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Living with the uncertainty of waiting for an organ donation is excruciating for patients and their loved ones. Perry Zimel is spreading the word about a program with the help of helping her sister, and others enduring a similar wait, find a match.

Perry Zimel’s sister Mona suffers from Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) an autoimmune disease of the liver. It’s a slow, progressive destruction of the small bile ducts of the liver, causing bile and other toxins to build up in the liver. Mona is on a transplant list and is waiting for a living organ donation through the Toronto General Hospital’s Living Donor Program. Perry is trying to raise awareness and dispel some myths about living donation, which is a viable and safe option.

A ‘living donation’ happens when a person who is alive gives either a kidney or a part of their liver to someone with kidney or liver disease. A living kidney or liver donor could be a family member or a stranger-you don’t have to be related. Here’s how it works: You have to be tested to see if you are a viable donor. A donor’s blood type has to be compatible with the recipient. Due to the high cost there is only a limited amount of donors that can be tested by the program every day, which slows down the process for finding a viable match.

The liver regenerates itself. As little as 25 per cent of the original liver mass can regenerate back to its full size. Because of this, it is the only organ you can donate more than once in your lifetime. There aren’t any side effects to donating part of your liver and recovery time is 6-8 weeks after surgery, depending on the type of job that you have. The program has never lost a donor.

Mona is the rarest blood type, AB. This isn’t good if she was waiting for a deceased donor’s liver, but she can take any blood type from a living donor.

You can find out more information by visiting this website and watch the video clip above for our sit-down with Perry. You can also email liver4mona@gmail.com.