‘What a difference a year makes’: Catching up with liver brothers Brent and Malambo

Liver Transplant recipients - Brent and Malambo
Brent and Malambo

We are honored U.S. News & World Report has named Boston Children’s Hospital the #1 pediatric hospital in the U.S. As we celebrate this honor, we’re reflecting on some of the greatest children’s stories ever told — stories of the patients and families whose lives touch ours and inspire us.

Two of those patients are “liver brothers” Malambo Mazoka-Tyler and Brent Groder.

Malambo and Brent are, by all standards, oceans apart.

Zambian-born Malambo is nearly two. His world, one year after a life-saving, split-liver transplant, is all about walking and talking, laughing and dancing and figuring out why the sky is blue and why cows moo — a typical toddler.

Liver transplant recipient Malambo

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Brent from Maine is figuring out where to go from here. Like Malambo, “here” is one year post-liver transplant. He still has cystic fibrosis. He still has poor kidney function. Yet, he tells his mom he feels healthy for the first time in a long time. He’s making plans. He’s going back to school, getting his driver’s license. In October, he will go on his first vacation, ever, to see the Grand Canyon and visit with a cousin in Arizona, whom he’s never met.

Liver Transplant recipient Brent

Remarkably, Malambo and Brent have more in common than it would seem. Last June, they had what’s called a split-liver transplant — meaning they each received a portion of the same liver.

“What a difference a year makes!” says Brent’s mom Charlene Newhall. “One year ago, a life was lost, so my son could live. One year ago, we rejoiced with the Mazoka-Tyler family, as we bonded through the night knowing what a special gift our boys were sharing.”

“We are thankful for having gone through this journey — as hard as it was,” says Malambo’s mom Pasina Mazoka-Tyler. “It has taught us to believe in big and small miracles, to truly appreciate that there is strength in prayer, and that family and friends do indeed come to your aid in your greatest time of need.”

Learn about Malambo and Brent’s journey, and read more of the greatest children’s stories ever told.