“My mother has a rare liver disease.” It’s not the usual thing to say, when boy meets girl, but Brett saw from the beginning Sara’s warm-hearted nature. As the relationship grew closer, he wanted her to know all about his family. It’s even more unusual when the girl replies, “My mother has a rare liver disease too,” and stranger still, when it turns out to be the same disease, auto-immune primary biliary cholangitis – an unpleasant affliction that can cause a range of problems, including depressing lethargy, itching, joint pains and memory loss – and in the end complete liver failure.
The mothers of the young lovers, Jo-Anne D’Adessio and Maureen Carter, soon found they had a lot in common, too: both were schoolteachers, both had the same doctor, David Wolf MD, medical director of liver transplantation at Westchester Medical Center, New York, and the same birthday.
“We feel we have a deeper connection,” Jo-Anne says. No surprise then that they formed a team called Liver Sisters for Greater New York’s Liver Life Walk.
Maureen had a liver transplant in 2015, her recovery has been ‘fabulous,’ and she will go back to teaching at a kindergarten. Jo-Anne is not ready for a transplant yet and, with her well-developed resilience, hopes the disease will not continue to the point of needing one.
Meanwhile, she and Maureen volunteer for ALF whenever possible, to make the dreams of the long line of patients on the waiting list more likely to come true.
And, oh yes, Sara and Brett were married on July 4.
Written by Reg Green (www.nicholasgreen.org.)
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