STAR, Idaho — On social media, posts can spread like wildfire and for one Idaho woman, that’s exactly what happened after posting about the need for a liver transplant donor.
With over 200 hundred shares later, Jenna Englund from Star received what she described as an “overwhelming” amount of support and applicants wanting to help.
“It's kind of crazy who the people are that don’t even really know me that are willing to make such a huge sacrifice because I need it,” Englund said.
Englund was diagnosed at 19 with Autoimmune hepatitis — a long-term chronic liver disease where your immune system attacks your liver cells — a battle she has been fighting for about 26 years.
“I ended up in the ICU in septic shock due to some blockages to my bile duct and so at that point, I keep getting repeated blockages and so they decided it times I need a new liver and probably sooner than later,” Englund said.
She said she is on the cadaver liver list, but it could be a very long time before she would get a liver that way, making her even sicker. Then she found out she's a candidate for a live liver transplant, where someone donates just two-thirds of their liver to her. If she finds a live match, she can schedule her transplantation and be healthier at the time of surgery.
She made a post on Facebook seeking out live liver donations and it quickly gained traction. Before she knew it, tons of people sent it an application to see if they were a match.
“I got a phone call, or an email actually that asked for me to please put on hold asking anyone else to apply because it was going to take them so long to get through all of the applications,” Englund said.
She said she actually didn’t want to post at all asking for help, but a push from her family made her do it.
“I have a 15- and 10-year-old daughter, and they need me. That's hard to say. It just means so much to them that so many people are willing to help me,” Englund said. “They’ve got a lot of life left to live that they need their mom for, so I would do anything.”
The entire process is anonymous. She only knows who applied by the families and friends that have told her. She said she wants the community to know so many people can help save a life through the live liver donation process. She said friends who have told her they applied to say they will stay on the list to potentially help others if they are not a match for her.
“People keep asking, ‘What do you need?’ and I'm like, ‘I don’t need anything, except for a liver,’" she said. "I just want more of the same and I have a lot to be grateful for so I want more of those days for sure."
She said she's grateful for all of the support she has received and is optimistic about finding a match.
“Whoever it is that ends up being the perfect match for me, please be keeping them in your thoughts and prayers, as it is such a huge sacrifice and I can only imagine whoever that is, what they are going through to make that final decision,” Englund said.
To learn more about live liver donation, click here.