Strong for Sarah Zwingman!

$9,978 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 110 people in 3 months
Sarah’s battle began in 2017 when she began experiencing periodic debilitating health symptoms and was diagnosed with a rare liver disease, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC).  During the next several months she was hospitalized more than 10 times with infections in the bile ducts that caused severe pain and was treated with antibiotics.  With another follow up procedure in February 2018, doctors found abnormal results on tissue biopsies.  After further testing, it was discovered that the PSC liver disease had caused bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma ).  Although bile duct cancer is rare, it is more common with people with PSC.  Sarah's medical team at Kaiser Santa Clara reached out to the Mayo Clinic since her case of both PSC and cholangiocarcinoma is quite complex.  To put this cancer into perspective, there are only 1–2 cases per 100,000 people!

She is now beginning treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where doctors have extensive experience diagnosing and treating many people with cholangiocarcinoma.  The treatment will require that Sarah undergo radiation, chemotherapy, and a full liver transplant.

Through this process she has had her ups and downs but has remained optimistic and is staying positive. The reason Sarah has been able to press on is the incredible support she has from so many, along with the most amazing family and close friends.

The Zwingman family could use your support as Sarah undergoes her treatment in Rochester that will last several weeks for the cancer treatment and several months for the transplant.  Sarah and Tom have two young children, Emma (7) and Alex (4). We know that they will have a lot of extra expenses for child care, travel to/from Minnesota, loss of job income, medical bills not covered by insurance, meals, and so many other items in the weeks and months ahead and they are reaching out for help.  Sarah will be having to travel back and forth every few months pre and post transplant and some of these visits might require a private charter plane to get Sarah from CA to MN quickly.  One immediate need they have is to hire a nanny so that Tom can keep working in between traveling to Minnesota while Sarah is in treatment. Any extra funds would be donated to charity.

More than ever, Sarah, Tom, and family need our prayers, love, support, positive vibes & faith. Updates will be posted on her facebook page ( and Caring Bridge  website as she learns more throughout this process.  If anyone can win this fight, it’s Sarah!

Thank you for your love and support.


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Why I need a Living Donor - Sarah Zwingman

Everyone please read this article. It has important about the liver transplant list. 25% of people on the list die waiting for a donor liver. My best option is to find a living donor. I need someone who is willing to donate a part of their liver. The liver grows back to normal operation within 1-2 months.

To find out more information and learn more about the process, click here:
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We made it through Week 1!
Journal entry by Sarah Zwingman — Apr 27, 2018

It's Friday, yay! It's been a long, exhausting, and overwhelming week, but we are hanging in there. I have had several tests this week and several consults with various specialists. I am still in the evaluation process to determine if I will qualify for the protocol to treat the cancer at the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic has a very strict process and just by being sent it doesn't mean I will automatically get treated. To be accepted into their program for bile duct cancer treatment there are several tests your body must pass. The entire protocol involves radiation and chemo to treat the cancer. After the treatment, I will have to have a liver transplant.

So far all my tests are looking good and all the doctors are thinking I will be a good candidate for the process. I have to undergo another ERCP and EUS on Monday to confirm the exact location of the cancer so they can be sure to treat it correctly.

Today we met with the transplant surgeon. We really liked her. She was very thorough in explaining how the surgery itself works and discussing all the risks and benefits. One thing she is highly recommending is going the route of finding a living donor. The liver transplant list is very long and it will take over a year for me to get high enough on the list that a deceased liver would be offered to me. The doctors medically think the sooner I get a liver the better. So now I get to ask people, "Hey, want to give me part of your liver?!?"

The emotional rollercoaster has been all over the place...sometimes I feel overwhelmed and angry that I have to face this, other times I feel strong.
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Day 1: Today was officially day 1 of appointments at the Mayo Clinic. We started with 6am labs! We had our initial visit with the transplant team to learn the whole process. It was information over load. It is like trying to drink from a fire hose. This week will involve a lot of tests to determine if I qualify for transplant. It is overwhelming, but we are staying optimistic. 12 hours was a long first day. I am so thankful for my support system here and back home and everywhere in between! Strong for Sarah #strongforsarah #myjourney #beatcancer
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Raised by 110 people in 3 months
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