Burnley teaching assistant on a crusade to increase the number of living organ donors after donating 70% of her liver to her brother-in-law

Hayley Basterfield wants to publicize the program after she herself donated 70% of her liver to her brother-in-law, Lee Lewis, after being diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis. Known as PSC, this is a condition that means Lee’s bile ducts were narrowing and bile was left inside his liver, causing damage.

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Hayley, 31, said: “So many people don’t realize you can be a living organ donor.

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Hayley Basterfield donated 70% of her liver to her brother-in-law Lee Lewis. Her mission is now to encourage more people to become living organ donors.

“I didn’t realize it until we found out about Lee’s condition and how he could be helped.”

Hayley came forward as a donor after doctors told Lee, who is married to Hayley’s sister Zoe, that he would need a liver transplant after a few years of procedures to help with bile drainage . But they also said that since he was considered “in good health”, he should find a living donor.

Living donor liver transplantation has been performed successfully in the UK since 1995.

Hayley, who works at Christ the King Primary School, said: “I remember clearly the day Zoe told me about living giving, we were having coffee at a garden center

Hayley Basterfield (left) with her brother-in-law Lee Lewis, to whom she donated 70% of her liver, and his wife Zoe, who is Hayley’s sister

“I said I never knew you could donate part of your liver even though I knew you could donate a kidney.

Hayley, who is the mother of Ella Rose (six), decided to do her own research to find out what was involved and she got in touch with St James’s Hospital in Leeds, one of only three hospitals in the United Kingdom which is leading the operations, to present its name to become a donor.

The process was delayed as Hayley married husband Dale in December 2018, and there was another six-month delay when it was discovered she had an underactive thyroid. Then the pandemic hit and everything was put on hold.

Due to take place in December 2021, the operation was postponed until January and then the surgical team had to stop halfway because they thought Hayley’s liver was too small, a very rare event.

The operation was canceled four more times to make way for more transplants and finally took place in April.

Hayley said: “It’s been an absolute rollercoaster of a trip, but it was worth it and I would do it again. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

“Lee is healthy and leading a normal life and we are making plans for the future as a family.”

Around 900 people in the UK undergo liver transplantation each year. At the end of each year, around 600 people with liver disease on the UK transplant list are not transplanted and are still waiting for a liver – and the number is growing.

Fifteen to twenty percent of patients on the transplant list die or are removed each year while waiting for an organ.

For more information on how to become a living donor go to https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/become-a-living-donor/

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