In 2010 my father was diagnosed with NASH, a common and often "silent" liver disease, caused most of the time by a fatty liver. Because the cirrhosis was advanced and his liver was too damaged to regenerate itself, his only options were a strict maintenance program and a liver transplant. After he was diagnosed, I set out to learn as much as I could about his disease and transplant options. However, what I found out through research and throughout his entire battle with this disease, was that liver and kidney transplants are not easy to come by. Because of the shortage of organs, and the rapid degeneration of health with cirrhosis, a lot of people die waiting for a healthy organ.
My father’s health with cirrhosis diminished rapidly. Towards the end we had to help him do almost everything. Hospital visits became weekly, he would easily become confused and disoriented, and his kidneys started failing because they were working overtime to compensate for his liver. Even as my dad got more and more sick, he never stopped smiling. He remained extremely positive throughout his entire battle and fought even on the days I know he felt like giving up. I truly believe his positive outlook is what helped him survive.
Then miraculously and suddenly September 5th at 11:30pm we received an unexpected call from Mayo Clinic, saying they had found a liver that matched my dad perfectly. After a biopsy was performed and the liver was cleared, they called him in to prep for surgery. After just 5 hours, his surgeon came out and told us that the surgery went as well as they could have expected. My father was now ready to start the recovery process. It is only two weeks post surgery after that whirlwind of events, but so far he is doing amazing.
I know that without the incredible person who made the choice to donate their organs, my father would have never survived. We will always be grateful to the hero and their family for choosing to give my father the gift of life.
So this is where we can help. If you live in Arizona, Natalie is doing the 20-in-12 Challenge, and is aiming to sign up 20 people to become organ donors through Donate Life AZ, which is a a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization for the state of Arizona. DNA saves and heals the lives of Arizonans through dedicated and passionate work to provide organs to save lives, tissue to heal lives and corneas to restore sight.
Facts from Donate Life AZ:To become a donor, simply email Natalie at Nataliedrobel@gmail.com and she can get you set up. And better yet, if you'd like to take the 20-in-12 Challenge yourself, you can do so at donatelifeaz.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a full packet with the sign up sheets, pens, and other materials needed.
- There are more than 112,000 men, women, and
children in the U.S. waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. More
than 21,00 of these individuals live in Arizona alone.
- Every 11 minutes another name is added to the national
waiting list, and each day 17 people die waiting for their organ
- One organ donor can save eight lives, and one organ and tissue donor can save and heal up to 50 lives!
- People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves
potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will
determine what organs and tissue can be donated.
- Organs and tissues that can be donated include: heart, kidneys, lungs,
pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone, and heart
This is an AZ program, but all states have something similar, so check online to find one near you!
Thank you guys so much for reading. I really wanted to share Natalie's story here and spread awareness. Feel free to share a link to this post on your blog to continue to spread the word!