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Bowling fundraiser set to help Norman transplant recipient

Even after a liver transplant, expenses can be extensive. The average liver transplant costs $575,000, and according to the National Foundation for Transplants, a recipient will need a lifetime of follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications, which are quite costly.
BY TIFFANY BROWN Published: April 20, 2013

A fundraiser will be held in Moore to assist a Norman resident who recently received a lifesaving organ transplant.

Eleven years ago, life for Sherrie Autry took a dramatic turn as she was hit with news of her illness.

In 2001, Autry was diagnosed after the birth of her third daughter with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a disease that caused her liver's bile ducts to swell and scar.

Autry was told by doctor's a liver transplant was vital to save her life and put on a transplant list in April 2012. On Feb. 8, Autry, 58, received the lifesaving liver transplant.

Debra Lewis, who has known Autry for more than 50 years, described how the illness impacted Autry.

The day before Autry was told she had a matching donor, her family and friends were discussing how to help Autry.

Lewis recalled how she thought Autry might die before the end of the month if she did not receive the transplant.

Autry's skin was yellow and her face was sunken in.

“She looked like she was on death's bed,” Lewis said.

The next day family and friends were relieved to hear she was going to get a new liver. Within days Autry looked better, Lewis said.

“Almost immediately after the transplant I felt better,” Autry said.

She is still recovering from the transplant.

“I'm still having some soreness and I'm still building my strength up,” Autry said.

While Autry's health insurance covered the cost of the transplant, she still has to pay for medical bills from follow-up care and medication she needs to keep her new liver healthy. Cost includes insurance co-pays for doctors' visits and medicine.

The average liver transplant costs $575,000, according to the National Foundation for Transplants, Autry will need a lifetime of follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. These medications are costly, and they're as important to her survival as the transplant itself, the foundation stated.

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