Hello, my name is Savannah Rennie. My story is very unique. I am a 20 year old, division one, volleyball player at the University of California, Berkeley, and I am a liver transplant recipient. On June 4th, 2015, I was 19 at the time; I became very ill with a mysterious illness that we could not detect. I was diagnosed four months later with a rare, genetic liver disease called Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis with Portal hypertension. This led me to move to Indianapolis, Indiana and receive a liver transplant on May 17th, 2016. I received my transplant in 2 ½ months of moving to Indiana. I returned home to San Diego 2 ½ months post-surgery then returned to school a couple days after arriving in San Diego. I started playing volleyball again only 3 ½ months after surgery and I am 100% back playing volleyball like before the onset of my disease, going to school, and living a “normal” life.
Hello my name is Kathy Salgado but everyone knows me as Kat or 49erKat.
I’m a single Mom of 4 daughters and Grandma to my 8 beautiful grand babies. I am also the only Sister of 8 Brothers! I want my experience of fighting this liver disease to help them stay healthy.
As a cancer survivor in 2005, my nightmare began in April of 2013 when I went through extensive full body testing and cleared for stomach surgery at Stanford. During the surgery they discovered a “diseased liver” and closed me up for recovery. They referred me to a liver specialist who diagnosed me with Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. There is very little information out there on this disease and the only thing that my specialist could do for me was monitor my liver with lab work and consistent MRI’s every 6 months.
I have also done my own research on NASH and NAFLD to learn more about what it is and what I can do to be my own best advocate. I have changed my lifestyle and eating plan and lost 56 lbs. My struggle has been very hard but I refuse to let this disease take over my life. I am a fighter and will use my experience and my voice to help others like me to fight and to never give up. I also reached out to the American Liver Foundation to help connect me with other NASH patients and support groups. I’m honored to be part of this Foundation to represent the ALF Team as one of their Liver Life Walk Champions.
In 2000 I was diagnosed with Hep C w/cirhosis, was on almost every clinical trial and treatment for 16 years. Finally reached SVR after clearing virus and relapsing three times.
Was very sick most of this time while under treatment at Mayo Clinic in PHX until moved to Bay area in 2012. In the beginning they would say I had maybe a few years to live. I believed this because there were so many patients whom I had met that never showed up for clinic because they had passed away. These were very hard times for me. I was at Mayo every day during the beginning of some of the treatments for so much bloodwork and testing.some of these drugs were pretty brutal including the Interferon which I took all the way up until 2015.
After moving in with my sister in Berkeley and the incredible care I recieved from UCSF I was clear of the virus last year after relapsing a few times.
I found an American Liver Foundation support group in Walnet Creek which was a life saver and Katherine,the moderator, made such a positive impact on my life helping me get thru all the stigma, mental and physical tough times I had been thru.
Also went to Washington D.C. last March as a patient to represent the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease to advocate Liver Disease awareness in front of Congress and Senate. It was quite an experience and made me want to do more to help fight Liver Disease. Life has changed dramatically since being cured from Hep C although I am still on disability due to the cirrhosis and other physical complications I deal with.
The mission of the American Liver Foundation is to facilitate, advocate and promote education, support and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease. For more information about the American Liver Foundation visit liverfoundation.org.