My name is Andrew Styles and I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2000. I hope my personal experiences help others by inspiring them to share their own stories. Anyone can get the Hepatitis C virus (HCV or Hep C): women, men, gay, straight, young and old; it does not discriminate.
Every year, more than 1 million Americans develop liver damage caused by prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and dietary and herbal supplements. The condition, known as drug-induced liver injury (DILI), can result in severe liver disease that requires transplantation. There are no tests to predict who is at risk, or to help physicians make an early diagnosis, which would prevent progressive liver damage.
For his long-time friend, Jill Christensen—who worked with him in the athletics department at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y.—the news was a call to action. “I just knew I would get tested [to become a donor],” she says. But it turned out that Ms. Christensen’s kidneys were not an appropriate match.
It was the longest drive of Kelly Smith’s life: four hours in an ambulance from Syracuse, N.Y., to The Mount Sinai Hospital beside her 9-day-old daughter, Matilda, who was critically ill. Seemingly healthy on the day she was born in early September, Matilda had become lethargic and sick after nursing only a few days later. Tests in Syracuse revealed acute neonatal liver failure—a rare, life-threatening condition. Matilda’s best hope was a liver transplant.