The true story of how one couple defied all odds and found the gift of life
Barbara Zitwer, a successful international literary agent, film and TV producer from New York City, has written her first two books. Both books have strong ties to Kansas City and The University of Kansas Hospital.
One is a fictional romance novel called “The J.M. Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society”, which she wrote while sitting in Kansas City as her husband Gil Alicea underwent a liver transplant to save his life. The second book, titled “Still Livin’: The True Story of How One Couple Defied All Odds and Found the Gift of Life,” tells their life story from the glamorous publishing and theater worlds of New York City to a prison called the House of Pain. Just when they had overcome every adversity they thought imaginable, Gil was diagnosed with liver cancer and given three months to live.
An excerpt from the book shares the joy Barbara felt when the Medical Director of Liver Transplantation, Dr. Richard Gilroy called her.
“… Dr. Gilroy called as he promised, ‘Mate, we’re on. The scan is good,’ he told Gil. We had been used to people not returning our phone calls on time, if ever. I had learned that is par for the course. When it comes to getting information or seeking advice or test results, it is usually up to me or Gil to call numerous times and to bug a doctor’s office for information. No one calls when they say they will. But Dr. Gilroy did. Dr. Gilroy would present Gil as a candidate for the transplant list at the next weekly transplant meeting …”
Barbara has pledged half the proceeds from the sale of her book to the liver transplant program at The University of Kansas Hospital to help others needing a transplant.
Gil Alicea with The University of Kansas Hospital staff.
Gil Alicea and his transplant team.