THREE WORDS. ONE OPTION.
In February 2012, Don heard those three words everyone dreads, “You have cancer.” Don was diagnosed with liver cancer and given one option for survival – a liver transplant. Don said, “I went through every emotion – sadness, anger, confusion and as the days passed, I just became sicker and more disoriented waiting for that lifesaving phone call.”
On October 12, 2012, Don received that phone call – a liver was waiting for him. The timing of this call couldn’t be better – Don’s medical team didn’t think he would survive much longer. Don said, “after many hours, my doctor told my family the surgery was complete but it’d be a long road to recovery.”
AND A LONG ROAD IT WAS
While most patients spend five days in the hospital post-transplant, Don spent 18. Several complications led to additional surgeries and several days in the Intensive Care Unit on a ventilator. To top it all off, he was also allergic to the anti-rejection medication. Don remembers, “I have never been more thankful than when I was finally released to go home.”
GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
“Life leads us down many paths,” Don said. “I didn’t choose this path but I thank my organ donor every day for choosing theirs. I feel blessed that someone chose this selfless act and has given me new purpose in life.” Don now devotes his time to giving back to the community through educating the public on the importance of liver health and organ donation. Additionally, Don leads a monthly liver transplant support group for those who are both on the transplant wait list or are already on their post-transplant journey. Don and his group are so dedicated to one another that even COVID couldn’t stop them! They transitioned to Zoom meetings and have continued to meet regularly the last two years. Don said, “I try to spread the word about liver disease and the American Liver Foundation’s resources. I am honored to be an ALF advocate and volunteer.”
WAYS YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
This week is Volunteer Appreciation Week and we just wanted to say (in your words!) “Thanks for being our professional volunteer!” Your support and dedication to ALF and the liver community is vital. While you may not have chosen this path, we’re sure glad you blazed the trail.
Last Updated on April 20, 2022
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