Love, laugh, liver: the gift of life

Love, laugh, liver: the gift of life
Dale and Liz Sutherland

By Valerie Posthumus

The Haldimand Press

DUNNVILLE—A chance reading of a newspaper article in January 2020 inspired Irene Bowden to answer the call for a live liver donor – a lifesaving decision.

“I hadn’t realized until that day that a person can be a living liver donor!” explained Bowden, who lives in Dunnville. “I was pretty excited to hear that and wanted to help.”

The article shared the story of Dale Sutherland of Ancaster, his wife Liz, and his urgent need for a liver. Dale was given only eight months to live in May of 2018. To give himself a better chance, he more than doubled his weekly exercise routine, which extended his time by a few years before he would need to find a match.

A phone number was provided, so Bowden sent a text message that day to inquire. Liz directed her to the Toronto University Health Network (UHN) and she went online to fill out the paperwork. She also did a great deal of research and, with the support of family and friends, Bowden underwent the extensive testing and pre-op preparations. Out of four people who agreed to be tested, Bowden was the only match and Dale’s only hope. She was ready to become a donor and, after surgery was delayed once due to anomalies in testing, she underwent a 12-hour operation where they removed 70% of her liver in November.

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