My name is Garrett, I’m 33 and I’m a high school math teacher. I first got sick right before I was supposed to leave for college at 18 and had to stay home until I was finally diagnosed with UC and then a year later PSC (liver disease). After having my colon removed during college, I was finally healthy enough to finish and left Virginia Tech with a BS in Mathematics and a Masters in education!
I’ve been dealing with liver disease for the last 15 years. I try my best to live a normal healthy life, but recently had to give up coaching HS baseball because I couldn’t physically keep up with it or the kids.
After dealing with this for so long, I don’t remember what it’s like to feel truly healthy. I’ve gotten so used to feeling zapped of energy, that I can’t imagine how great it must feel to not be dragging all day.
I would love to start a family one day, but that has always come secondary to my health. Having something of this magnitude looming in my future makes certain ideas and wants seem impractical or unattainable. A new liver would give me a whole new lease on life and I could hopefully get back the things I’ve had to give up on.
The only cure for PSC is a transplant, and the most successful outcomes come from living donation. If you have any interest in finding out more information, you can confidentially respond and get more details! The best way for me to find someone willing to go through this with me is through networking, so any help in spreading my story would be so appreciated.
If you are considering being a living donor please use links below to contact Garrett Baltzer'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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