A California man offered up his prized possessions, including a kidney, in the hopes that someone would be able to save his wife’s life.
In a plea to Facebook users last week, Verlon Robinson initially offered to give up his 2004 Dodge pickup truck and a tent trailer to anyone who would be willing to donate a piece of their liver to his sick wife. However, he’s since been contacted by the hospital and said he isn’t allowed to offer material goods in exchange for an organ donation.
In the post, he added a postscript that said he has “good kidneys” and would also be willing to “throw in one.” For anyone who can help his wife, that offer still stands, he said.
Robinson, 55, has been married to Marie for 25 years, he told Fox News on Tuesday. About three years ago, Marie’s doctor noticed some spots on her chest. After some tests, she was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.
Cirrhosis can occur when a liver is damaged, forming scar tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic. But the more scar tissue that forms, the less functional a liver becomes.
Marie and Robinson often travel from their home in Sanger, California, to San Francisco -- more than three hours away -- for doctors' appointments and tests. Marie, who is also diabetic and has recently lost about 70 pounds, is on a transplant list, but she isn’t high enough to receive a liver from on organ donor who has died yet, her husband said.
And by the time she is high enough on that list, Robinson worries that she’ll be out of time to wait.
So Robinson is taking matters into his own hands. He has asked that anyone who has O-positive or O-negative blood type to apply to the UCSF Medical Center to see if they could qualify to donate a piece of their liver to his wife. His insurance would cover the procedure, he said.
“I just love my wife. If I could take her place, I would,” Robinson told Fox News. “I believe God put her in my life and changed me and gave me a new heart for life.”
Robinson said he’s been fielding messages left and right ever since his Facebook post began to go viral. Some people have applied to see if they can donate; others share messages of encouragement or advice. Many said they would not have taken his truck if they are a match.
“I just love my wife. If I could take her place, I would.”
For now, Marie, 61, sleeps in a hospital bed in their home with her husband right beside her in a recliner. And despite her health battles, she’s still smiling, Robinson said.
“She wants to live, and I see her going through all this, and it breaks my heart,” he said.
According to the UCSF Medical Center, a recipient can get a piece of a liver from a living donor because that organ is able to regenerate and grow. It said livers can regenerate within eight weeks.
Acceptable donors must be between 18 and 55 years old and in good health, meaning not overweight, no psychiatric illnesses and no smoking habits, according to the medical center. The liver must also be a gift and not coerced.
The process to become a donor can take from four to six months, according to UCSF.
In April, the Robinsons celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. But if Marie can get a new liver, Robinson plans to take his wife out to really celebrate.
Those who wish to do so can apply to become a living liver donor through the UCSF Medical Center. Marie’s date of birth is January 12, 1957.
This story has been updated.