May 7, 2018
Brandon Facon has lived a life full of doctors appointments, hospital stays, countless blood draws and thousands of pills and through it all he has been my hero. He has always said, “I don’t know why I was given this challenge in life, but I will make the most of it.” That is why, after being diagnosed with Auto-Immune Hepatitis, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis and Crohns at the age of eight, he became an advocate for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He wanted to help people and their families living with Crohns and Colitis. He became the “Face of Crohns” for the Rolf Benirschke Legacy Golf Tournament and was a speaker at their annual fundraiser for over ten years. After eight years, Brandon’s liver deteriorated to a point where he needed a liver transplant. He was jaundice, tired and slept all the time. He had to finish high school on home hospital. We sold our house, moved into an apartment and after graduation, he and my mom moved to Indiana because the wait time there was only weeks compared to years in California. That is when we learned that Indiana is an “opt out” state, which means that you are automatically a donor unless you “opt out.”
After waiting only seven and a half weeks, Brandon received the “perfect” liver! We now celebrate 8-10-12 as his 2nd birthday! Brandon and my mom returned home in November, just in time for Thanksgiving. We had so much to be thankful for!
While he was home recuperating from the transplant, he added Donate Life to his personal causes and began speaking to high school students about the importance of being a donor. He wants to change California to an “opt out” state, so that it will shorten the wait time for patients on the transplant waiting list.
After taking the year off to recuperate from the transplant, he started college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo studying Engineering. Managing his health while attending school proved to be difficult. For the last three years, he has suffered with daily nausea, jaundice and extreme fatigue. His disease of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis is back and has resulted in chronic Intrahepatic Ductopenic Rejection and Cirrhosis of the liver. Brandon needs to have a 2nd Liver Transplant. His case will be presented April 27th in order to get on the Transplant list. Because it still takes about 3+ years in California, the plan is to let Brandon finish college in June and then Brandon and my mom will move to Indiana and wait for his 2nd “perfect” liver.
Brandon needs our help! He is humble and would never ask for himself, but as his sister and as a long-time admirer of his courage, his spirit and his downright perseverance, I’m saying it. There’s no way of sugar-coating this: Brandon needs this transplant! It’s obviously a very serious surgery, and one that I know he is not looking forward to enduring, but he perseveres by staying focused on the hope of feeling better and regaining his strength and energy. Thankfully our health insurance will cover the transplant, but there are aspects of care and recovery (including the high deductible, copays, medication, living expenses in Indiana, and much more), which are not covered by insurance.
For the first year after a transplant, a patient remains at high risk for rejection, and there are many costs associated with monitoring and guarding against this, as well as with recuperation. After-care is crucial, and it’s expensive. That’s where we can help.
Brandon’s transplant team has advised that he should have a large contingency fund in place, which can be put towards these costs. The sums are enormous, so I’m setting up this fundraising campaign. Please give what you can and spread the word.
Brandon Facon is an amazing brother and person. He is facing a very tough time ahead and we can help make it a little easier and less stressful.
Thank you for reading Brandon’s story and for considering a donation. Here’s a brief note from Brandon:
I am proud that I have been able to make a positive contribution with my life so far and hope I have been worthy of it. Living with chronic health issues is a challenge, but living at all can be a challenge. I have been lucky to have a mission and to know it from a very young age. People work their whole lives to leave their mark on this world with the desire to make a difference, to be remembered, to be someone’s hero. They go to school to gain knowledge so that they will achieve success, some develop their talents in athletics, music, or theater to be in the spotlight, while others choose to get married and raise families. The paths may be different, yet the desire is the same. People want to make a difference, to be remembered, to be someone’s hero.
My first liver donor, Erica, didn’t know at the time, but she would become my hero just six years after she made that selfless decision and I am forever grateful. I pray now for my next liver donor and am thankful for their decision to be a donor.
I want to thank you in advance for your donations, for you are making a difference in my life. I know my health will be restored! I have so much to accomplish and need to get busy living my life to the fullest and cherishing each and every day! And yes, like Erica, I have that pink dot on my license too, do you?