|Keith Davison on the left with his cousin Michael Stapleton, the organ donor.|
Michael Stapleton, age 21, of Crown City, a self-employed auto mechanic, has learned a lot about self-giving and the virtue of charity as a member of St. Louis Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. Now he is heroically putting Christian love into practice.
On October 8 at 5:30 am the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Stapleton will be giving 35-40% (1/3 - 2/3)) of his liver (the secondary lobe) to his cousin, Keith Davison, age 43, of Gallipolis. At the same time Michael will have to give up his gall bladder. Davison has had Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis for 17 years now, a disease of the liver which is debilitating and at this stage, sooner than later……..fatal, depending on how fast the disease progresses. With frequent costly treatments Davison has somehow been able to work until now for AEP Construction as an Ohio State electrical/civil engineer, but not much longer without a transplant, the only cure.
The chances of success of the transplant are good.........90% of the recipients and 99.5% of the living donors survive. Since there is clearly a significant risk of serious complications for both of them, hundreds of friends and parishioners are praying and more prayers are requested. There will be a hospital stay (7-10 days for Keith, 3-4 for Michael), a longer stay near the hospital in Pittsburgh (6-9 weeks for Keith & two for Michael), and a total of six months recovery for Keith and three months for Michael. If all goes well, in about six months both livers (Michael’s remaining one and Keith’s transplanted one) will grow to almost full size, although with only one lobe. For more detail go to http://www.upmc.com/services/transplant/abdominal-transplants/liver/pages/default.aspx.
Keith has been on the waiting list for a transplant from a deceased donor for the last four years. His brother-in-law volunteered, but was incompatible. Recently, cousin Mike stepped up to be a living donor without even being asked.
“I do not want to see Krystal (age 8) grow up without a dad, especially knowing that I could have helped save her father’s life”, said Stapleton.
Both underwent medical testing in Pittsburgh on September 18-19 and Michael was found to be compatible as to blood vessel configuration, blood type, and tissue type.. With great faith and courage, both men will be ready to embark on this journey on Tuesday at 5:30 am for nine hours of surgery. Michael will lead off, since the doctors want to first be sure that the transplant will work. While waiting for the surgery, Keith continues doing what he has been doing. He’ll serve as an usher at the 5:30 Mass on Saturday night. Despite the handicap of his medical condition and the time spent on medical treatment, he still helps out wherever he can. One project Keith has planned is to construct a parish website during the six months of quarantined recovery.
Mr. Davison hopes that his ordeal will help others by making healthy people more aware of the need for organ donations because demand far exceeds supply. I wonder if low risk long term prison inmates could be asked to volunteer as living donors, thus making their prison time very productive and proving that they are good candidates for early parole.
“The recipient is not a faceless person. The donor is saving a dad or a mom or a child. One donor who accidentally loses his life, can save several lives with his heart, lungs, and kidneys”, Davison emphasized.Anyone can become a donor upon death through a living will or simply making his wishes known to next of kin. When you renew your license, have “Ohio Organ Donor” stamped on it. Then your death may give life to another.
“God sends people into our lives to help us and sometimes we have to hide our pride and accept the help. God sent Simon Cyrene to Christ on the road to Calvary and He accepted his help,” added Davison.