Sad news from Joel Engardio, director of the 2007 audience favorite Knocking. Seth Thomas, the young man in the film who received a transfusion-free liver transplant to remain true to his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, passed away on February 14. He was 30 years old.
Seth suffered from sclerosing cholangitis, a genetic disease that ravaged his liver. In 2004, Seth’s father donated part of his own liver to him, and their transplant surgery was risky and controversial because both men refused blood on religious grounds. Baylor Medical Center refused to perform the surgery, and father and son had to travel to a hospital in Los Angeles in order to save Seth’s life and still honor their beliefs.
Sadly, in the past year the disease recurred in Seth’s new liver, and doctors could not stop its progression. Seth died on Valentine’s Day of liver failure. He leaves his wife Nina and their 8-month-old son Seth Jr. Seth’s parents Ralph and Audrey and sister Jennifer, all featured in Knocking, also survive him. Seth’s wife Nina appeared in Knocking as his girlfriend. They were married in 2006, several months before the broadcast. Seth’s sister is a Jehovah’s Witness minister in Bulgaria with her husband Mike. They returned to Dallas a week before Seth’s death.