Tina VanBreugel needs the gift of life. She hopes that someone out there will be a match!
Tina’s best hope is finding a living donor.
Tina has cirrhosis of the liver. When initially diagnosed, she was given 6 to 12 months. That was two years ago. She credits her family with helping her to keep a positive attitude. Tina has three children, ages 16, 17, and 30, a grandchild, and another grandbaby expected in October.
Tina worked at Dundas Manor for many years, then ran her own home daycare. She had to shut the daycare down when she got sick.
She now lives with her parents in Winchester. Her older daughter lives and works in Ottawa, and her younger two children now live nearby with their dad.
They visit her every day.
Tina makes the trek to Ottawa every week for a paracentesis, where they drain up to 8 liters of fluid from her abdomen, and regular blood transfusions. She does not currently drive, so relies on her parents to drive her to Ottawa weekly.
Her energy is gone, her joints ache and seize, she relies on a wheelchair or walker, and she has lost half her body weight. She takes a multitude of medications and vitamins, she has no appetite, and must avoid all salt.
In a living donation, a portion of the donor’s liver is transplanted into the patient. The donor’s liver regrows within 6 to 8 weeks. Similarly, the donated portion grows to full size in the recipient.
Transplants are done in Toronto, but initial tests to see if you qualify as a donor can be done closer to home. The transplant process is intended to be as stress-free on the donor as possible. Tests, such as blood tests, ultrasounds, and CT scans are not invasive.
If you decide to go ahead to see if you are eligible to be a donor, there is no obligation! You can change your mind at any time. Do not let that stop you from reaching out to the transplant clinic and finding out if you’re eligible!
Donors must have a compatible blood type, and be similar in height, weight, and build. Donors can be 16 to 60. Tina’s blood type is A+, so blood types A+/- and O+/- are compatible.
Visit the University Health Network website to read more about how to become a living donor. Or call 416-340-4800 extension 6581.
Or email [email protected] uhn.ca/Transplant/Living_Donor_Program/Pages/living_liver_donor.aspx
Currently there are over 1600 people in Ontario waiting for an organ transplant to save their life. Every three days someone dies waiting for an organ. Please sign your donor card and register to donate.
Go to: beadonor.ca. In Ontario, 90% of people support organ donation, yet only a staggering 35% are registered.