Mar 30, 2022
Nepean Sailing Club’s Pam Hopkins-Dargavel is looking for very special “crew” in her quest for life-saving help. Pam has been an active sailor and race officer in Ottawa for years. Unfortunately, many of those years ago, while doing her nursing “day job”, she had a needle stick accident.
This accident caused Hepatitis C which began attacking her liver 30 years ago. She went through four rounds of Hep C treatment over the years. Three of those treatment periods were similar to cancer “chemo”, with the well-known debilitating side effects. Despite the side effects, she pushed through, kept on sailing, and racing, and making sure local regattas were well run. Unfortunately, none of those treatments worked and the Hep C continued to destroy her liver.
Eventually a fourth antiviral cocktail worked. It could have been clear sailing from there, on and off the water… if only there had been enough healthy liver left to regenerate itself. There was not. Pam’s long-term squall became a life-threatening gale.
Pam’s liver disease has been debilitating for her. Strength has disappeared. Cognition and balance have been significantly affected. Sailing, cycling and skiing used to be easy. A flight of stairs now presents a challenge and those sports have now vanished from her life.
Pam is now on the liver transplant list. A deceased donor is a long shot because of the degree of her disease and her blood type. She needs a B or O (either + or – ).
There is a much greater opportunity for a faster, very positive solution with the right “crew”: a living donor. Unlike other organ donors, a liver donor donates part of their liver and about 3 months later the donor’s liver has almost totally regrown. There are also medical and financial supports available to donors.
Family members tried to sign on as donors but they were not the blood type which would provide the best match. Some of Pam’s sailing friends volunteered, only to find out they were over the maximum donor age of 60 and therefore ineligible.
Pam would love to be “back out on the water” again – restored to a normal level of life, with much she’d love to be able to give to others, before terminal liver disease takes away that possibility. She needs very special people to help her make that happen. Even if an interested person is not the best match blood type, there are other ways to contribute and get Pam back on the water.
Pam & Greg continue to look for that altruistic person to come forward. Could it be you or someone you know?
If you have particular questions about Pam’s situation, please contact email@example.com and for broader questions about being a living liver donor please visit https://www.uhn.ca/Transplant/Living_Donor_Program/
There are “crew” out there… might it be you?