liver disease is often associated with poor lifestyle choices, or an
elder person's disease, the truth is that liver disease is estimated to
affect 30 million people or 1 in 10 U.S. residents; many of whom lead
healthy, active lifestyles. That said, 70% of those living with liver
disease are completely UNAWARE of their illness.
In an effort to break the stigma and lack of awareness of liver disease, the New England Division of the American Liver Foundation® recently launched an awareness campaign called "The Face of Liver Disease." The campaign was supported by an outdoor billboard in Boston, Public Service Announcements, and a dedicated webpage on their division website.
The billboard copy featured three faces from the New England area:
- Tigerlily White of Falmouth, ME, is a spunky 12-year-old, who was born with a rare form of biliary atresia - a liver disease without a cure and a cause
that is not fully understood. Her mother Crystal was able to donate half of her
liver to replace Tigerlily’s. Today, 10+ years post-transplant, Tigerlily is
living a healthy, happy life.
Burke was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 12
and then Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis at age 24. From age 24 to 27,
Brian lived in and out of the hospital for days, sometimes weeks, and lost 100
pounds. After thinking the end was near, Brian went to the extreme and
explored having a “live donor” liver transplant, where ultimately, in 2001 it
was determined that his brother-in-law was best suited for the surgery and
willing to risk his life to save Brian’s. 60% of his brother-in-law’s
liver was successfully removed and transplanted to Brian, and today, Brian is
living an active, healthy live 10+ years post-transplant.
- Michael Kim of Newton, MA, was diagnosed with hepatitis B at age 18 and
was treated with a course of interferon and didn’t feel the need to change his
lifestyle. Fast forward to 2004, when Michael’s liver enzymes spiked
astronomically and threatened his life. He completely changed his life: began
exercising; quit drinking alcohol and turned to a liver-friendly diet. Running
became a hobby and, suddenly, Michael was 50 pounds lighter. Michael began
running the Boston Marathon for ALF’s Run for Research® team, and to date,
Michael is one of the team’s largest fundraisers, garnering over $10,000.