Fayette County woman battles end-stage liver disease, looking for donors

West Virginia

LOOKOUT, WV (WVNS)– The Miller family hoped 2020 would be filled with adventures and happiness but received news they never expected in January. That’s when Jean Miller’s 37 -year-old daughter Ashley was diagnosed with end-stage liver failure.

“She’s been very sick ever since,” Jean said. “In the hospital nine times with multiple surgeries and in a coma and near death.”

Ashley was evaluated by doctors in and out of state, with her most recent stay at a hospital in Pennsylvania. Jean said her daughter’s life-threatening disease is difficult to deal with already, but the COVID-19 pandemic makes it even harder to physically be by her Ashley’s side.

“It has impacted it in the fact that when she was in a coma I couldn’t even be with her,” Jean said. “During all these months she is going through this alone. I couldn’t visit couldn’t be there and it’s been horrible because I felt like she needed me to be there.”

Jean said there are more than 14,000 people on the National Liver Waiting List and only about 5,000 receive a transplant every year. No one in Ashley’s family was a match and now they are calling on strangers who could be, as doctors say Ashley’s best chance to live is by finding a living donor.

“It is it’s a lot to ask a huge thing to ask,” Jean said. “And I’m just asking you know if anybody feels compelled to do that to get in touch with me and see if they could be a potential donor.”

Typically, 50-60% of the liver is removed from a donor and transplanted to replace the unhealthy liver in the recipient. The liver regenerates or grows back to its full size in the donor and recipient in about eight to 12 weeks. Success rates are usually better with a living donor than with a deceased donor.

If blood types are incompatible, paired exchange may be an option. Donors must be between 18-years-old to 55-years-old, generally healthy, have a healthy weight (BMI of 30 or less),and be a non-smoker 30 days prior to surgery.

If you are interested in becoming a living donor, you can contact Jean Caldwell Miller via Facebook, email at jeanmiller@frontier.com, or call her at 304-228-4293.

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