Fischer Fund: Liver Transplant

Bridget Fischer is a vibrant 22 year-old with a passion for competitive west coast swing.  She is currently enrolled at the University of Vermont as an undergraduate and is working hard to complete her degree. Bridget has enjoyed many years, and much success, handling Dachshunds in the show ring starting at the age of ten. Bridget has also developed a keen interest in the music and art scenes.

Unfortunately, Bridget is in dire need of a liver transplant and has been an active patient of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for the past three years.  The past few years have been extremely difficult for Bridget and her condition has increasingly challenged her ability to do any of the activities that she loves. Instead, an extraordinary amount of Bridget’s time has been-and is being spent-in a variety of hospitals, in an effort to manage the symptoms of her degenerating liver. Despite her ongoing struggles, frustrations, and fears, Bridget continues to fight in order to stay healthy and maintain a positive attitude.  At this point in her life, Bridget’s liver has degenerated to the point where she will receive a live donor transplant on December 10, 2014- a few short months away. Sandy Fischer, Bridget’s mother, has been approved to be the living donor for Bridget’s transplant. This operation will impact both mother and daughter.

Bridget’s struggles are real and have impacted every second of her life. She deserves a healthier and more manageable state; one that will allow her to fully participate in all the activities she still holds dearly in her heart.  Bridget is hopeful that with the liver transplant in her near future, she can finally live a life in which she can fully pursue her dreams and goals!  

Bridget’s family is very grateful for all of the fortunes in their lives but the financial burden is beyond their capabilities. With both mother and daughter undergoing a transplant procedure, requiring medical care, transportation, as well as lodging in Minnesota for the recovery process, the costs are simply unmanageable.

This page has been set up onbehalf of Bridget and Sandy to help the Fischer family gather funds and resources to make this process a reality. Please consider making a donation in any amount to help offset costs for the Fischer family; every bit counts! Please help us spread the word; help save a life.

Thank you for hearing her story and for helping Bridget along the way toward the full life that she is ready to have.

Bridget’s Diagnosis:

Primary sclerosing cholangitis:

Primary sclerosing (skluh-ROHS-ing) cholangitis (koh-lan-JIE-tis) is a disease of the bile ducts, which carry the digestive liquid bile from your liver to your small intestine. In primary sclerosing cholangitis, inflammation causes scars within the bile ducts. These scars make the ducts hard and narrow and gradually cause serious liver damage.

In most people with primary sclerosing cholangitis, the disease progresses slowly and can lead to liver failure, repeated infections, and tumors of the bile duct or liver. Liver transplant is the only known cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis.

As a liver transplant is the only treatment known to cure primary sclerosing cholangitis, the number of people waiting for new livers is much larger than the number of available livers, so liver transplants are reserved for people who are critically ill. At this very moment, Bridget has been on the list for three years and is at that critical point. During the liver transplant, surgeons will remove Bridget’s liver and replace it with a healthy liver from a donor. In this case, Bridget’s liver will be replaced by a living donor liver; her mother, Sandy Fischer.

Living-donor transplants have good results, but fewer living transplants are performed because of restrictions on the donor's age, size and health that make finding a good match difficult. The surgery carries significant risks for the donor as well so in this case the live liver transplant will affect both mother and daughter.

Life after a liver transplant

After liver transplant, patients can expect to:

• Stay in the intensive care unit for a few days. Doctors and nurses will monitor the patient’s condition to watch for signs of complications. They'll also test liver function frequently for signs that the liver is working.

• Spend 1 to 2 weeks in the hospital. Once stable, patients are taken to a transplant recovery area to continue recuperating.

• Have frequent checkups as you continue recovering at home. The patient’s transplant team designs a checkup schedule for them and the patient may undergo blood tests a few times each week, at first, and then less often over time. Bridget will be a lifetime patient requiring return stays at the Mayo Clinic every three months at first, and eventually every six months.  

• Take medications for the rest of your life. The patient will take a number of medications after the liver transplant, many for the rest of their life. Drugs called immunosuppressants help keep the patient’s immune system from attacking the new liver.

Patients should expect six months to a year of recovery before they will feel fully healed after undergoing liver transplant surgery.

                 “My life has been long, and believing that
                 life loves the liver of it, I have dared to try
          many things, sometimes trembling, but daring still.”
                                         -Maya Angelou


Mayo Clinic

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Lynn Straughan Bessette 
Burlington, VT
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