HEADLINES

Darien and Ridgefield Runners Forever Bonded Through Lifesaving Liver Donation

Editor's note: back in February of 2021, we shared a story "Running on HOPE" about two runners coming together in the name of life. The person who brought these two young girls together - Megan Searfoss, the owner of Darien and Ridgefield Running Company.
 
Sophie, a fellow Ridgefield Running Company employee and Caitlin, a Darien resident and Darien Running Company are forever bonded. Caitlin has a portion of Sophia's liver. Megan shared the touching story (read below) and alerted the community that Sophia has healed, Caitlin's body has accepted the new liver, and the two are back on the streets running again!
 
What's more, Sophie is registered to run the Boston Marathon on behalf of the Liver Foundation! Please consider supporting Sophia's Liver Life Challenge HERE.
 
Hey, it’s Megan, owner of Darien Running Company, I am a fortunate owner.
 
I have the privilege of employing extraordinary humans who love to share their passion for running with all of us. Some are here for the marathon while others sprint in and out, leaving their mark on our stores and with you. I am so proud of my Team.
 
Several years ago, Sophie Long came into our lives. She grew up in Darien and later returned to teach at Darien High School, the school she attended and where she ran cross country and track. Sophie worked summers, weekends, and holidays, filling our stores with enthusiasm and laughter. I jokingly told her that I opened Darien Running Company last July to ease her commute and to get her to quit her “day” job at DHS.
 
Then just as our little store on Brook Street opened in July 2020, Sophie announced she was leaving to get her Master's Degree in Math at Boston University. Go figure. Sophie never sits for long, always finding an opportunity to grow and championing it.
 
Late summer last year, Caitlin, a longtime Saturday Shop runner at Ridgefield Running Company, reached out to me to ask if I would post about her need for a liver donor. Caitlin had a chronic and rare liver disease, and her need was urgent. Thousands of customers read and shared our post, and many of us put our names on the list to be considered as a donor, Sophie included. We all kept Caitlin in our thoughts and prayed she would find a match.
 
In January this year, in the midst of the pandemic, Caitlin appeared at Ridgefield Running Company. She came in holding a box from the Cake Box and I asked her if she was bringing them for me as it was my birthday. She laughed and said “No, but I have a match! And I am getting a liver this month!”
 
Instantly I burst out, “I think I know who it is!” I don’t know why but I just knew it was Sophie. Caitlin then said, “the transplant team said that the donor had a lot in common with me and that they were sure we would be friends. [They said] that the donor had to donate now or wait until May.”
 
That was it! Now I knew it was Sophie, as the timing aligned with her school schedule. I congratulated Caitlin, said I’d be in touch and off she went. Moments later, I ran back to the back room and called Sophie. “Is it you?!” I screamed into the phone, crying. “Yes!” she said, and we cried together. I asked her if she wanted to meet Caitlin as it is up to the donor to reveal their identity. Sophie asked if Caitlin wanted to meet her, and I told her yes.
 
Suddenly, I found myself in the most amazing, strange blind date introduction, in a text string I still love to read.
 
It’s been 5 months since Sophie shared nearly 60% of her liver with Caitlin. The transplant road is never easy, but Caitlin’s new liver is working, and Sophie has healed too. Amazingly, both have even started running again!
 
Sophie knew when she put her name in [to be a donor] last year that she would be chosen. How? I am not sure except that I do know that when Sophie sets her eyes on a goal, it is going to happen.
 
This fall, Sophie has decided to run the Boston Marathon on behalf of the Liver Foundation. She has a lofty fundraising goal and I am certain she will get there. She gave part of her liver to save a life, let us give a little to her to show our appreciation.
 
Sophie has changed my life forever. Her will to accomplish a goal is fierce, and the gift of her liver is priceless. Now it’s our turn, as a DRC/RRC community, to remind Sophie that she is our hero and show our support as she crushes her next adventure – please consider donating HERE.

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