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Article updated: 12/29/2012 6:45 PM

Party marks milestone for Elk Grove Village woman

Susan Clements and her mother, Judy, celebrate the 20th anniversary of Susan’s liver transplant Saturday in Elk Grove Village.

Susan Clements and her mother, Judy, celebrate the 20th anniversary of Susan's liver transplant Saturday in Elk Grove Village.

 

Deborah Donovan | Staff Photographer

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Susan Clements celebrated a miracle with family and friends Saturday -- the 20th anniversary of when the Elk Grove Village woman received a liver transplant.

"The odds of my living were not good," said Clements, who listed some of her health issues that made finding a match and preventing rejection challenging. "I know that God had a plan. He plays a part in my living, there's not a doubt in my mind."

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Her mother, Janet Clements, organized the party for about 20 people in honor of her 48-year-old daughter, and gave each guest a copy of notes she wrote to tell the story of Susan's long fight with liver failure.

"There are things in here I didn't know," said Susan's younger sister, Julie Gennett of Medinah. "I didn't know that Harrison Ford was in town filming a movie ("The Fugitive") and while he was shadowing a doctor went to see Susan."

Their mother wrote that Susan told her "he was the most handsome doctor she had ever seen."

Gennett talked about her sister's artistic talents. "She paints, draws, makes jewelry and miniature dollhouses. If she wrote your name on a piece of paper, you would want to frame it."

Susan's cousin, Kathy Salata of Downers Grove, said she had asked Janet Clements what type gift to buy for Susan, and Janet responded, "She got the gift of life 20 years ago."

It is important for people to donate organs when they die, said Janet Clements, a registered nurse who is still working full time in her 70s.

"Let people know if they just would donate they could save more than one life," she said. "To think that she would not be around …. "

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