HOLLAND, Mich — It's a busy day at Fellinlove Farm in Laketown Township. The sun is slowly melting the snow. There is laughter in the crisp country air as humans bond with horses, goats, pigs, cats, and more. Everything feels almost perfect.
But there's one thing missing at the farm: the presence of longtime volunteer Scott Bryers.
"Oh my gosh. Scott is one of our dearest friends. He's more like a family member than a friend. We love him so very, very much," says the farm's founder Cheryl Kaletka.
"But he also serves this amazing goal and purpose here at the farm. He is on our board of directors, and he handles some fundraising opportunities. He comes during events like today, where we have volunteer experiences. He loves to work with all of our guests that come here. He brings his own family and friends here. He is just a huge part of our farm. But of course, right now, he is undergoing some great struggles."
Chemotherapy and radiation were able to eliminate Scott's liver cancer, but now his liver is not functioning.
"It's been a really rough past couple of months, and really, truly a very rough last couple of years. When your liver is not functioning, the side effects are just awful. They're terrible," said Scott's daughter Colleen Bryers.
Scott is in the hospital and waiting for a partial liver donation from a living donor that could save his life. The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate itself.
"You can take up to 60 to 70% of someone's liver, and that person can still function normally, and after a six-week period, the liver is going to regenerate to its full size again. I think that's something that a lot of people don't realize," Colleen said.
"It's sort of a temporary inconvenience, and we know it's a lot to ask of someone. But we know that my dad would definitely do this for somebody else."
Friends and family have stepped up to donate, but so far no one has been a good fit. In order to donate to Scott, you need to be between 21 and 55 years old. You have to have type O+, O-, or A blood. You also have to have a body mass index of under 35.
"You really have to be in tip-top condition. They're looking for the healthiest person with the healthiest liver. They aren't going to do anything that's going to potentially put the donor and any sort of risk or harm's way," Colleen said.
The University of Michigan Health, where Scott is receiving treatment, has provided a list of other things people need to know about becoming a living donor.
Scott's family, and people at the farm have been working to get his story to as many people as they can. They've put up flyers, posted on social media, and there are even decals in the back window of vehicles asking people for help.
"I'm going to go to the ends of the earth here in order to just make people aware that living donation is a possibility. If you're a healthy person, then you have the ability to change someone's life. You have the ability to change a family's whole world," Colleen said.
If you think you might be a good fit and you'd like to donate, you can email Liver4Scotty@gmail.com or call 630-917-1404.
Even if you're not a good match for her dad, Colleen says she wants to use Scott's story to inspire people to learn more about living and deceased organ donation opportunities.
"You have people that still are not registered as an organ donor with the DMV and so those are things that also need to change," she said.
"We need to make people aware that if someone passes away and they're an organ donor, they may be able to save 25 different people in different capacities. You can donate a piece of your eye or your skin. It's just so powerful. Everything can be used in order to help someone else."
The Michigan Department of State has everything you need to know about registering to become an organ donor in Michigan.
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