Meet Dean Lassetter’s great niece, Sophie! At three years old, Sophie was in the hospital when doctors discovered her liver numbers were elevated. She was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and autoimmune hepatitis. “Both diseases are primarily autoimune,” she explains, “meaning that my immune system basically attacks the cells of my liver which over time causes inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and ultimately liver failure.”
Sophie was put on the liver transplant list at the age of eleven and it took more than four years for her to receive a transplant. But her disease never held Sophie back. She attended school and figure skated competitively. “I was really lucky that I was able to do most everything I wanted even with my disease progressing and my symptoms worsening,” Sophie acknowledges.
Sophie is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Utah and she hopes to attend medical school in the future. “I’m interested and invested in advancing treatments and increasing knowledge of medicine, specifically [for] liver disease, so we can get closer to [the American Liver Foundation’s] mission of a world without liver disease.” It’s no wonder that Dean Lassetter refers to her niece as a hero.
Sophie’s is just one story of liver disease. You can help others like Sophie by visiting www.donatelife.net/register/ to register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor.