One Family: Two Diseased Livers ~ Living a Life of Uncertainty
(One Transplant Pending; One Successful Transplant Complete)
From Kris’ s sisters: (Kim, Karen, and Kori) and to all who know and love Gary - (Gary is our brother-in-law – our sister’s husband).
It is with a prayerful and empathetic heart that we post a GoFundMe page for Gary Anderson.
This is a story of one family enduring the hardships of having two separate family members in the same household requiring a liver transplant. Currently, Gary desperately needs a liver transplant. In 2008, Kris and Gary’s daughter, Halley, received a lifesaving liver transplant.
On September 23, 2015, Gary found out that he was in liver failure although seemingly healthy the day before. He was rushed to the ER, where after numerous tests the doctor said, "You may be experiencing a life ending event and may not survive the night.” He was diagnosed with Stage 4 (end stage) Liver Failure and endured so many more tests. In March of 2016, he was placed on the transplant list for a new liver where he continues to wait and hope. He has survived Acute Hepatitis, Three Esophageal Varices Procedures (enlarged veins in the esophagus that require surgery to clamp), Sepsis in his heart, Sepsis in his brain (sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by your body's response to an infection), and many other conditions too numerous to mention. In spite of his continual medical circumstances, Gary has a good attitude. In September of 2016, he said, “The past year has taught me to enjoy life's little blessings whether it being a sunny day or a cloudy day and that tomorrow is never guaranteed. So enjoy life.”
April 18, 2017 was a deflating day for Gary and Kris as they had spent two full days at the U of M talking with transplant coordinator, transplant surgeon, hematologist specialist, Social Worker, and then he had an echo stress test and another series of Hepatitis shots. He also met with his cardiologist, lung specialist, and other specialists. The bottom line was that as sick as he is, he was told not to expect a deceased donor liver transplant anytime soon. His MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) score is 22, and there are people higher on the list with numbers in the 30's that are also waiting for a transplant. Gary is one of the 3,200 people in MN waiting for a life saving organ transplant. The U of M currently has 200 people waiting for a deceased liver, and the Mayo has about 300 currently (these are the only hospitals that do liver transplants in MN). Gary’s best bet for a transplant in the near future is from a LIVING DONOR. The best match for a Living Donor would be a male ages 20-49, in good health, blood type A or O. See additional criteria in the link below from the U of M:
Unfortunately, Gary is unable to focus solely on staying alive and remaining healthy enough to receive a liver transplant should one become available, but Gary and Kris are facing an uphill battle dealing with a financial crisis, including insurance issues and lost wages, which in turn are causing great financial hardship and strain.
An outline of events contributing to their current situation is as follows:
1. Loss of FT employment for Gary;
2. Loss of FT employment for Kris due to the dissolution of of the company. She recently left a PT position due to excessive absences that were necessary as Gary’s caregiver. [Although she currently is a Brooklyn Center City Council Member, which is a paid position of $9,000 annually];
3. Extended hospital stays (approx. 8) of at least one week in duration (some while uninsured); Insurmountable medical bills for dr. appointments, tests, scans, and consultations including those to specialists at HCMC and the U of M. Currently, their medical bills have reached over $75,000.00, which doesn’t take into account travel costs going to and from appointments or lost wages from a previous two-income household.
It is and has been so devastating for them dealing with all these concerns during Gary’s medical crisis, that other household bills have gone unpaid. Please pray for a light at the end of their tunnel.
If you would like to donate directly to them and not on the GoFundMe, send your donation directly to: Bremer Bank, c/o “Gary R. Anderson Medical Fund” at 5540 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Center, MN 55429.
Thank you for your anticipated gifts and prayers. We appreciate every comment and prayer.
In August of 2008, Halley was diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 11. On November 7, 2008, Halley received a liver transplant that saved her life. It was only three days after her 12th birthday. Currently, she is 20 years old and doing very well. To read her story, visit her Caringbridge page at: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/halleyanderson
Service and Volunteerism – The Family Way:
Our sister, Kris, has always been very humble and has served the Community of Brooklyn Center as follows:
· Brooklyn Center City Council Member (2012-present);
· School Board Member, Odyssey Academy Charter School (2009-present);
· Board Member, Brooklyn Center Crime Prevention Committee (2013-2015); and
· Brooklyn Center Housing Commission (2001-2012), Chair (2010-2012)
Other ways that the Anderson Family have contributed to the community…
Halley and Kris volunteer at LifeSource and also Donate Life Midwest. They speak at local events throughout the Metro Area with LifeSource Organ and Tissue Donation. LifeSource is the non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in the Upper Midwest, serving more than seven million people in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Learn more at: www.DonateLifeMidwest.org and www.DonateLifeMN.org websites. As quoted by Kris in May, 2012, “It’s about giving back, which is why we advocate; it’s our way of paying it forward and making sure people realize how significant that gift can be.”
Kris and Halley appeared on Twin Cities Live advocating for organ donation on December 4, 2009 (Channel 5). Halley’s story has also aired on Local Cable Ch. 12, Fox9 News and Channel 4 WCCO as well as a feature in Girl’s Life Magazine in the December 2009 issue.
Halley helped spread the word to young drivers that she is living proof that "checking the box" to become an organ donor does make a difference. The Family was featured in a commercial coordinated between LifeSource and the DMV, which aired across the state about “Check the Box” to become an organ donor. It's hard to believe that 8 years later, they are waiting for Gary Anderson to get a new liver.
Halley spoke at the MN Dept. of Safety offices in St. Paul for part of a new driver’s education curriculum featuring stories of teens affected by organ, tissue and eye donation. She is volunteering and advocating for teens to become organ donors via driver’s education classes. Halley is featured in New Driver’s License Education Curriculum “Make Your Mark” pamphlet and video. The video produced is now shown in classrooms all over the state of MN.
Please consider organ donation. As of March 1, 2017, you can choose to be an organ donor when you get your fishing or hunting license - JUST CHECK THE BOX!!
My sister's family has had to endure so many challenges that we set up this campaign in an effort to hopefully ease their burden.
DONATIONS and PRAYERS ARE ESSENTIAL!!
Thanks in advance and God Bless ~
- Terri Sharpe
- Pampered Chef Fundraiser on Facebook
- Caroline Sullivan
- Sherry Shore
Organizer and beneficiary
Kim Lawrence Lester
Gary or Kristine Lawrence Anderson