In May 2003, Andy Donnelly thought he had a gallbladder problem. His internist agreed, but scheduled a sonogram just to be sure. Andy's gallbladder was fine, but spots on his liver indicated a more serious problem.
Andy had never had any health issues, "not even a cavity," he says. "Then I came up with the weirdest cancer possible." A biopsy confirmed he had epithelioid hemangioendothelioma. This extremely rare type of cancer causes tumors in the linings of the blood vessels of the liver.
Andy's sister recommended a major cancer center in Houston. "And they basically said, 'Good luck.' There was nothing they could do for me. That wasn't real encouraging," he says.
He began showing signs of liver failure. Andy's oncologist referred him to The University of Kansas Health System to see if a liver transplant was an option. Because the cancer was contained in his liver, it was determined Andy would be a good transplant candidate and that a transplant might cure him.
"I don't like to use the word cure necessarily, but it's a heck of a good treatment option, especially when there are no other options offered," he says.