PEI

This P.E.I. man needs a new liver — his wife is getting the word out

The 52-year-old hockey fan and husband has a rare liver disease. He's looking for someone who's blood type matches his own — someone who's willing to give him part of their liver.

A 'living donor' could help save Kevin Clements' life

Kevin and Josephine Clements have renovated the main floor of their home in Montrose to try to meet Kevin's needs. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Kevin Clements is looking for the perfect match.

The 52-year-old hockey fan and husband has a rare liver disease. He's looking for someone whose blood type matches his own — someone who's willing to give him part of their liver.

"Even from the last six months I've seen where it's gotten worse so I'm scared within the next six months I might not make it and that scares the death out of me," said Clements.

Clements spends most of his days in a hospital-style bed in the living room of his house in Montrose, about 70 kilometres north of Summerside. A home oxygen machine helps him breathe. His wife Josephine is his primary caregiver. She's also become his advocate as they reach out to the community for potential donors.

Most liver transplants are made possible by donation from someone who has recently died. In Clements' case, doctors are taking the less common route — searching for someone still living to donate just part of their liver.

'It's overwhelming,' says Clements. 'We're staying strong.' (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"Now that Kevin is getting so bad, we really have no choice but to go this route," said Josephine, perched on the side of her husband's bed.

Josephine hosted an information meeting Sunday at a local hotel, to get the word out. The ideal candidate: a man or woman between ages 16 and 60, preferably a non-smoker, and a healthy weight. Blood type A or O.   

The operation would be performed in Toronto General Hospital, according to Clements. For the donor, the operation might take five to eight hours. Kevin's end of the bargain is more complex. His condition — hepatopulmonary syndrome — is marked by difficulty breathing and low blood-oxygen levels due to liver disease.

'We really have no choice but to go this route,' says Josephine Clements. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"If he makes it through the surgery, then he will be in an induced coma two to four months," said Josephine. "To allow his veins to regenerate on their own."

Relatives of the Clements who are potential matches are being checked to see if they could donate.

Kevin says he's touched by their generosity.

"It's pretty overwhelming really," said Clements. "I don't think I'm going to make it unless we get some donor soon.... We're still staying strong."

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About the Author

Brian Higgins shoots video and reports news on Prince Edward Island.