I knew I needed to beat this disease
Gareth Evans, 44, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of his liver transplant, following years of alcoholism.
The successful media professional became hooked on alcohol beyond his greatest fears in 2012 after self-medicating to shield mental health issues, which led to a life-threatening addiction.
I was drinking a lot. Before it was too late, I was on at least 2 litres of spirits a day; drinking for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I remember one evening, a colleague and I went out after work – I was living in Manchester at the time, and I had consumed so much alcohol that on our way into town I started having seizures on the tram.
In November 2017, Gareth was diagnosed with severely advanced liver disease, after his husband, Stephen came home to find the veins around Gareth’s esophagus had burst and blood had seeped out into the body.
The doctor talked me through the severity of my situation, and something clicked, and I knew I needed to beat this disease, or I was going to die. I stopped drinking and I was put onto the transplant list. I needed to turn my guilt into gratitude and focused on the future as I started my journey towards recovery.
I was slowly dying and after three weeks I had the call I was waiting for - a liver was waiting for me. At first, I didn’t feel worthy, but I knew I needed to keep positive. My partner Stephen and I endured the anxious motorway journey to Queen Elizabeth Hospital however the call turned out to be one of four ‘dress rehearsals’. Each liver was unsuitable, either because of their health or size.
In July 2019, Gareth underwent a 12-hour transplant and his new liver was inserted. After months of rejection and complications, Gareth’s organ is now functioning, and he is extremely positive and hopeful for the future.
As a liver transplant patient, organ donation is a huge life-changer for both recipient and donor family. The lifesaving gesture is something I found hard to come to terms with, but I’m positive now and I’ll always remember the gift that my donor has given me.