A living liver donation

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Local Voices

Wendy Sanders

My only child Adrian is 21 years old. He has always been shy, humble, and a respectable individual. He loves working, spending time with his friends, and just enjoying life.

During his middle school years, he participated in band, martial arts, and acting. Upon graduating from Thornton Fractional High School in 2017, Adrian joined the Army Reserves, committing himself to six years. Adrian also enrolled in junior college courses and a technical program which he completed. He obtained employment with the gas company and has been acknowledged for his superb customer service skills.

Adrian was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), a rare autoimmune condition that damages the bile ducts in and outside of the liver. PSC causes bile ducts to become inflamed, and the inflammation leads to scarring and narrowing of the affected ducts. As the scarring blocks more and more ducts, bile becomes trapped in the liver. This damages the liver and can result in fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver and liver failure. Patients may eventually require a liver transplant.

More than 120,000 individuals are awaiting a transplant. More than 14,000 are awaiting a liver transplant, and the need continues to grow.

Adrian is in need of a liver transplant soon. The wait list to receive a transplant from a deceased donor is long. But receiving a transplant from a living donor can happen much sooner. A living donor can be a family member, a friend, or anyone who is healthy and volunteers to donate.

In living donor liver transplantation, a piece of liver is removed from a living donor and transplanted into a recipient. If you donate part of your liver through a Transplant Program, both the transplanted piece and the piece that remains will grow to pre-surgery size. The donor liver usually regenerates to its original size in 30 days, on average.

The liver’s unique ability to regenerate itself, combined with the expertise of physicians and staff, allows for more people with liver failure to obtain a liver transplant.

Living donor liver transplantation offers immediate organ availability. Patients who receive transplants from living donors can better prepare for their surgery, knowing well in advance when the transplant will take place.

Living donors will need to have a series of tests to ensure they meet the criteria for living donation. Blood tests, family history, and medical tests are preformed to ensure it is safe for the individual to donate.

To meet living donor criteria, an individual must be:

  • Physically fit and in good general health

  • 18-55 years of age

  • Blood type-compatible with the recipient

  • Willing to donate

  • Free from uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and heart disease

Spouses, friends, and people unrelated to the recipient can become living donors.

The living donor would be covered by Adrian’s insurance for all costs related to the transplant. Donors are generally back to normal within 6-8 weeks.

People who are interested in learning more about living donation or being evaluated as a potential donor can get more information directly from the University of Chicago Medicine Living Liver Donor Coordinator:

I pray that someone finds it in their heart and consider being a living liver donor for my son Adrian.

Wendy Sanders


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