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Melia's Liver Transplant

$21,011 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 209 people in 6 months
Hi, I'm Melia. I'm from San Clemente, CA (SCHS Class of '13), but now live in Boston, MA, where I work as a menu specialist at ezCater. I graduated Yale University in 2017 with a degree in History of Science, Medicine & Public Health, and I hope to pursue a Master's in Nursing degree in the next few years. I love dancing, baking, running, looking at photos of dogs, and eating chicken nuggets.

Back in 2013, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic liver disease called Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis Type 3 (more info here ). Basically, my body lacks a protein that helps secrete bile. The resulting bile buildup leads to problems like liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension (and, in my experience, recurrent esophageal bleeding), and other symptoms associated with chronic liver disease. Unfortunately, the rareness of PFIC 3 means that there isn't much data on long-term effects of possible treatment, so my doctors concluded that a liver transplant is my only option for long-term treatment. 

We've been looking for a living donor since last November - dozens of people have called the transplant center, several began undergoing testing, and some have gone through the comprehensive 2-day work-up in New Haven. A variety of factors, not just medical, play into the transplant team's decision on who is a "perfect match." I was so, so happy when I got the call last Monday with good news!

I made this campaign to raise funds for my upcoming liver transplant (December 6th!!) and the costs associated with pre- and post-op care. My family mostly lives in California, as does my donor (please consider donating to her fundraising page here  - she is quite literally saving my life!). I'll be cared for by the awesome liver transplant team at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT, where I will also have to stay for at least a month and a half. 

As one would imagine, the costs associated with medical bills, medicine, travel, lost wages, and living expenses related to post-op me will quickly add up. We estimate that the cost of the whole process will be around $20,000. 

Here's a further look into what $20,000 will look like:

- $1,000-$2,000 is for 2018 pharmacy medications (fortunately only a couple weeks between December 6th and January 1st).

- $1,600 is for the 2018 insurance deductible.

- $8,200 is for the 2019 pharmacy deductible (I didn't know that pharmacy and insurance deductibles were separate, either!). Since this will all be happening around New Year's, all the insurance deductibles will reset. Post-op liver transplant medications average $5,000-$7,000 per month for at least the first three months. 

- $2,500 is for the 2019 insurance deductible. 

- $6,500 is for wage loss (no short-term disability) and rental car expenses for my follow-up appointments in New Haven. 

- Anything extra will help with my family's travel (from California) and their hotel and living expenses related to their stay(s) in New Haven.

Those who know me well would probably say that I wouldn't ask for anything unless I really thought I needed it. Honestly, I don't feel entirely comfortable setting up this campaign, but I recognize that any extra funds would help my family and me tremendously. Like many other 23-year-olds, I'm paying off college loans, rent in Boston, and am planning to go to graduate school - I simply don't have an extra $20K to fund my transplant by myself. However, if you're deciding between donating to my donor or me, I'd rather you donate to my donor . Without her selflessness and courage, my liver transplant wouldn't even be possible. 

My family and I have truly felt your kind thoughts and words over the past several years, especially in the last few months. We appreciate your continuous support and any willingness to help!
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Hello, everyone!

We’ve been updating social media, but I thought I’d post an update here as well. The surgery was successful, and both Elizabeth and I are recovering well! We’re now 15 days post-op - Elizabeth is on her way home to California today and I’ll be hanging out in New Haven for the next month or so. My family has been posting updates on CaringBridge ( https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/meliabernal/journal), so feel free to check that out if you’d like! Thank you for your continuous support - we feel the love!

Here’s a photo of Elizabeth and me, taken this morning.
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I can't believe that my donor and I have both raised over half of our campaign goals! I can't express my gratitude enough - thank you for your contributions, empathy, and support. You're truly helping make all of this possible. T-minus 33 days!
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Hi everyone!

I'm happy to share that I'm scheduled to get a new liver on December 6th! I've provided more info on what's going on in the link below. As you can probably imagine, it's going to be quite an expensive process, so I've created a campaign to (hopefully) help a little with all the costs. Please also consider donating to my donor ( http://give.transplants.org/site/TR/NFTPatientsandLivingDonor/General?px=1035012&pg=personal&fr_id=1040) who is making all of this possible!

I appreciate your support and will keep this page updated with how I'm doing!
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$21,011 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 209 people in 6 months
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