Calgary man makes public plea for liver donation as health deteriorates

Click to play video: 'Can you help? Calgary man makes life-saving plea for liver donation'
Can you help? Calgary man makes life-saving plea for liver donation
WATCH: Liver disease is on the rise in Canada but still nearly 30 per cent of people on the transplant list never receive one. A Calgary man made his plea public in hopes of finding a selfless stranger who can forever change his life. Lauren Pullen reports. – Jan 22, 2020

It’s a life most of us would envy: travelling the world to capture breathtaking photos, not just as a passion but a career.

Jonathan Ferguson, 39, has been to 78 countries and has sold his photography around the world.

“It’s the memories that are more important than anything else,” Ferguson said. “Positive times are now few and far between so I need those to look back on.”

In 2008, Ferguson’s health started to go downhill and now he is in the fight of his life.

“I couldn’t digest anything. I was living on smoothies… I had no idea what was wrong with me. I had horrible acid reflux, crazy heartburn and these attacks I couldn’t explain what they were,” said Ferguson.

“I saw a dozen doctors. I was told everything from ‘Drink more milk’ to ‘You have cancer.'”

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LISTEN BELOW: Jonathan Ferguson joins the Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED on Jan. 14, 2020.

Eventually, he was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a liver disease with no known cause and no cure except a transplant.

Ferguson needs someone who is blood type O, around 170 to 200 pounds and willing to make trips to Edmonton for consultations and surgery.

Alberta Health Services reported that 101 transplants were done in the province in 2019 and there are currently 70 patients awaiting a liver transplant.

Ferguson is on the transplant list but has no idea how long he will have to wait. According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, between 20 and 30 per cent of people on the transplant list never get that transplant.

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While he waits, Ferguson’s health continues to deteriorate. So, he took matters into his own hands and made a public plea online in hopes of finding a donor. His post has been shared nearly 3,000 times.

He is advocating not only for himself but is also using his platform to push the life-saving importance of organ donation.

“This is much bigger than me. There are thousands of people across Canada that are waiting for organs and many of them won’t get them,” he said.

According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, liver disease is on the rise in Canada and between 2005 and 2013, the death rate rose by nearly 30 per cent.

As for the transplant process, the donor’s liver grows back to almost its original size within a few months and it is considered very safe.

If you would like to see if you’re a match for Ferguson, you can contact the liver donor clinic in Edmonton at 1-866-253-6833 and say you’d like to be a potential liver donor for Jonathan Ferguson.

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