David's Search For Hope

My name is David Ray and I’m 33yrs old and I live in Connecticut. I’m currently fighting end stage liver disease and I need your help and support. Please read below for my detailed story:

I work full time and I’m attending an online university full time. I have a beautiful wife and two amazing young boys 9 and 11. My life has had its ups and downs but the hardest down I had was when I lost my father. My father died in a tragic motorcycle accident with me being one of the first ones on the scene. My father was my hero! We worked together and my family lived across the street from my parents. I couldn’t wait for the moment for him to see my kids born because he loved kids so much. The part I haven’t mentioned yet was that he died two weeks before my oldest son was born. We had my first son and it was such an amazing day and life changing experience. We named him after my father so he could proudly know where his name came from. I think becoming a husband to an amazing wife was incredible but nothing can compare to the feeling of becoming a father. We then decided to have a second child after a short amount of time. My father’s passing still had a huge effect on my life and I gained a tremendous amount of weight and wasn’t healthy.  My second son was born at 29 weeks at 2lbs 15.5ozs. I remember crying because he had darker hair and looked like me. We had to move our lives around as he spent over a month in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). We lived the next seven years raising our family and enjoying every minute of it. I didn’t think much about my weight or health during this time. I was diagnosed with a fatty liver and my weight became out of control when I hit 352 pounds. I started going to the doctors in 2016 to figure out why I felt so tired and not well all the time. I went to numerous doctors until I found that I had liver cirrhosis. It was devastating! How did I let myself get here is the only thought I had. My biggest fear is leaving my wife and kids because I know how difficult it could be for them. I went through it and how could I possibly let them experience what that feels like. I want to be the role model they need and their hero like my father was to me when I was young. I want to see them get married and have kids. I want to be the grandfather who spoils his grandkids. I continued going to doctors, I was then told one of the ways I could help myself was losing weight. I decided the next day at 352 pounds that I was going to make every effort to lose weight. I started eating a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. I then started walking and hiking. My family loved seeing me active and enjoying myself. I would bring one of my sons for a morning walk on the weekends and we would talk for a few hours as we would walk six to seven miles. I’ve lost 120 pounds and I feel much healthier and I no longer have high blood pressure or high cholesterol yet I still have cirrhosis. I started going to Yale during my weight loss. I found out that I needed a liver transplant. They started testing me to be on the UNOS list because my MELD (Model end stage liver disease – a score that rates your severity) was high. I got through all the testing and found out I was just under the MELD score to be on the list. I could continue to live life but had to be at the hospital quite often for checkups. I went for one of my check ups and found out that I had more complications associated with the cirrhosis that affected my body. It was bad enough that I’m now on the UNOS list and now need a liver transplant. I’m in search of a living liver donor. We have a liver shortage especially in Connecticut. I’m on the waiting list but I’m not expected to get a liver anytime in the near future unless I become sicker. It’s so bad that one out of five will die before the receive a liver transplant. The waitlist is 900+ and growing. I’ve had two recent hospital stays with one of them being on our family vacation for the first time to Florida.  My cure (MY HOPE) is that one person who will step up to become a living liver donor. MY HOPE is to become the father who will see his sons get married and be the grandfather that gets to spoil his grandchildren. MY HOPE is to grow old with my wife and be the husband she needs every day of her life. MY HOPE while your reading this is that you might find it in your heart to donate and spread the word to make this happen. 

Proceeds will go to the donors family and my wife and kids to help support them during the eights weeks of missing work for recovery time. (If their are any complications the 8 weeks can extend) It will also go to medical expenses that we have and will incur.  If we need to go out of the state if the donor can’t come to us it will significantly increase our costs.

The biggest question I get asked is How long do you have to live?
It’s a hard question to answer because it could be years or months. It’s not like a roller coaster where I'm gradually becoming sicker (going up) and then just crash (going down) and know a projected number of days to live. It’s an up and down battle. Today I'm feeling great and tomorrow I could be in the hospital. I've been admitted three times in the past three months.  It’s the reason we are so urgently pushing to find a living donor and to raise the money. We want to have the funds available so when (not if : > ) we find a living donor or I become too sick to work we are ready to overcome the obstacle.

The second question I get asked is Who can donate or how can I help?
The website and Facebook page has all the detailed information.  Living donor basic requirements: A or O blood type and be overall healthy.  The other ways you can help is to donate here, attend our benefit dinner and share, share, share.

Please visit www.davidssearchforhope.com for more information and how to become a living liver donor.

We also have a Facebook page "David's Search For Hope" which has our latest updates and contact info plus our WFSB news story.


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David Ray 
Terryville, CT
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