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Wheeling Native Seeks Living Liver Donor

Photo by Joselyn King Dale Stauffer, right, currently seeking a liver transplant, relaxes on the couch alongside grandd

WHEELING — Wheeling native Dale Stauffer has been living with liver disease for eight years, and he is in need of a “living donor” willing to donate a portion of their liver organ.

Stauffer, 67, lived over 62 years in Wheeling before relocating with wife Karen to the Columbus area to be closer to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He has been diagnosed with NASH (Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis), a nonalcoholic form of cirrhosis of the liver.

Medical experts at OSU later determined they couldn’t do a transplant for Stauffer there.

“The doctors told us it would be ‘too complicated,'” Karen Stauffer said. “We later found out that UPMC in Pittsburgh is number one in the country for transplants. If we would have known that, we would have stayed in Wheeling.”

The Stauffers remain living in Newark, Ohio. Dale Stauffer, meanwhile, is now on the transplant list at UPMC awaiting a liver. Living donors can be family members, friends, or even a stranger who is willing to help.

A patient on the transplant list and their potential living donor don’t even need to have the same blood type.

According to the UPMC website, to be a living donor, one needs only “to be physically and mentally healthy, with no history of illnesses involving any major organs, as this could complicate surgery.”

During a living-donor liver transplant, only a portion of a healthy adult’s liver is what is transplanted into the patient.

“The liver has the unique ability to regenerate, or regrow, in just a few months, leaving both the living donor and the recipient with a fully functioning liver …,” according to the UPMC information.

“While the recovery process can vary, most people who receive a living-donor liver transplant experience faster recovery times and improved outcomes compared to people who receive a deceased-donor liver transplant.”

About 50% of the donor’s liver is removed, though the liver regenerates itself in about eight to 10 weeks. Donors typically remain in the hospital for up to a week, and usually no medications are needed after leaving the hospital.

Stauffer was employed for 21 years at the former Blaw Knox foundry in Wheeling. After the plant closed, he went to work for Norfolk Southern Railroad out of Mingo Junction. He and Karen Stauffer have been married 43 years. Stauffer has two adult sons, and four grandchildren.

Those interested in donating a portion of their liver to Stauffer should contact the family at DKMKS@comcast.net

More information about the procedure can be found at UPMC’s website at https://www.upmc.com/services/transplant/liver/living-donor/faq.

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