously after St. Joseph’s saves her son’s life twice in one year 

Leslie White and Matthew Katusa

Summer 2022--Leslie White is overjoyed that her son, Matthew Katusa, will be around for his 37th birthday in 2022, especially because his life was threatened two times last year. In March 2021 he received a liver transplant at St. Joseph’s Norton Thoracic Institute before cancer could get the best of him. Nine months later, Matthew was nearly fully recovered when his car was hit on New Year’s Eve, and he was raced by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Trauma Center with severe injuries, including a broken pelvis, broken right arm and broken ribs. When the trauma team contacted Leslie to inform her of the accident, she was terrified, but then completely relieved to learn that Matthew had surprisingly been spared of any internal injuries. This new liver was untouched. 

Leslie believes it was a miracle: “That liver must have had some kind of anointing to save my son’s life when it was transplanted and then survive a severe car accident like it did. It’s a miracle he didn’t have internal injuries.” Filled with gratitude, she prays for the individual who gifted the liver to Matthew and speaks about the organ donation process with extreme reverence. “I call Matthew’s donor ‘precious soul,’ because organ donation is the most selfless act that anyone can perform.”

During a recent visit to St. Joseph’s, Leslie passed a display promoting the Norton Thoracic Institute’s successful completion of 100 liver transplant procedures. She immediately called Matthew, and together they decided to make a donation to support the program.  Although neither of them was familiar with St. Joseph’s before Matthew became a patient here, Leslie says they will be eternally grateful to be connected with St. Joseph’s for eternity.
Both Leslie and Matthew were inspired by the hospital’s spirituality every time they visited, mirrored by compassionate care, a cross in every room, the ability to visit the Marian Chapel, the morning and evening prayers shared over the hospital-wide speaker system, and having access to chaplains of many faiths. They were also impressed by the Norton’s team approach to provide a full range of extensive care to treat Matthew, who was healthy up until two years ago when he received the shocking news that he had liver cancer and would need a transplant to survive. 

More than anything, though, Leslie’s thankful Matthew’s life was saved. “He’s doing fabulous! She says. He’s working again, is very active and back to his normal life.” She’s also decided that they’ll not only celebrate his birthday every November, but they’ll also commemorate his “miracle birthday” every year in March by making a donation to Norton Thoracic Institute. This life-changing event has led her to become a passionate advocate for organ donation, compelling her to share the importance of organ donation with every one she can.  

“It’s not just the patient who benefits, but everyone around them, too,” she says. “Matthew is very good person who volunteers his time and goes out of his way to help others,” she says. “He’s not a celebrity or someone well-known. He’s just a normal guy, but he would be dearly missed by many people if he was no longer with us.”

To learn more about organ donation, visit
To make a gift to support lifesaving care at St. Joseph’s, visit