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My name is Greg Haas, and I am the older brother of Michael Haas. My brother Mike is in liver failure, and I’m helping him search for one extraordinary person who might be willing to donate part of their liver to Mike so that he may live. This is a big “Ask” by any measure, as I will explain. My request here is that you take a moment and read Mike’s story and help if you can. And if you cannot, then please pass this along to anyone you know who might be able to.
Mike is 56 years old and has been married to his wife, Heidi, for 32 years. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Mike lost his Mother at the age of 7. He was then lovingly raised alone by our Father, a German Jewish Holocaust survivor. Mike has always been gainfully employed in the renewable energy field, and in every regard a model citizen now residing in Livermore. Mike is a kind and generous person who is highly regarded by his family, friends and co-workers.
In the year 2001, Mike was involved in a serious motorcycle accident from which he had a successful but difficult recovery. This accident had a profound effect upon the way Mike took care of himself, and some bad habits developed.
Specifically, Mike began a diet that was anything but healthy. As a result, over the next few years he put on a great deal of weight, a far cry from the healthy weight he had always maintained. In addition, Mike began to abuse alcohol. As a result, Mike became diabetic. His diabetes eventually progressed to the point where something had to be done, and in late 2018 Mike resolved to reform himself. With the help of the recovery community of which he is still a part, Mike became and remains sober. To resolve his weight issue, and with it his diabetes, Mike underwent Roux-en-Y weight loss surgery in November 2019. Since the surgery Mike has lost well over 100 pounds and is no longer diabetic.
At surgery, however, the surgeon discovered that Mike’s lifestyle had damaged his liver and significant cirrhosis was present. His actual diagnosis is NASH, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis liver failure. While Mike is in compliance with all his Doctor’s orders, his liver is irrevocably damaged and without a transplant his life is truly in danger. The effect on Mike’s quality of life is profound. He is effectively housebound, limited in travel, and unable to do many of the things that made his life enjoyable. This includes hiking, biking, camping and even participating in his beloved Ham radio Club (AD6TA). The only solution at this point is for Mike to have a liver transplant.
Usually, livers for transplantation are obtained from people who have died and have given permission for their organs to be donated. However, there are not enough of these donors available. Due to the organ shortage, Mike is now on a waiting list. In California the wait time is the longest in the United States and some patients do not survive the wait. The solution for Mike is a Living Donor transplant.
The best alternative is a living donor transplant where a piece of a donor’s liver is surgically removed from a live donor and transplanted into a recipient. Living donor transplantation is possible because a healthy liver has the ability to regenerate. In fact, the Doctors will tell you that it only takes about 8 weeks for the donor’s liver to return to its original size, which, of course, is a miracle. If Mike were lucky enough to receive a living donor transplant he would then be able to return to a normal, healthy life.
Donation surgery is major surgery which will require a four to six week recovery period, after which the donor will lead a normal life. However, the surgery is not something that should be undertaken lightly or without full knowledge of the procedure and its risks. Mike is under the care of the Liver Transplant team at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), one of the premier transplant centers in the world. This is where the donation surgery would be done and the follow up care for both the donor and recipient will be provided. All costs for the surgery for both the donor and the recipient will be covered by Michael’s insurance.
Unfortunately, not everyone can qualify as a donor. In Mike’s case you must have Type A or O blood (either positive or negative), be of relatively normal weight (a BMI 32 or under), and be between the ages of 18 and 65 years old. The donor will have a separate team of healthcare professionals to evaluate them as a living donor. Their job is to help you understand the potential risks and benefits and look out for your best interests. Everyone in Mike’s family, including his wife, has been evaluated and none of us are acceptable donors.
Mike's need is urgent and this is why I am reaching out to anyone who might be able to help. As I said at the outset, this is a big “Ask” and I know many of you will not be in a position to help. But if you could spread this message around in any manner possible to your friends, family, online acquaintances, we might just find the Angel we are searching for. Just the fact that you have taken the time to read Mike’s story makes us grateful, and we maintain faith in the living proof of goodness in the world.
If you believe that you can help please contact us or UCSF using the information on the CONTACT page.
The Entire Haas Family