HANOVER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (FOX19) – A Butler County woman is hoping to receive the gift of life as she battles two chronic diseases.
Rhonda Griffin said she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 2. She has been in and out of hospitals since then, and at times, life has been tough.
“You just keep going. It’s one day at a time,” Griffin said. “You’re climbing a mountain, but when you have a team behind you, it’s made a whole lot easier.”
The Mayo Clinic describes Crohn’s as an “inflammatory bowel disease” that can cause a number of symptoms, including pain, fatigue and malnutrition.
On top of that, Griffin says she has a liver disease.
“It’s called primary sclerosing cholangitis, which is a mouthful, but it means that scar tissue starts to build up around my bile ducts of my liver, so my liver isn’t able to properly filter my blood,” Griffin said.
In 2004, Griffin had a liver transplant, and she says for awhile things went well. Recently, though, she learned she now needs half of another liver.
“My liver is just not functioning as well as they want it to, so the urgency has grown since July,” Griffin said.
Without a transplant, the 35-year-old’s condition is expected to worsen, and Griffin says her symptoms are already growing more aggressive.
“It was a shock,” Corey Griffin, Rhonda Griffin’s husband, said. “It was a shock for everybody, and it was no question for me or anybody else, ‘Hey, we’re here to help and be with you every moment of the way.’”
Knowing that she needs to find a living donor, Griffin started her own Facebook page called “Sliver of a Liver for Rhonda.” The support so far has been outstanding.
“I’m very, very fortunate to have just a great team of warriors and supporters and sending lots of prayers and hope and love all my way,” Griffin said.
Although Griffin is sharing her story primarily to find herself a match, she says she is also using her experience to spread the word about organ donation and is encouraging others to consider giving what she calls the most generous gift they could give.
“To have somebody who is alive and that I can actually hug and say thank you and show them how grateful I am, I can’t even imagine how wonderful that would be for me,” Griffin said.
Griffin says she does a lot of work with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and encourages people to learn more about it.
Anyone interested in seeing if they could be Griffin’s donor can visit the Indiana University Health Hospital’s website for more information.
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