Donations for life
Liver gift saves woman

by Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 22/98) - Joan Schollar is living proof donating organs saves lives.

With her body increasingly fatigued, and her skin increasingly yellow, the long-time Yellowknife resident waited for a needed liver.

"I was quite jaundiced," she said of her two-month stay at an Edmonton hospital late last fall.

Diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhoses four years earlier, Schollar endured regular blood tests so doctors could see how the disease was progressing and affecting her liver enzyme count.

Finally, when her liver enzyme count started to rise, a transplant became necessary.

"They don't want to do it unless they absolutely have to," the 45-year-old said.

Though most people with PBC will likely one day need a transplant, the operation, complete with its 70-per-cent survival rate, will not be done as long as the enzyme counts remain stable.

Schollar felt very tired before the transplant. Sometimes she felt nauseous. She found comfort in the bible.

She went to a ceremony at Yellowknife's Calvary Community Church to live out a passage from the Bible where elders called on the sick to anoint them with oil. She cites another biblical passage about "our days are numbered since before we are born," and believes strongly in making vital body parts accessible after death.

"I'm very grateful to the organ donor, even though we've never met," she said in the living room of her log cabin house. "Otherwise I wouldn't be here today. I wouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing my daughter marry Myron last year."

Though fine now, Schollar still takes anti-rejection drugs morning and night so her immune system does not reject her liver.

Meanwhile, Bill Adkins at Mutual Life Insurance is promoting awareness of a campaign called Mutual Consent where people sign a card to show they wish to help others by donating organs such as their heart, lungs or kidneys.

"One person can help save the life of seven others through donating organs," he said last week.

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