Winchester woman needs organ donation
Tom Van Dusen
Nation Valley News
WINCHESTER – Tina VanBreugel is hoping that someone, even a complete stranger, will step forward and save her life.
Van Breugel needs a new liver to continue… and his options are limited. Between friends and family, they are almost exhausted. The last family member to be tested was her 17-year-old daughter Adrianna, who was not a match.
As for the list of liver transplants in the province, the formula used does not give the resident of Winchester a very high mark. While it’s still possible that she’ll be a perfect fit for a liver donation and go up the list at the last minute, that’s a long way off!
What can VanBreugel offer in exchange for donating a liver? Only the reward of saving a life! A donor would give up 30 percent of a healthy liver, with the remaining organ having to regenerate completely within several weeks; in a successful procedure, the beneficiary’s share would also develop fully over a six-month payback period.
The transfer would take place in Toronto and the donor’s expenses would be covered, says VanBreugel. Clearly, there is nothing to be gained financially … only lasting gratitude!
It is difficult to match a liver recipient with a donor. Various criteria are applied starting with blood group (A + in the case of VanBreugel), body mass and other considerations.
She has nowhere to turn except to the public. She says a social media campaign is planned to describe her plight. Fundraising is not one of them at the moment as she will only incur additional costs if she is lucky enough to receive the gift of life and go to Toronto: “I don’t need to. money… I need a liver!
She has no idea how much time she has left. In fact, the prognosis two years ago when she fell ill was six months to a year, a result she is glad she exceeded. On the other hand, she feels like she is living on borrowed time.
While chatting in the courtyard of the Fred Street house where she lives with her parents and sister, VanBreugel doesn’t try to cover up what put her in the position she is in… she got drunk there. !
“With a lot of people in my situation, it’s cirrhosis,” she says, admitting it’s been caused by heavy drinking for too many years. She admits to being an alcoholic and receives regular AA support.
Stage 4 liver disease (the final stage) has taken its toll on VanBreugel physically: she has lost about half of her previous 200-pound body weight, her muscles are degenerating, she needs a cane or a walker to cover any distance, she barely sleeps, and once a week she has to go to the Ottawa Hospital to get several liters of accumulated body fluid out of her stomach.
A personal support worker at a local long-term care home for most of her career, she now needs the support of her parents and other family members. Mother of three children, VanBreugel and her husband are separated but remain friends.
“It’s funny… as soon as I quit drinking two years ago, I got sick. Maybe I should never have stopped! She specifies that she is joking.