Lifesaving transplants for Eric Lovrien

“His biggest fear right now is not dialysis, and not having a transplant, it’s leaving us behind. He’s afraid we will do all this and rack up huge amounts of debt and then he will die and leave us and the debt behind. I told him I didn’t care if I had to pay one million dollars just to keep him one more day”

                                                                           -  Jenna Lovrien, Eric’s wife

This is Eric’s story….

Eric Lovrien is 37-years old, husband to Jenna, and father to a 10-year-old daughter named Grace. Above all else he is a family man. When Eric was 10, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Eric lived a pretty normal childhood; he didn’t let his diabetes get him down. He played baseball and hockey and he loved to be outdoors. 

In high school, Eric’s best friend was Justin, and Justin was Jenna’s boyfriend just out of high school. In the year and a half Justin and Jenna dated she only saw Eric once or twice. Justin was killed in a car accident and after his funeral, the ONLY person that called her wanting to be her support, and looking for his own was Eric. He got her number from one of Justin’s cousins. After a month of hanging out pretty much daily, playing video games and leaning on each other,  Eric called Justin’s dad Bill to ask him if it would be okay to ask her to be his girlfriend. Bill thought that would be okay and something Justin would want, so Eric then asked Jenna to be his girlfriend. That was 16 years ago. 
Nearly 12 years ago,  Eric and Jenna got married. Jenna told me, “we haven’t really been apart a day since then. If we need groceries, we go together. If he needs to go to the hardware store, we go together.  Need gas for the lawn mower, we go together. We do absolutely everything together. We even chat all day long on Google Hangouts while he’s at work. I can’t imagine doing anything without him.”

In 2009, Eric was found unconscious in his office at work and spent 2 days in the ICU at North Memorial. There was a bad batch of insulin that caused several people to almost die around the same time. His body changed after that event and he developed an intense fear of going low again, so he kept his levels higher than recommended. Because of his sugar levels being too high for a few years he developed Diabetic Retinopathy. He was sitting out in the deer stand when his left eye completely lost vision. He had to have surgery to laser vessels shut, to prevent more bleeding and another surgery to remove the blood that filled the inside of his eye.
After years of crippling fear about his sugar levels crashing, a friend introduced him to a program that talks to his Dexcom and Omnipod Pump called Loop. Loop is an automated insulin delivery program that automatically doses insulin, based on readings from a continuous glucose monitor. It is an amazing device, and Eric has gained so much trust in it he is finally able to have his blood sugar levels stable. Once this happened and Eric was feeling great again he was ready to conquer the world! 

That’s when the other shoe dropped. In May of 2019, during a routine lab appointment the doctor discovered that Eric was in Stage 1 Kidney Failure and he was diagnosed with CKD. That news didn’t scare Eric too much because it was in the beginning stages and could be managed with lifestyle changes. Having Type 1 Diabetes along with CKD complicated matters but Eric and Jenna were still optimistic that things would be okay.  They were still hopeful they could take the family trip they had planned in 2021 to Germany for a family reunion.

Three months later,  the doctor told him his disease had progressed to Stage 3, and the very next day after labs were taken, he was called and told he was officially in Stage 4 kidney failure with a GFR (Glomerular filtration rate) of 24% (90% is the normal rate). A biopsy confirmed that unlike most people with CKD, his was 100% related to his diabetes. He had been averaging 1% loss weekly until recently when it slowed down to 1% for the whole month. He is currently at 18%. It was determined that Eric will need a transplant of not only his kidney but also a pancreas. Their family trip to Germany instantly became a pipe dream with little chance of occurring.
On September 5, 2019 while the three of them were on their way to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, Eric got a call and was sent to the E.R. after his labs came back saying his potassium was 6.5 which could have killed him! He spent two days in the hospital until his levels came back within the normal range. This happened because his kidneys could no longer filter the potassium. After that scare, Jenna began cooking from scratch to make sure that Eric was eating a healthy low sodium, low potassium, low carb and glucose free diet and trying to make it taste good (that’s a work in progress). Jenna is a stay at home mom,  and she home schools Grace so they would spend time in their garden planting and harvesting the vegetables for Eric’s diet. Despite constantly being told bad news, Eric is very positive and does his best to spend time with his family to create memories for Grace so that if they lose him, they will have those memories to look back on. He continues to attend Graces activities when he can, whether it’s a volleyball game or a music lesson. 

Eric is by nature an easy going, glass half full kind of guy yet these last few months have really taken its toll on the family. He has no energy to go chop and stack wood (that’s how they heat their home),  when he gets home from work he is too tired to do much of anything, and most of the chores have now fallen on his wife and 10 year old daughter. Jenna says they don’t mind, they do what they can, they just want Eric to get better. Eric has been taking time to teach Grace some of the basics of life like changing oil in a car, how to turn off the water if the toilet overflows, how to filet a fish, things like that. He wants to make sure she knows these things now in case they lose him.45558988_1581987283338931_r.jpeg

They met with the transplant team on February 13, 2020. It was a full day of labs, x-rays, breathing tests, stress tests, EKG, and urine tests. Any test you can imagine, Eric had it. They met with the surgeon, dietitian, social worker and insurance representative too. Because Eric is young and fit, both the Dr. and surgeon agree that the best option for Eric would be to wait until a kidney and a pancreas become available from a deceased donor. His chance for rejection would decrease substantially and the pancreas would last 24 years or longer. If he gets to the point were dialysis is inevitable, they suggest going ahead with a living donor for the kidney if a match can be found and then doing the pancreas transplant later when a donor becomes available. The downside to this is that it will require two surgeries and the life of the donated pancreas will be shortened to 7-10 years. Although this meeting sounded very promising, the team still needs to meet next week to determine whether Eric is a good candidate or not.  

While they wait, Eric and Jenna are planning the next steps. Eric must have extensive dental work before a transplant can happen. Root canals pulled teeth and fillings will all be very expensive and most of the money will have to come out of pocket. Jenna is doing what she can to ready the house in case they have to sell it. If Eric goes on dialysis, it would be three times a week and four hours per day. He will not be able to work. If he has the transplants, he will be out of work for up to 6 months.

They will have considerable out of pocket expenses for the dental work, the transplants and they will need assistance just to pay the bills.

We are asking for your support in helping this family out. The Lovrien family is the sweetest and most loving family you will meet. They were very reluctant to ask for help, but they realize this is an undertaking they can’t do alone. Maybe by some miracle and through the help of angels like you, Eric will get his transplants and we can raise enough money so they can get by and still take their trip to Germany.45558988_1581987360868272_r.jpeg

Eric, Jenna and Grace have been through so much already, they don’t need the added stress of worrying about financial burdens. If you can donate any amount, even $1.00 we would appreciate it. If you are unable to donate, please share this page, and tag your friends so others can see it and possibly help.

If you want to be considered as a donor, please  go to this website:  It is a screening website for potential donors. Please only begin the questionnaire if you are serious.

Recipient: Eric Lovrien
DOB: 12/21/1982

Thank you so much for taking the time to read Eric’s story, please help if you can.


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    • $25 
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Organizer and beneficiary

Paula Anderson 
Holyoke, MN
Jenna Lovrien 
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