Dad's Liver Transplant Fund

My brother, sisters and I would like to tell you a little bit about our father, Rudy.  Rudy is an amazing father and man who has worked hard his entire life as a plasterer.  His work ethic is unsurpassed and he is extremely skilled at his trade.  He loves to spend time with his children and grandchildren whenever possible.  He is definitely a family man.  He also has a brilliant mind and enjoys discussing all aspects of science, math and current events.  I remember a time a few years ago at Canobie Lake amusement park with my Dad, sister, brother and our children, where Dad was the first one in line at the Boston Tea Party flume ride, exiting the ride completely drenched with a smile from ear to ear.  

October 2013 was when Dad first started to become ill.  His liver was failing.  He was diagnosed with cirrhosis.  He was told he needed to stop drinking any alcohol and change his diet.  Luckily, he was able to stop drinking and worked toward eating a healthier diet for his liver.  However, his health continued to decline and by February of 2014 he had been hospitalized through the emergency room 3 separate times, each resulting in a 3-5 day stay in the hospital.  He was developing severe fluid in his abdomen, jaundice, and confusion.  We were told that his liver was failed to the point that he would eventually die without a transplant.  Then, the following month, the doctors discovered he had liver cancer (hepatic carcinoma).  Now it was more urgent than ever that he get a transplant because if the cancer spread there wouldn't be much that they could do for him.  As he worked with the wonderful transplant team at Umass in Worcester to get on the tranpslant list, he had to undergo a multitude of tests.  He also had to undergo 3 separate procedures to attempt to erradicate the tumors on his liver before they could spread.  The first procedure took care of 2 of 3 tumors.  The second procedure took care of the last tumor.  Then a fourth was found and he was able to have that one treated as well.  

Throughout this time, Dad has not been able to work, despite his strong desire to continue to be the breadwinner of the family.  He lives with my stepmother, their 18 year old daughter, and their small dog, Bella, in a very modest retirement mobile home park.  They drive a modest car and overall, live a very modest life.  My stepmother has a part time job and my sister is finishing her last year in high school, but also works part time to help out.  

The phone call came on the evening of November 23rd.  They had a liver!  Four days before Thanksgiving!  Dad has done amazing.  Despite being told he would be in the hospital for 12-14 days, they have sent him home after 7 days to finish his recovery.  He is beating the odds!  However, he is not out of the woods.  He has to be on drugs to suppress his immune system so that he doesn't reject the liver and he will not be able to work for the next year as his body rebuilds itself and adjusts to his new liver.  He is grateful that another family chose organ donation which resulted in his second chance.  
Now that Dad is home to recover, he is overwhelmed with anxiety as to how he is going to continue to take care of his family with very little income.   He is also dealing with diabetes made worse by the medications he has to take, having to take multiple insulin injections every day.  My brother, sisters and I are doing what we can to help, however, we are reaching out today to our friends, family, and anyone who knows Dad for support.  Any little bit could make a huge difference in helping Dad to make ends meet over the next year while he heals and gets back to living.  

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about Dad.  Lastly, we would like to express how grateful we are for the organ transplant program and the amazing people who work with the program.
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Terra Baldarelli 
Fitchburg, MA
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