National Women’s Health Week Spotlight: Jennifer Rouse Reclaims Health and Vitality After Liver Transplant
With the Sierra Mountains towering around her, Jennifer Rouse hiked through Yosemite Park in complete awe. She felt strong, healthy, and a deep sense of gratitude for the vitality enabling her to trek through the national park. Just a few years ago, Rouse had endured sudden acute liver failure. A life-saving liver transplant in 2019 turned it all around.
Jennifer always strived for a healthy and active lifestyle. Just weeks before the transplant at Jefferson Health, she even hit a personal record at the gym. Little did she know that 13 days later, she would move to the top of a transplant list.
“I thought I was just a little run down. What I didn’t know was that I contracted Hepatitis A from something I ate or drank, and it was attacking my body,” she said. Her body was now entering acute liver failure.
“The doctors told me I had three hours to live,” Rouse recalled. “So that was a Friday. My family was notified on Sunday that they found a donor for me, and that Monday was my surgery.”
Jennifer’s liver transplant was successful, and she has since returned to her active lifestyle. In addition to her time at Yosemite National Park, she recently visited Niagara Falls.
While she was sick, her friends and family formed the team Fight like Rouse to raise money for her recovery. Jennifer participated in the 26th Annual Gift of Life Donor Dash this April, joining with more than 10,000 others to show support for organ and tissue donors and recipients and honor donor heroes.
Jennifer also joined more than 100 members of her region’s organ transplant community as Team Philadelphia at the 2022 Donate Life Transplant Games this summer. The San Diego event, held every two years, brings together organ recipients, living donors, and donor families from all over the country. Events range from track and field and swimming, to corn-hole and ballroom dancing.
By participating in these physical competitions, Jennifer celebrates her health while reminding others about the importance of organ donation. “Check the box to be an organ donor,” she said. “You never know whose life you may save.”
Jennifer says that with every decision she makes, she wants to honor her donor and thank his family. She even had the opportunity to trade letters with the mother of her donor. “I do have a picture of him that I keep next to my desk at all times,” she said. “So, when I’m stressed out at work, I look at a picture of him and a picture of my niece, and they calm me down.”
Bookending her liver transplant, Jennifer’s physical health accomplishments showcase her as a women’s health champion. By promoting proactive health advocacy, she embodies this year’s National Women’s Health Week theme: “Women’s Health, Whole Health: Prevention, Care and Wellbeing.”