Terry Kimbrell, a native of Albany now living in Florida, is currently awaiting a liver transplant. (Special photo)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — At Mayo Clinic Hospital at Jacksonville, Fla., is a native of Albany currently awaiting the liver transplant he needs for survival, and is relying on the generosity of some old friends to help his family with the expenses associated with his treatment.
Terry Kimbrell, now resident of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1997 — which he likely contracted from a blood transfusion during an emergency back surgery following a car accident in 1988.
“His records were destroyed, so we’re not sure,” his wife, Sheila Kimbrel,l said.
He underwent a course of treatment at Emory University Hospital. When that turned out to be unsuccessful, he eventually began a new treatment in January 2012. His liver was already too far gone, so he began evaluation for a liver transplant the following August. A few months ago, the measurement of his end-stage liver disease had reached the mark need to qualify for a transplant.
At the rate he is going downhill, he may only have a few weeks — possibly days — left without a full liver transplant.
After a stay at the critical care unit at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, he was transferred to Jacksonville last week and has since been activated on the organ recipient list. He has lost roughly 70 pounds since the first of the year — resulting in the insertion of a feeding tube — and he is receiving numerous transfusions of red blood cells, platelets, plasma and albumin.
“He was not improving last week,” Sheila Kimbrell said in a recent interview with The Albany Herald. “He is going into kidney failure and losing function of his pancreas.”
Since Terry Kimbrell has a relatively common blood type, the hope is there is a larger pool of potential donors for a full liver — but there is no guarantee as to when an organ will turn up.
“We will be here (in the Mayo hospital) until he gets a liver or passes,” his wife said.
” … Terry is already higher on the list because he should have been listed two or three months ago, and he’s here where they’ll do the surgery — so that helps.”
Waiting for a liver is only half the battle. Once he has the transplant, he will have to stay within 20 miles of the Jacksonville hospital for about two months — which means they will have to pay expenses for two houses while paying for the multiple medications he will need post-transplant. The family has contacted individuals as well as the media in addition to pushing messages through social media and email in order to solicit donations to help them offset the costs.
There has also been a page set up for Terry Kimbrell on the National Foundation for Transplants, which shows — that as of Saturday afternoon — $1,525 has been raised toward the overall goal.
“As a goal, I’d like to reach $10,000, and that is still not out of the picture,” his wife said. “A short-term rental, or anything else, is going to be $2,000 a month.”
In addition to visiting Terry Kimbrell’s National Foundation for Transplants page, people can find more information on how to help by finding “Please Help Terry’s Liver Transplant Fundraising Campaign” on Facebook or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.