LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There’s a huge need for living organ donors nationwide. Right now, more than 2,000 patients in Michigan are waiting for organs.
That includes one family from west Michigan looking for a living donor for their father, who is dying.
“We won’t have him around next year if he doesn’t get a transplant,” said Colleen Byers.
“It’s definitely hard on us, and hard to see him go through the pain and confusion,” said Shannon Byers.
Their father, Scott, raised them alone after their mom passed 16 years ago. Now he’s suffering from hepatic cancer and if he gets sicker, he won’t be eligible to receive a transplant.
His family says watching him fight for his life has been really tough.
“Some days, our dad doesn’t even know who we are. And so it’s heartbreaking to watch him be in as much pain as he is in. And to suffer the way he’s suffering,” Colleen said.
More than 100,000 patients in the U.S. are waiting for organs. About 2,300 of them live in Michigan, and 172 are waiting for livers.
Officials at the Gift of Life Michigan say the list of living liver donors would likely be longer if people knew that a liver will regenerate the missing segment after part of it is removed. The donated segment will also regenerate into a full liver.
“I have not had a donor come back and tell me that they have regret to donation,” said Nurse Practitioner at Henry Ford Detroit Maria Zanini.
Zanini, cares for living donors following their procedures. She says giving can be rewarding.
But there are risks.
“But what is different is that these patients present willing to undergo a surgery they medically don’t need. So that level of complexity and that level of intent in wanting to come forward is very different than someone who is presenting because they need surgery,” said Zanini.
Shannon and Colleen’s dad is waiting for a donor at the University of Michigan transplant center in Ann Arbor.
They say he’s running out of time.
“This is an urgent situation. And we’re just begging a pleading for the public to either spread the word or for somebody to come forward and be our angel,” said Colleen.
“It would mean everything to see him get healthy,” said Shannon.
If you’d like to register to be an organ donor click here. If you’d like to help the Byers family, email email@example.com