When we met with Megan Compton she was wearing her “favorite shirt,” one with a yellow sunflower and writing that said “Create your own sunshine.” After speaking with her and hearing her story, it would be hard to find someone else who personifies those words better than Megan. She is lively and friendly and so genuinely sweet. Despite all that, the first word that Megan used to describe herself was strong. The last few years have put that strength to the test.

The Doorways Guest Megan Featured Image

A Tough Diagnosis

It all started when Megan was 16. That’s when doctors discovered that she had cirrhosis of the liver due to auto-immune hepatitis. She was put on the organ transplant list and the waiting began. Four years later and Megan’s symptoms began to get worse. She had developed an infection and was experiencing leg pain that made it difficult for her to walk. Her local hospital referred her to VCU Health and Megan and her mother made the 7-hour trip to Richmond. Needless to say, this was a stressful and anxious time for them.

On February 13th, 2020 Megan got the good news that a liver was finally available. This was just weeks before the spread of COVID-19 caused hospitals around the world to cancel or postpone surgeries. In other words, Megan got in just in time.

COVID-19 made leaving home to live in a city scary for Megan and her family. They didn’t know what to expect when they got to Richmond, where they would be able to stay for the many weeks that Megan would need to be near the hospital, or how they would take care of their basic needs, like food.

Finding a Community

What they ended up finding was The Doorways and a community that, along with her faith, has helped see Megan through this tough time.

Megan made friends throughout the house, from our Front Desk staff to the others staying on our transplant specific floor. Seeing other people progress through their transplant recovery gave her hope and motivation to get through her own. Together, they shared stories, words of encouragement, and the best community builder out there – food. Megan happily recalled a time when she and another guest came together to prepare a delicious dinner of barbeque ribs for their friends at The Doorways. In fact, the kitchen came to be one of her favorite spots.

To Megan, The Doorways is “a little piece of home away from home.” So much so that she often found herself referring to The Doorways as home to her friends and family and she began having to clarify whether she meant “The Doorways or actual home.”

Despite our “home” looking a little different these days, it still provided Megan with exactly what she needed: a safe environment full of caring and generous individuals that support each other even in the toughest of times. We are honored to have been part of Megan’s journey and to have received some of her sunshine.