My name is Derick, and I am asking for your help to save my life.
I am currently in end-stage liver disease.
My wife and I grew up in a small beach town north of Boston. We dated in high school, went our separate ways after high school, and then came back together 30 years later. At this point, I had hoped that my wife and I would be enjoying our retirement together. I thought about businesses we could start together like a cafe/coffee shop that showcased her culinary skills and my artwork, or building skateboards (she's also artistic and we both love skateboarding) and trips we'd take together to California to see my sons who she adores.
Instead, I am on a mostly liquid diet of protein shakes because of the constant fluid build-up and nausea, but I still try to eat even if it's not a lot (my wife is an amazing cook!). I think the worst part of this is watching my mind go--my ammonia baseline levels are twice what they should be meaning that my brain is in a constant state of being poisoned. Some days are ok. Other days, I'm frustrated with trying to remember how to write my name or open a car door. My high ammonia levels also mean that all pain medication has to be stopped, despite being in severe pain. But, my transplant team assures me that my brain will go back to normal, and the pain will stop if I can get a transplant.
I've been a hotrod artist for the past 30 years and worked in autobody restoration for the past 15, so on the really good days you can still find me puttering around my garage and tinkering with my 1950 Ford or sketching posters if I'm too tired to get to my garage. But, when my wife logs off of work, it's all about time hanging out and laughing with her.
It is humbling and almost inconceivable to ask for such a blessing, but a donor transplant is the only way to save my life. Both my surgery and the donor's is covered under my health insurance.
My two sons are starting to navigate their ways in the world and I pray that I am there to support them and be part of their celebrations. One has already told me he has no intention of ever having children, but my youngest wants some. I hope I am here to meet my grandchildren.
After transplant, I mostly just want time with my family. That's the thing about end-stage liver disease - it really shows you what's important. I love hotrods, skateboarding, and travel but they're great extras/bonus points in life, but can't come close to giving me the kind of joy my boys and my wife give me.
Living donor transplants generally have better outcomes and can be arranged at a time convenient for both parties. No waiting and wondering while my body continues to weaken.
Thank you for taking your time to read and understand my current life situation, and we would appreciate you considering donating or spreading the word.
Thank you so much for your consideration!