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Area Woman Hopes To Find A Living Liver Donor

Cynthia Define is in need of a living liver donor in order to survive.
Cynthia Define is in need of a living liver donor in order to survive. Photo Credit: Cynthia Define

A 51-year-old  Connecticut woman suffering from end-stage liver disease is in desperate need of a living liver donor.

Litchfield County resident Cynthia Define, a 51-year-old New Milford single mother of three, said time is running out and hopes a new call for a donor will save her life.

Define was diagnosed at age 13 with primary biliary cirrhosis, a chronic disease in which the bile ducts in the liver are slowly destroyed. 

Because she was adopted months after birth there is no health history to try to understand why she has this disease. 

At age 42, doctors told Define she had stage 4 liver cirrhosis.

“Unbeknownst to me at that time, I then was told what was chronic has now become permanently damaging. Over time this will cause my liver to fail,” said Define.

The last 10 years have been difficult and Define’s health has progressively deteriorated, making everyday tasks difficult and tiring. Her treatment is at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

According to the American Liver Foundation, liver failure symptoms can vary widely from one person to another. Symptoms may begin slowly and gradually get worse, or they may occur suddenly and be severe from the start.

Define has been on a liver transplant list for the past four years. Now her doctors are saying her best chance of receiving a liver transplant is to pursue a living liver donor.

A living donor, she explained, is when someone gives part of their liver to be implanted in a recipient. 

“The liver is the only organ to regenerate itself. That’s amazing. After a living liver donor transplant, both the living donor and the recipient's liver grow back to full size.”

Liver disease is chronic and persistent. “It takes you down even lower and you try to function at the new normal, then that gets lower,” Define continued.

Call Yale-New Haven Living Donor Transplant Center at 1-866-925-3897 if you want to be a living donor and mention Cynthia Define. They will explain the donation process, the time it takes, any expenses, and any and all questions you or anyone you know has. Everyone remains anonymous.

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