Kurt Garrett is not living the life he thought he would be at 23. Just last summer, he was pitching in three softball leagues, wakeboarding, playing golf and enjoying life in Santa Cruz with his girlfriend of four years.
Garrett was within one semester of graduation at San Jose State University and was already working a public relations job at a Silicon Valley tech company when he was forced to put his life on hold. The genetic liver disease he’s battled since 2008, nearly killed him.
“At this point, it’s become so bad that I need a liver transplant to survive,” Garrett said.
He suffers from Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a disease that blocks his bile ducts, robs his body of its fat and muscle and turns his eyes and skin a deep yellow color.
He is tenth in line for a transplant at Stanford University and fourth in line at The Lied Transplant Center in Omaha, Nebraska. As he waits for the transplant, his older brother Kyle Garrett of San Clemente, Calif. is trying to raise the money through a moving four-minute video on YouTube titled, “My Brother Needs Your Help.”
In the video, Garrett’s brother tells his story through notecards and photos he holds up to the camera.
“Honestly it really hit me, it hit me really hard and I never would’ve expected it to be as emotional as it was,” Garrett said of his older brother’s video.
Other people were moved by the video as well. It’s gotten nearly 3,000 views on YouTube and people are sharing it on other social media sites. And the video is generating donations in Garrett’s name at Transplants.org as well.
Garrett estimates the surgery costs will be more than $500,000 and he calculates that one of the ten anti-rejection drugs he’ll need for the rest of his life will cost him $1,000 a month, after insurance.
Still, he says he is trying to be positive and stay strong so he can eventually get back to his active life and finish his degree. He’s not willing to discuss what his prognosis is if he doesn’t get a liver transplant.
“That’s really not an option, I know I’m going to get a transplant and I’m going to be okay, that’s not even an option in my mind, honestly,” he said with conviction.
Here’s the link to the National Foundation for Transplants if you'd like to donate.