Mother to donate her liver for student

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Student Bridget Fischer will receive a liver transplant Dec. 10 from her mother, Sandra Fischer, an employee of the Office of Admissions.

Since grade school, Bridget has been suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis, a disease which slowly damages the liver, her mother said. The only known cure for sclerosing cholangitis is a liver transplant.

For the past three years, Bridget has been on a waiting list for a deceased donor at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Sandra said being Bridget’s donor was not something she had “thought possible before a few years ago.”

As soon as she became aware of this possibility, Sandra contacted the clinic and began the lengthy process to become Bridget’s living donor.

Family, friends and colleagues of the Fischers worked together Oct. 21 to create a donation profile on gofundme.com in an attempt to raise money for the mother and daughter.

Funds raised will support travel and lodging costs, the procedure, extensive care and other bills that come with undergoing this surgery.

The responses to this website were “extremely unexpected,” Sandra said.

“Thank you all so much for everything raised so far. This exceeded our wildest dreams and we are just overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity,” the Fischer Fund website stated Nov. 6.

With donations from family and anonymous donors, the Fischers were able to raise $24,390 from 166 people within 28 days. Sarah Hobart, of the Office of Admissions and close friend of the family, said many staff members in the office acted as “ringleaders” to get the ball rolling for the website.

“We wanted Sandy, Bridget and their whole family to know how much we care about them, that we support them,” Hobart said. “If there’s one thing we can do to remove some of the stress, removing the financial piece was something we felt like we could do.”

The transplant has about an 80 percent success rate, in which case the liver causes no further or very few medical issues, Sandra said.

Bridget will be in recovery for around eight weeks. She will hopefully be fully recovered within a year, though she will still suffer from many “lifelong effects,” her mother said.

Bridget is currently in Minnesota, staying with a friend and former UVM student in the weeks leading up to the procedure.

Sandra will join her daughter in early December.

The mother and daughter duo are feeling “very anxious, but very hopeful and positive,” as the surgery approaches, Sandra said.

At UVM, Bridget is involved in ballroom dancing, west coast swing and other activities. She is enrolled in the College of Education and Social Services studying human development and family studies.

If you would like to contribute to the Fischer Fund or find out more about Bridget and her condition, please visit www.gofundme.com/4fischer.