Angels for Jillian’s Liver Transplant

For: Jillian Brorby
Berkeley, CA
Organizer: Laurel Sophia
$10,025
of $30,000 goal.
Raised by 94 donors
33% Complete
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The Story

When I was born I was lucky enough to have two loving parents- and an amazing second mother!  Jillian was our housemate and helped raise me, care for me, and support me for the first five years of my life. Even after we moved, Jillian continued to raise and guide me every day of my life.  
Somewhere along the way she became my confidant, personal stylist (she is an amazingly talented designer, artist and seamstress!) and best friend.  I knew I could call her with any question or problem and she would give me love and support.  She was my biggest fan, caring auntie, and sister.  Her independence, creativity and bravery constantly inspired me to be a better, stronger person.

And then one day she called with the news that she was sick...

Jillian was diagnosed with hepatitis C 35+ years ago, but has lived a full and healthy lifestyle since, until early in 2014, when she was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease and liver cancer.  The resulting fatigue and weakness pushed her into early retirement.  The inability to work created a lack of funds to pay medical and household bills.

When I got the news I was terrified.  What did this mean?  Jillian had always been one of the healthiest, most vibrant and alive people in my life, and now she had cancer, a horrific sickness that had already affected so many people I loved.

I knew I needed to do something to help, but I felt powerless and lost.

The cancer diagnosis means that Jillian will need a new liver for survival.  She is currently on the transplant list waiting for a liver, and will need up to another year of recovery time after the operation before her body is fully functional again. The goal, post transplant, is for Jillian to be able to work again and live a life that is fuller than ever!  Transplants can truly be a miracle solution, and Jillian can potentially be even more alive, awake, and vibrant than ever before- and able to continue the creative and healing work that so helps the people that know and love her!

Jillian is very grateful to be part of a community that is filled with helping hands and hearts and healing angels, but she's found it difficult to ask for the one thing that is not being replenished – the money to pay the bills.

The purpose of this campaign is to make Jillian's transition into surgery and recovery as smooth and painless as possible, because the last thing she needs to be worrying about as she heals her body and soul is bills and money!  The money raised will help so much in covering medical expenses, living expenses, medicine, food, and all the other costs that accrue when sickness comes knocking at our door. 

I am SO happy to be able to help my second Mama Jillian in this way, as well as opening all our hearts to send her love and light in her recovery!  I love Jillian so much and can't wait to see her completely healed!

Thank you for all your love and support!

Love,
Laurel


Jillian wants to to take this opportunity to share a few facts about the liver and hepatitis C:

  • Over 3 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Hep C, and many more are carrying the hep C virus without knowing it!  There are now very effective drugs available  that can quickly and easily CURE the HepC virus.
  • Undiagnosed and/or untreated HepC can eventually cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. Patients with liver cancer will probably require a transplant for survival, but there are many more people who need an organ transplant than there are available organs, so many don't survive the wait.
  • Thanks to a combination of targeted cancer procedures and “alternative” medicine, Jillian is currently cancer free, but her doctors are convinced that it will show up again, it is a killer, and a transplant will be necessary to save her life. 

Note from Jillian:  BIG thanks to my darling Laurel for setting this up for me!   Thanks to her, and all of my friends and healing angels like her, it has been easy and natural to maintain a positive attitude during my healing process - I am filled with blessings!   I truly know how lucky I am, and am so grateful for the abundance of healers, friends, and supporters I am surrounded with :)   Also, even though I' an avid supporter of so-called "alternative" or "complimentary" medicine, (the only types of health practitioners I saw for most of my adult life), I am also very, very grateful in this case for the miracles of modern medicine, and the amazing team of doctors that are working with me.   :)

If you are not able to donate funds, bless you for reading this  far, and I do have a couple of requests.

1.    Please get yourself tested for HepC.  HepC now kills more people than HIV/AIDS, even though recent discoveries now make it relatively easy to cure, and becoming easier all the time as more research is being done and "miracle" drugs are created.  (I am currently half way through a cure process, so that my new liver will find its home in a clean and HepC free body!)

2.    Please consider becoming an organ and tissue donor if you are not already! It's fast and easy to sign up, and you can save up to 8 lives with the organs donated, and enhance the lives of dozens of others with donated tissue and eyes.  :)  Please visit www.donatelife.net If you're in California, this state  is far behind many other states in organ donor awareness - please become part of the change in that statistic!

May you be blessed with good health and a positive outlook on the amazing life that is available!


Fundraiser Updates

Posted on April 29, 2017

Posted on April 29, 2017

An update in the words of my darling Laurel:

Speaking with Jillian, visiting her throughout my travels and having her welcome me into her home as a guest again and again, I am, as always, struck by her strength and bravery throughout this healing process.

The blessings and the hits keep on happening - the Yin and the Yang of life!  Jillian is weaning herself off the back brace and it is amazing to watch her being more mobile and in less pain- WAY less pain.

It is hard though to see her still pretty restricted in movement and very restricted in energy. Being Jillian, she is optimistic and incredibly positive, yet I know how difficult it is to be so clearly on the road to recovery, and then pushed back in the healing process with her recent serious fall. It is so hard to see someone who is working so hard, and is such an inspiration to so many in her recovery, not only having debilitating health issues again, but also financial hits such as major car repair, water damage in her house, a sick kitty, and of course her medical bills. The things that challenge us in life that may feel small and manageable are amplified tenfold when you are sick and in pain.

But, of course, Jillian continues to inspire me every time I talk to her. She tells me that the blessings come in every aspect of her life.   Supportive friends are still the best, and she is so grateful to them for showing up for her throughout this journey.

She also tells me that friends and professionals have been so generous in the healing arts.  With the help of feldenkrais/cranial sacral therapy, acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, and recently added physical therapy, she knows that 100% healing is right around the corner! 
While the unexpected bills pile up, Jillian is constantly looking for ways to move forward. She is gearing up for some life changes - gathering the energy to go through all of her belongings and sell off what she can in order to both raise funds, and clear out the "stuff" of her life that no longer serves, freeing her for whatever shows up next.   In Jillian’s words: “by putting this out to the world in writing, I'm hoping for the motivation, both physically and emotionally, to get it rolling sooner rather than later!”

Jillian is my second mother, dear friend, and truly an inspiration to me every day. When I want to step forward with determination and confidence, I think of all that she has taught me about being positive despite all odds.

I know that it is incredibly difficult to ask others for support and help. It can be one of the hardest things in life. But it is vital to build community, connection, and love. Over these past years I have watched so many of you reach out with kind words, rides to the doctor, food, and donations, and I am flooded with gratitude for each one of you. Most of you I have not met, but knowing that Jillian has such a caring community of friends around her gives me faith in the goodness of the world.

The journey of healing is not yet over, and I ask you from the bottom of my heart to keep Jillian in your thoughts and continue to be that strong community of support for her, whether through healing thoughts, kind words, or donations.

With endless gratitude,

Laurel


Posted on March 21, 2017

Posted on March 21, 2017

It has been a year since my last update, and I thought my next one would be the update that told the story about how fantastic and fabulous everything was.   As far as my liver goes, that IS the story - my new liver is still functioning perfectly, and I'm still filled with thanksgiving to my team of doctors, helpers, and of course my amazing and generous organ donor and his family.  There will never be enough gratefulness in the world for this gift of life!

In fact, by the end of January this year I had turned a wonder-filled corner health-wise, and was feeling stronger physically than I had in many years - my joy on the day I spent 8 hours doing hard physical work and still felt good afterwards could hardly be contained!   A couple of days later I slipped on a stair, fell, and broke my back.

Say what????

So I'm currently wearing a back brace, once again I have limited strength and mobility, and am not able to work again, but was (and am) still confident that I will get  back to that place of strength and joy.  

Then one more insult - the proverbial last straw - I found some major water damage to my home, thanks to the heavy storms that California experienced this winter, and I just found out that my claim has been denied by the insurance company.  The expensive (but necessary) repair cost convinced me that it's time to bury my pride, move back into that powerful space of being willing to receive, and reopen this fundraiser.

If any of you wonderful benefactors out there are willing and able to contribute to my getting back on my feet, I…well, I have no words at the moment, only tears, at the memory of how overwhelmed I was last year, when the generosity of so many, both known and unknown to me, helped me pay the bills, stay in my house, and get through the year with grace and gratitude.

With humility and heart, I thank you all for reading this, and if all you do is send a smile and some good wishes my way, I thank you for that. :)

With Love and Gratitude,

Jillian


Posted on March 4, 2016

Posted on March 4, 2016

I've been remiss in posting the MAJOR updates (although many of you already know the big news...).   On January 1 I got The Call, with the transplant scheduled for January 2, which just happens to be my darling Mumsy's birthday!   As it turned out, it was also my surgeon's Mom's birthday!   There were many other serendipitous "coincidences" that  happened; suffice it to say it was destined to happen and to be smooth and successful!   My Mom, RIP, was present, quite tangibly, for a few days before and several weeks after - I still get tears of gratitude in my eyes at the thought of what a loving guide she was for me, at a time when it was most needed!

I received a healthy liver from a 16 year old, and because of my (relatively) small size, I shared the liver with a baby, who also had a successful surgery :)   The healing process for the first few weeks after was amazingly fast!   People kept doing double takes when they looked at my chart and saw how recent the transplant had been, and how healthy I was looking.   I've no doubt that a huge aspect of that was due to my positive attitude and all of the incredible, loving support I was receiving from special friends around the world, including you, my contributors - bless you, bless you, bless you!

I admit that, the way things were going, a part of me thought I might be ready to jog a 10K by now, but a positive outlook only gets you so far when the body is screaming for rest lol!   You are loaded up with steroids post transplant, which give an element of immunosuppression along with LOTS of energy!   You are tapered off the steroids quickly, and tiredness sets in.   Blood tests showed that, along with the "normal" tiredness, my body is anemic, with very low iron.   Hopefully the iron supplements I'm now on will get me up and going asap!

In the meantime, work (including housework :::sigh:::) is still a ways off.   I'm able to walk and drive and do a lot of the daily tasks we take for granted....just not for too long before I need a rest.   I'm so very lucky that I'm ABLE to take the time to rest, but paying the bills is still an issue...

Any help that you can offer is SO appreciated!!!   Spreading the word is a wonderful way to help - I'm blown away by how many people who are friends of friends, or people I don't know at all, have stepped up with a kind word and a few dollars - every little bit raises my spirits and helps tremendously! 

I look forward to giving back in more tangible ways; for now my heartfelt thanks is what I offer, along with trying to spread a bit more joy and positivity into this world.  

With Love and Gratitude,

~Jillian~

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