Search is on for Living DonorJun 24, 2021 ● By Lisa Sciortino
Time is of the essence for George Chase.
In September 2014, the Carrollton resident was diagnosed with Stage IV liver disease caused by an inherited blood disorder called hereditary hemochromatosis.
Today, the 72-year-old grandfather of nine is in desperate need of a new liver. His best chance of getting one is from a living donor, for which his family is currently searching.
When he received his diagnosis, Mr. Chase had recently retired from a decades-long career as a territory sales manager for an HVAC system manufacturer. He was so ill at the time that doctors were concerned he would not survive transplant surgery with a cadaver liver. Instead, he was placed on a combination of medications that kept his liver functioning for several years. With his condition stabilized, he was removed from the transplant list.
About eight months ago, however, Mr. Chase’s health “started to go south again,” according to his wife, Vicki Chase. The medications he was prescribed are no longer working.
“With liver disease, you don’t have a lot of ways to get rid of the toxins” in the body, she explains. Her once-active husband now battles malnutrition, low energy and other symptoms related to the disease. Still, he fights on. “I’ve never seen such a warrior.”
With the list of transplant patients waiting to receive a cadaver liver being “miles long,” Mrs. Chase says the fear is that her beloved spouse of 35 years may not live long enough to receive one. They hope instead that a healthy living donor can be located through the website livingdonordallas.org.
To qualify as a living liver donor, individuals must be younger than age 55, in good health physically and psychologically and be willing and able to submit to a variety of medical tests prior to surgery. During the operation, a portion of the donor’s liver (which is the only visceral organ with the capacity to regenerate) is removed and transplanted into the patient. Typically, a lengthy recovery process follows.
The Chases’ health insurance will cover the costs associated with the transplant surgery. Mrs. Chase encourages anyone who may be interested in learning how to become a donor to visit livingdonordallas.org and learn more about the transplant process. Potential donors must specify George Chase as the recipient.
“If anyone is out there, we just want the word spread,” she says. “We don’t know who that person is that reads this and can help and wants to help.”Mrs. Chase adds that her husband wants nothing more than to watch the couple’s grandchildren grow up. “He wants to live for those grandkids.”