CLEVELAND - At 21, Chelsea Lingenfelter has big plans for the future.
She enjoys studying different languages, and she'd like to be a speech therapist and audiologist one day. But first, she's in desperate need of a liver.
"I've just been really waiting a long time," she said from her room at the Cleveland Clinic.
Chelsea had liver cancer when she was a child and her mother donated part of her liver. The cancer is gone, but over the years, post transplant complications have led to liver scarring and damage.
Chelsea was so sick that she had to drop out of college after just a couple of months. She has no energy. She has dialysis several days a week.
"She actually needs a full-size liver now," Dr. Vera Hupertz said. "She can't take a part of another person's liver, which is what she did with the first one, because there's a tendency not to work quite as well."
Nationally, more than 116,000 people are waiting for organ transplants and every 10 minutes, a new name is added to the waiting list.
Unable to donate this time, Joni Lingenfelter is doing the next best thing for her daughter.
"We're hoping to find maybe a family in a horrible situation for themselves right now that maybe have already made that decision for themselves that yes, they want to be an organ donor," she said. "And if they would happen to be O negative blood type and small body stature, if they would consider possibly donating the liver directly to Chelsea."
Friends and family have rallied around Chelsea, hosting fundraisers on her behalf. They call themselves Team Chelsea, and they're a team that's determined to win.
"I'm so thankful," Chelsea said of her team. "It's amazing."
To read more about Chelsea's story or to find out how you can help, go to http://aliverforchelsea.weebly.com/
For more information about organ donation, go to http://lifebanc.org
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