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Home / US / Erika Zak, mother who has inspired millions in her fight for a liver, dies at the age of 39

Erika Zak, mother who has inspired millions in her fight for a liver, dies at the age of 39

Her death occurred after a liver was released on Thursday afternoon, and her transplant team at the Cleveland Clinic hurried to prepare her for the operation, Powers team and family said after waiting for more than a year for this moment, he said. Before the surgery, Erika could spend time with the couple's 5-year-old daughter, Loïe.

"Yesterday, the stars straightened out when we were in hospital for unrelated medical intervention, and one organ was miraculously available for transplant immediately, so we were so excited and rushed our daughter in half Spend an hour with Erika. " The family said in a statement. "Then she quickly went to the operating room, but deep down in practice her body obviously could not handle the trauma She died during the operation.

" While our family was devastated by the loss of our beautiful wife, Mother is, daughter, sister and friend, we would like to express our deepest thanks to all those who supported Erika and our family in these very difficult weeks, months and years. Through her perseverance in life, Erika embodied hope and gave an example of strength.

Erika's army inspired her

In a phone conversation, her husband fought tears.

"It's more than devastating," Powers said. She loved Loïe more than anything else, fought desperately to be with her. It's just annoying that she was not allowed to spend a day, weeks, or years healthy with Loïe.

He said the family was "forever grateful" for the outpouring of the love Erika received ̵

1; that she was inspired by "Erika's Army," the social media warriors who embraced her cause and have spread their history far and wide. She has kept her sense of humor and her zest for life to the end.

"She was so thankful for what happened in the past week." Powers said.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page for their funeral and other expenses. You asked for privacy to mourn during this time.
  Erika Zak, a cancer survivor, said the liver disease is agonizing:

In her last conversation with CNN, Erika described why she spoke out: " It just feels like it's a battle, and it should not be like that, it's shit, because most people do not know they can fight back. "

" There is more that I see I want more life that I want to live, "she said.

From death, she said, "I'm more afraid of what I'm leaving behind."

"I basically spend a lot of time dreaming about what I want to do with Loie and Scott when I do healthy and where I want to go, "she said.

She longed to travel with them to a remote place with a blue lagoon and a waterfall. "When I say, I dream a lot It's like: God, I wish I never had a moment I wish I had done everything I was always afraid of. "

American Liver Foundation Commentary

Thomas Nealon, President and CEO of the American Liver Foundation, said Erikas Struggle For the best possible care, their will to survive spurred on the entire liver community in an unprecedented manner, and thousands of people sought help.

He said the "thoughts and prayers of the entire American Liver Foundation" – Community Go to Erika and her family. "

  Erika said her will to live was motivated by her daughter Loïe.

"I just heard the incredibly sad news of the death of Erika," he said. "It was such a powerful voice for liver patients who faced the uncertainty of having a liver transplant, and for so many people, the wait and inability to control their treatment and their fate means that patients and their families are experiencing incredible pain and suffering . "

" I hope everyone who has been touched by their story will dedicate themselves to ensuring that there are no more Erika Zaks. "

In the last few weeks, as her condition worsened, she vomited blood Her skin peeled off and she said her legs, feet and hips were so swollen that it felt like I was carrying an extra person with me. "

" You can not understand real suffering – even if you witness it – unless you go through it, "she said. You can describe it to your friends and family. You can see it, but you obviously do not know what's going on with your morale, your body, and everything else. "

" True suffering, "she said," it's the next level.

Couple Met During College

Erika and Scott Powers met at Brown University in 1998 and she was at the Rhode Island School of Design, both in Providence Brown's football team studying economics. She was involved in art and textile design, coming from the tightly-knit East Coast, she from the free-running West Coast.

A love was born He made her laugh Erika saw in him someone who was kind and devoted, found in her he's the woman he's always been looking for, with a captivating sense of humor and the mouth of a sailor.

They tied on Halloween on 2009.

No matter what was thrown at them – their bond got stronger. "Liver failure is the worst thing that ever happened, "she said.

  Erika and Scott Powers met in college while they were both in school in Rhode Island.

For the past five years, Erika has survived 70 rounds of chemotherapy for colorectal cancer, multiple procedures, and a microwave ablation surgery that has failed terribly and left a fist-sized hole in her liver. About one and a half years ago, her health insurance company UnitedHealthcare denied her the cover for transplantation.

"Time is running out"

The young mother desperately made a request directly to UnitedHealth Group CEO David Wichmann. She criticized the "shockingly incompetent way" of how the country's largest insurer handled her case and described a number of errors made during the review process.

"Given that my life is in limbo on the basis of this review," she wrote, "it is obvious that it was not undertaken with the level of competence and professionalism one would expect from UHC. "

The insurance giant eventually approved their report after a four-month delay. Erika, Scott and Loie picked up their things in Portland, Oregon and transported their lives to Cleveland.

But she would find more bureaucracy. Their "MELD" score – the rank used to prioritize who receives an organ – reached a maximum of 30, the average rate at which most people undergo a transplant. But a change in national politics this spring has thrown her back to 23, her family said, almost exactly where she was a year ago.

Exhausted, she went to Twitter two weeks ago. "And I'm still waiting, time is running out," she said.

Even as her health deteriorated, she urged people to register as organ donors to save the lives of others. "We are overwhelmed with love and this amazing community of people – friends and strangers," she wrote on Instagram. "We're keeping our fingers crossed that we can make a difference for myself and for as many people as me."
In one of her recent posts, she added the words to a poem about Emily Dickinson's mourning:

"I measure every sorrow I encounter
With analytical eyes;
I wonder whether it weighs like mine
or has a lighter size.
I wonder if they endure it long

I could not tell the date of me.
It feels

I wonder if it hurts to live.
And if they must try, 19659046] And if they could decide
whether they would rather die

I wonder if in the last few years a few thousand have accumulated the matter –
Of early grief, if such an oversight
could give them a break. "

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