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Liver Transplant Patient and Family Look to the Future

By Staff | Feb 1, 2017

Photo Provided Eric Gorby sits with mother-in-law and his grandchildren.

On Jan. 19, Wetzel County resident Eric Gorby received a new lease on life, a liver transplant.

Eric and his wife Karen reside in Wetzel County and are the parents of two sons, William and Andrew, along with a daughter, Brittany (deceased).

In summer of 2016, Gorby had to quit his decades-long job as an employee of Witschey’s Galaxy in New Martinsville, due to his illness.

Up until that time, many would probably recognize Eric as the smiling and cheerful Witschey’s employee, who would never fail to issue a friendly greeting and offer of help.

Perhaps many were unaware though that, despite his cheerful demeanor, Eric was fighting an underlying battle. For 22 years, Gorby had battled with liver disease.

According to Karen, despite the battle, Eric still managed to be “a great husband, father, and grandfather.”

He still managed to work for many years, despite his illness, and furthermore, he volunteered at The Second Harvest Food Pantry, and in his church until he was stricken down in December by his illness.

Now Eric is in need of help though.

Karen has worked two jobs to “make ends meet,” yet she has taken time off of work to take care of Eric. He is currently at Cleveland Clinic, and the bills are mounting. The Gorbys’ insurance does not cover all of Eric’s medical bills, and insurance pays nothing on the Gorbys’ room at the transplant house at Cleveland Clinic.

The Gorbys will be in Cleveland for a while due to Eric needing frequent labwork, as well as check-ups by his doctors.

Furthermore, “(doctors) want us close so Eric could be readmitted, if need be, for abnormal labs or any signs of rejection,” explained Karen.

A Go Fund Me account can be accessed online, titled “Erics Medical Fund.” This fund will help with Eric’s medical cost, travel expenses, as well as the cost of medication that the Gorbys’ insurance does not cover.

“Any help would be greatly appreciated,” explained Karen.

Karen also said that, for those who do not want to use Go Fund Me, Union Bank has also enabled individuals to make a deposit into the Gorbys’ checking account. Union Bank will keep track of the donations.

According to the Go Fund Me page for Eric, any funds raised beyond the Gorbys’ expenses will be donated to others in similar circumstances.

And in an update published to the Go Fund Me page, Karen thanked everyone that has donated thus far. “(The funds) help with lodging and medical expenses that insurance doesn’t cover while I am on leave and not receiving any pay.”

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Facts On Organ Donation:

Every 10 minutes, a person is added to the waiting list for an organ. There are approximately 120,000 men, women and children awaiting a transplant. Twenty-two people die each day waiting for an organ, and approximately 8,000 deaths occur every year in the United States because organs are not donated in time. Even though 95 percent of individuals are in favor of being a donor, only 52 percent are registered to do such.

Most of us have had the opportunity, while at the Division of Motor Vehicles, to sign up to be an organ donor. Whether it is when filling out the paperwork to receive our driver’s license, or when renewing our driver’s license, we have the opportunity to checkmark on our paperwork to sign up to be an organ donor.

An individual doesn’t have to await a trip to the DMV to sign up to save a life however. Registration is also available via Donate Life America, www.donatelife.net

By inputting some simple and basic information – name, date of birth, address, state, last four digits of social security number, and e-mail address – a person can be registered to be an organ donor within mere minutes.

A person who is willing to donate his or her organs, cornea, and tissue, could save up to eight lives.