NASH and the Roller-Coaster of Emotions
Meet David Frank, ALF National Board Member, caregiver and passionate advocate. September 2014 will be forever etched in his memory, a roller-coaster of emotions in their most extreme form.
David said, “Just three-weeks before my mother went into the hospital, we were celebrating down at the Jersey Shore. You would have never known she was sick.” About a week later, David’s family noticed her eyes had jaundice and took her to see a specialist. She spent a few days in the hospital undergoing several tests and was ultimately released. David said, “shortly after her release from the hospital, she experienced an episode of Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE), a condition most often experienced by patients in end-stage liver disease.” David continued, “one morning, my dad found her wandering around the first floor of their home not knowing where she was. Dad called me and I rushed over to help him get her to the hospital for more tests.” Within 24-hours, biopsies showed David’s mom had end-stage NASH induced cirrhosis and her only chance at survival was a liver transplant. “We arranged for round-the-clock visits and planned on her return home. My sister even began the process to become her living liver donor but unfortunately, she passed away before we could even process the idea that she was sick.” Three-weeks after her passing, David and his wife found out they were expecting their first child.
THINK LIVER THINK LIFE
The rise in obesity and diabetes in the United States is fueling a life-threatening disease known as fatty liver disease, which affects an estimated 100 million people, many of whom are unaware they even have it. In its most severe form, fatty liver disease can progress to liver failure.
ALF’s nationwide, 5-year initiative, Think Liver Think Life aims to help prevent and detect liver disease earlier, affect better management and treatment of liver disease, reduce stigma associated with liver disease, address health inequalities, advance changes in federal policy and increase funding for research. The campaign launches in ten states this summer with diagnostic testing including liver panels, viral hepatitis antibody screening, and assessments to help identify NAFLD/NASH and liver cancer. It also includes a public awareness campaign, patient and provider education, and a resource and information center all kicking off in October 2022.
I HAD TO DO SOMETHING
David said, “I couldn’t continue to just read and learn about the disease that took my mom; I had to do something.” David became involved with ALF in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. He helped launch what is now the Greater New York Associate Board of Young Professionals in 2017 and joined ALF’s National Board of Directors in 2022. David’s focus on NASH as an emerging health threat led him to found NASH AWARE, a blog dedicated to raising awareness for the deadly disease. Each month the blog is read by hundreds of people from countries all over the world. He is a regular speaker at NASH conferences, International NASH Day and in ALF educational videos about NASH. David said, “If I can help just one person that would make it all worth-while.”
Join us in remembering David’s mother, Geraldine, and all those who have been affected by this silent and deadly disease. To learn more about NAFLD/NASH and how you can protect yourself, visit our website.
Last Updated on June 9, 2022
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