Terryville man's liver condition improves, but his search for a donor continues

Published on Sunday, 2 December 2018 19:53


PLYMOUTH – David Ray’s search for a liver donor hasn’t yielded a match so far but fortunately his condition has improved slightly, lessening the urgency of the search, according to his wife, Kristin Ray.

David’s MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) score has improved over the past six months and the blood clot that was causing him problems earlier in the year is gone so they’re not searching as aggressively for a donor now, she said.

A 33-year-old Terryville resident, David Ray has been seeking a liver donor for months now. His ordeal started about two and a half years ago, when he began feeling tired all the time and his legs were swelling up and his doctors were trying to figure out the cause.

He knew his excessive weight was a problem so he managed to lose more than 100 pounds, before he was finally diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and put on a transplant waiting list at Yale New Haven Hospital.

On Oct. 31, Ray posted on his website www.davidssearchforhope.com that Yale-New Haven had told him 25-plus people had contacted them offering to be a donor for him. Of those, 15 made it to the next round of testing but all of them were rejected or couldn’t be tested, for reasons undisclosed due to confidentiality.

“It was hard news to hear as you can imagine. I can’t give up hope and I need to be strong for my family,” he wrote then.

Then on Nov. 10, just before a fundraising dinner for him at the Terryville Polish Club, he posted that his MELD score had improved and the transplant was not as urgent.

“My end stage liver disease is not gone and I will still need a transplant but because how risky surgery can be and the way my life will change after the surgery (anti-rejection med’s etc...) they want to see if I can sustain the way I am as they remove me off some meds. They are holding off testing people for a living donor for now unless a very close match comes along,” he wrote.

“We might be in the same immediate need situation three months from now but we don’t know,” he continued. “I will continue to keep myself healthy and continue to ask for God’s help through all of this. We are still going to be looking for a donor but it won’t fully consume me as it has over the past few months. I’m off the immediate need list now so I’m happy yet still concerned all at the same time.”

Ray said he wanted to let people know what was happening with him because potential donors may have gotten the idea that he was no longer in need of the transplant “but that unfortunately is not the case.”

His wife said he has been able to work at his job at Pratt & Whitney in Middletown. “He has actually been doing pretty good lately,” she said. “He has his up days and his down days.”

The Rays are continuing to spread the word about their donor search. A living donor can donate a portion of the liver, which then regenerates. The donor has to be either Type A or Type O blood type, because Ray is A positive and O is the universal donor.

“The positive and negative doesn’t matter,” Ray said. “The donor has to be to be 18 and over, but under 65, and overall healthy. They can’t be drinking or smoking or anything like that. It’s only a 10 to 15 percent chance of being a match even if a person passes all the screenings.”

Ray has said his health insurance will cover all the donor’s medical expenses too, but he has a big deductible and then will have to cover 20 percent of the bills beyond that. The family has started a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $40,000 https://www.gofundme.com/Davidssearchforhope.

For more information, or to contact the family, visit www.Davidssearchforhope.com or email davidssearchforhope@yahoo.com.

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or scorica@bristolpress.com.

Posted in The Bristol Press, General News, Plymouth, Terryville on Sunday, 2 December 2018 19:53. Updated: Sunday, 2 December 2018 19:55.