Hi, all. This is a real-life request.
One of my best friends and ski buddies needs help. His name is Dave Landes and he lives here in Jackson Hole. Dave suffers from a degenerative liver disease (he doesn't drink alcohol at all, in case you're wondering) and he needs a liver transplant. He's going through the process to be on the liver transplant list but that can take months or years and there is an alternative.
He's a good candidate for a "live donor transplant" which means that a healthy person steps forward to offer a portion of their own healthy liver so that Dave can have a replacement. That donor has to have a compatible blood type (Dave is A-positive), be in good health, and be under 55 years of age. That last requirement is the one that disqualifies me and other of his friends here - we're too old.
So, I'm asking if you could read Dave's message below. If you or anyone you know of might consider such a thing even slightly, there's contact info included.
I know this is a huge thing to ask but wonderful people do stuff like this every day. We're trying to spread this call for help as widely as we possibly can and EpicSki has a big reach.
Thanks for at least reading this. I'm including a few photos below of some of my skiing/adventures with Dave.
Dear Friends and Family
As you may know, I am spending my current time in Salt Lake City to be close to the University of Utah Medical Center. And I am writing this because I really need your help.
Years ago, 18 to be exact, I was diagnosed with compromised liver function, which has progressed to cirrhosis and now, End-Stage Liver Disease. Until last year this had not caused me to miss out on any of life’s challenges or wonders, but things tipped over the edge in 2015 and I am now faced with seeking a liver transplant in order to stay alive. The cirrhosis did not come from a typical cause: in my case it was characterized as cryptogenic, meaning unknown causes.
I have great family and friend support, although sadly, I no longer have Karen at my side. Nonetheless, I am very optimistic that this will turn out not only well for me physically, but it will be impactful to me and allow me to fulfill some yet, unfulfilled life purposes.
The typical path to receive a liver donation is filled with worry and consternation. Today, the demand to receive a liver is three times higher than the number of deceased liver donors. What this really means is, you wait until you are really, really sick and then you may be ready to get one, assuming a match is available. Not everyone makes it that far: some die before getting transplanted, while others often wait for 12-18 months.
I happen to be fortunate in that I am a good candidate for a living donor transplant.
Rather than go into what that means, please look at this video, prepared by the Cleveland Clinic and a man whom I got to know (the patient). I have met with the medical team at Cleveland Clinic, including the surgeon in the video, to discuss this in much greater detail. What I learned was hope inspiring.
I need to find one or more individuals who can help me perhaps save my life by becoming a living donor. To qualify, the donor must be under 55 years old, in general good health, and have a blood type compatible to mine – A+.
And so I am asking for your help in getting the word out.
The outcome, both for the donor and myself, is excellent. Within months, not only will I have a full and complete functioning liver, but I will be able to resume my full physical activities and to again, contribute and give back to the people in our community. A donor can expect to be back to full health and to resume a normal life even more quickly.
A donor will obviously be making a huge impact on my life. Not everyone will do this for purely altruistic reasons and I fully appreciate that. A donor may be concerned about lost wages during recovery and medical costs as two obvious concerns, but everyone has different needs and I feel an obligation as the beneficiary of the donor’s generosity, to help the donor in any way I can. And I look forward to discussing particular situations. As an aside, it is comforting to know that saving a life by being a living donor also frees up a deceased donor’s organ for those who are sick and waiting on the eligibility list.
My very good friend Dr. Tom Wilson has been a source of support and strength along the way, and he has offered to be my advocate to help me seek and find potential donor candidates.
Thank you for “listening.” I have thought long and hard about this letter and whether or not I should even send it. What I am asking of you is in so many ways beyond anything I could have ever imagined I would have to do in my lifetime. But, I know in my heart, that if the tables were reversed, I would be both honored and grateful to have someone close to me reach out in the same manner.
As with any medical procedure, there are risks. So, please, feel free to contact me or Tom (307-413-8032; firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or just want to talk about this further. The resources are available to discuss the implications of all this, and either of us can put you in touch with those professionals best able to answer your questions.