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Three years ago my beautiful and couragous mum was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis, a condition where her immune system attacks and destroys her own liver. Doctors don't know what causes Autoimmune Hepatitis nor do they know how to prevent it. Mum had to collapse numerous times and be hospitalised (after turning bright yellow!) for her GP's to take her seriously. Sadly, as a consequence of the delay in diagnosis, the disease has advanced and my wonderful mum now waits for an organ donor on the liver transplant list.
Some facts about liver disease:
- Liver disease is the only major cause of death in the UK still increasing year-on-year, with mortality rates rising faster than diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease.
- Liver disease is the third biggest cause of death of people still of working age.
- Twice as many people now die from liver disease as in 1991. If these rates continue, deaths from liver disease will double over the next 20 years.
- Liver disease is frequently referred to as a ‘silent’ illness as symptoms often only become apparent when the disease is quite advanced.
- For many, the diagnosis comes too late for effective treatment.
Research makes a difference:
While statistics can be alarming, research has led to some real breakthroughs too:-
- Liver transplant survival is now at 70% for patients 5yrs post transplant.
- Acute liver failure survival rates have increased from 30% to 60%.
- Primary liver tumour survival rate with early diagnosis is now 50% at 5yrs.
- New, less toxic antiviral drugs mean that hepatitis C can be cured and hepatitis B controlled in 90% of patients.
How can you help?
- DONATE, DONATE, DONATE. I know that there are lots of causes out there that need help however, this 'Silent Killer' disease could attack you, or one of your family. Trust me when I say nothing prepares you for the news that the person you love most in the world needs a new organ and there is absolutely nothing you can do to fix that. It's heartbreaking. It's traumatic. It's tiring. It's stressful. Its' a daily battle; and this is just how I feel. I honestly don't know how my wonderful mum finds the strength and courage to face this every day. We pray that an organ will become available but the cold reality is that 20% of people don't get an organ and die waiting on the list.
- Research can, and has, made a difference. The Liver Foundation research centre needs £5,000 a day to remain open and employ the scientists it needs to function.
- Please help save some lives.
- Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.