Friday, November 05, 2010

An Unbreakable Bond - brother donates liver for transplant

 Brothers Brad, left, and Brody Meredith are closer than ever now. In September, Brody was a live liver donor for Brad. Photo: Maija Hoggett

By Maija Hoggett -
ALLISTON, Ontario, Canada - The nurses called him Superman. Two days after receiving a liver transplant, Brad Meredith walked down the hallway of Toronto General Hospital to his younger brother Brody’s room.

Days earlier, Brody had saved his brother’s life as the live liver donor for Brad.

The Meredith family’s ordeal began in May. Brad, 27, went into liver failure and was given 30 to 60 days to live. That was later extended to six months.

He was swollen and jaundiced when he went to Stevenson Memorial Hospital. From there he went to Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket before seeing a liver specialist at Toronto Western Hospital.

Sept. 13, a medical team at Toronto General Hospital removed 60 per cent of Brody’s healthy liver, which Brad received. A week after the transplant, both Brody and Brad were back in their Alliston home.

During their short stay at Toronto General, Brody and Brad captured the hearts of their nurses.
The day after the transplant, their parents Mike and Sheri were going between their rooms with videos and photos to show the boys how the other was doing. On day two of recovery, Brad got up and walked down to his 19-year-old brother’s room, a trip that had their nurses in tears.

“It’s been amazing. It’s a bond that can’t be broken now,” said Sheri.

Before the transplant, doctors thought Brad had cirrhosis of the liver as well as liver cancer. That diagnosis has since changed. It is now believed that Brad has autoimmune hepatitis.

Brad has come a long way since the Herald first spoke to the Meredith family in August. At that time, it was weeks before the transplant surgery was scheduled. Brad was jaundiced and the toxins from his liver were affecting his brain. After the transplant, however, the personality his family promised he had shines through.

His sense of humor is back and these days Brad said he’s “a lot more positive.”

Recovery time for the brothers is different.

Brody is giving himself needles to help prevent blood clots and within three months of the surgery he should be back to 100 per cent.

The full recovery time for the brothers is different.

Brad’s autoimmune hepatitis diagnosis means he’ll be on medication for the foreseeable future.

Within six months to two years, however, he should be back to living a normal life.

From the experience over the last year, the Merediths, and Brad in particular, have a new perspective on life and the generosity of the community.

The brothers are setting new goals for themselves after recovery.

Brad wants to open his own business and is using his downtime during recovery to come up with a business plan. He also wants to help spread awareness about his experience getting diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis and about live organ donation. He hopes he can help other people going through something similar.

Brody also has a plan.

“I’d like to get a job at Honda,” he said.

The whole ordeal has brought the family closer.

Before the surgery, Mike’s sister Sharon Pendergast organized a fundraising garage sale to help cover the cost of Mike and Sheri staying in a hotel in Toronto while their sons recovered from their surgeries.

That sale garnered the attention of their family and friends, along with people they didn’t know, who donated money and items to sell at the garage sale.

“It was over and above what we ever thought,” said Mike. “People just came out of nowhere.”

Even their newspaper carrier stepped up to help out.

Ten-year-old William Nimmo and his sister Morgan deliver the Weekend Herald and after reading about the Meredith brothers in the Herald, William decided to have his own garage sale.

He made $74.55 at the sale and donated it to the Merediths.

After donating the money, William found out that the Merediths are one of the houses on his newspaper route.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario at Trillium Gift of Life Network NEW for Ontario: - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here
In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov
In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You

1 comment:

Sheri Meredith said...

These are my boys, and I couldn't be more proud!