My name is Ryan. I'm 37 and live in Portland, CT with my wife and our four incredible kids. I enjoy watching sports and listening to music. But, my biggest passion is my kids; they are the light of my life. My boys, Cassius (Cash) and Sullivan (Sully) are leap day babies and will be 10 soon. I love hanging out and watching tv with them, or throwing the football around outside. Billie, our 7 year old, loves to give me makeovers and is constantly reteaching me how to live in the moment and experience all the joy that life has to offer. Then there's Lennon; our Little Lenny LouLou. She will be 2 soon and has completely stolen all of our hearts. She likes any activity that involves movement, but her all time favorite is when I chase her around the house. Some of my other favorite things to do with the kids are cooking and baking, playing video games, going on family nature walks, checking out the occasional Wesleyan Hockey, or Basketball, game, and exploring new museums together. Really, we just love building memories together.
In high school I had to have an emergency surgery to remove my large intestine and colon due to extensive damage from Ulcerative Colitis. After they removed the diseased organs, I underwent two more surgeries to place, and connect, a J-Pouch (basically, a man-made colon).
Then, about 15 years ago, I was referred to Yale's Liver Center when my GI doctor noticed that my liver levels were higher than they should be. It wasn't long before my liver doctor diagnosed me with a chronic disease named Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. He explained to me that it's a rare disease that mainly effects young and middle-aged males and that 80% of PSC cases also have Irritable Bowel Disease. He offered suggestions for how to alter my lifestyle to prolong my liver's health, but informed me that PSC patients typically only live for 10-15 years before needing a transplant.
Under the care of the team at Yale, I've maintained my liver's health for the past 15 years. As predicted, though, my liver has reached its limit and is beginning to fail me. With that comes a variety of side effects that make my day-to-day life fairly uncomfortable.
Over the last two years, I've lost about 15 pounds, which has directly affected my overall strength. My energy level has decreased significantly and my sleeping patterns are a mess. I struggle to keep up with the kids, and life, in general. Even emptying the dishwasher can seem like a monumental task some days. All of these things contribute to a drastic change in my mood. I used to be able to let things roll off my back, but now it seems that every little thing gets under my skin.
Receiving a transplant would allow me to be there for all of life's big moments. With four kids, I have plenty of those to look forward to. It would lift the dark cloud that's been following me around the last few years. Before my health really started to decline, the thought of not being around for my kids graduations and weddings never really crossed my mind. Now I wonder if I'll even make it to their next birthday. Receiving a new liver would bring back the husband and father that my wife and kids once knew.
The reality is that the best chance I have at survival is with a living donor. In order for that to happen, I need everyone I know to share my story with everyone they know. The more exposure it gets, the more likely it is that donors will step up and apply, and the chances of me (or even someone else) finding a match multiply. It may seem like that's not enough, but I guarantee that just sharing my story has an enormous impact. Lastly, I cannot begin to express my gratitude to those who have already applied, those who have started sharing my story, and those who have reached out in support. You all mean so much to me, Stef and the kids and we are extremely grateful to be surrounded by so much love.
If you are considering being a living donor please use links below to contact Ryan Donohue's Transplant Center. Begin by completing the donor questionnaire
Liver transplantation has been a successful treatment and standard of care for end-stage liver disease since the early 1980s.
Technical advancements in liver surgery, as well as the liver's tremendous ability to regenerate, have made living donor liver transplantation a life-saving reality.
There are currently 120,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. Of these, 15,000 await liver transplants.
Although more than 6,000 liver transplants were performed last year, over 1,700 patients died while waiting on the list.
Deceased donor livers are allocated to patients based on how sick they are, determined by their MELD score, where sicker patients receive priority.
Living donation offers patients the option of transplant before they get very sick--regardless of MELD score--significantly decreasing the time they wait for a liver.
Living donation not only saves the life of the recipient; it also frees up a liver for a patient on the waiting list who does not have that option.
The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) and Pediatric End-Stage Liver Disease (PELD) are numerical, objective scales that allocate available livers to the sickest patients. Patients move up the list as their scores increase.
The first living donor liver transplant took place in 1988. Since then, living donors have continued giving the gift of life and making a difference.
When a recipient has a living donor, the wait time for transplant is shorter and the transplant can be scheduled in advanced when the recipient is in good health and when it is convenient for both the donor and the recipient.
Financial burdens shouldn’t prevent the gift of life. The National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) can offer financial support for living donor travel expenses.
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