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Transplant Evaluation Letters of Hope: Episode 4

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In this week's episode, Valen relays how the Transplant evaluations determine whether you qualify for a transplant and are well enough to endure the surgery. Approval often requires temporary relocation to be near the transplant team which can be gruelling for a patient who is already feeling fatigued. She and her husband, Noah, recount the tough choices they faced and their experience of relocating out of state for the transplant. 

"As a caregiver, you're looking for the best option, the best possible outcome for your loved one. You have two choices: fight and do everything you can or give up. That was not an option for us."

Noah Keefer | Husband and Caregiver

This docuseries is hosted by our patient advocate, Valen Keefer, the series describes the ups and downs, the challenges, and the hope, that someone might experience before, during, and after receiving a transplant. For those considering donation, you can access several interviews with living donors who talk about the process and the positive impact it’s had on their lives.

Read Transcript


For transplant evaluation, the timeframe of it can vary. But for us, it was a two-day long

experience, about 10 hours each day, appointment after appointment starting first thing in the morning. You're getting evaluated to see if you're sick enough to need a transplant and well enough to be able to endure the surgery. And this whole time that you're going through it,

you're severely ill. When I found out that I needed a lifesaving liver transplant when my hepatologist gave her number one suggestion of moving out of state for a transplant, I instantly said, we can't do that. How can we do that? Like at the time, I'm severely ill and to think of just uprooting our lives, moving out of state, it seemed so huge, so impossible.


Yeah. At this point, where Valen’s health is to the point where she is very ill, walking down to get the mail at the mailbox is a big task. And her team throws this option on her to relocate to St Louis. And we just don't know how we're going to be able to do this. As a caregiver, you're looking for the best option, the best possible outcome for your loved one. And so when she told me that the best option would be to relocate, you're in this state of you have two choices: fight and do everything you can, or give up. And that wasn't an option for us.


And it blew my mind because in that moment, I had this almost sense of relief taken off my shoulders, and the power of support and what caregivers can give us has so much value, I think, more than they even understand. And it was that moment that our journey began towards looking into getting dual-listed, potentially temporarily relocating and having hope to maybe have restored health and a second chance at life. I encourage you to search out the best options if that's getting dual-listed, finding the best location for you to hopefully have the best outcome, and receiving a transplant as soon as possible. With this journey, it's really challenging to have so many things out of your control and trying to focus on the things that you can control is so helpful. Being as organized as you can, leading into transplant evaluation as you wait for the call, as you hope that you get listed and find out that you can receive your lifesaving transplant. It makes us feel like we do have some say in what's going on. We can help the outcome of what's going to be in our future, and that helps keep us grounded through the whole process.