When Tyson James became ill suddenly, he and his wife, Cynthia, went straight to the nearest hospital for answers. When they realized Tyler’s condition called for another level of care, he transferred to Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
“We learned that Tyson had a genetic predisposition for an illness that was causing his liver to fail,” Cynthia says. “The liver transplant team at Barnes-Jewish was in our room the day after we arrived.”
Every team member – from Jeffrey Crippin, MD, a liver transplant specialist; Kevin Korenblat, MD, a gastroenterologist; and Surendra Shenoy, MD, a transplant surgeon; to the nurse coordinator, financial coordinator and social worker – joined together to help the Jameses prepare fully for a liver transplant and for life afterward.
“Dr. Crippin was a force of nature,” Cynthia says. “And everyone else on the team was upbeat, hopeful and very determined to help Tyson. They were confident that he would get a transplant before he left Barnes-Jewish, and he did!”
After Tyson’s transplant, the Jameses wanted to thank the people who had given them wonderful care. But they also wanted to do something to help other people who face obstacles to receiving the same care. They chose to do both by making a gift to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation’s Liver Transplant Patient Care Endowment Fund.
“I’m a social worker in the medical field, and I’ve seen the other side of the story,” Cynthia says. “I know a lot of people struggle with the price of medications, the cost of traveling to the hospital and other issues as they wait for a transplant. I know there is a need to help these patients at Barnes-Jewish, and I know that any amount of support can make a difference.”
Tyson went back to work a month and a half after surgery, and exercises regularly. The Jameses are back to traveling, visiting family and socializing with friends.
Most importantly, they’re glad to have the chance to give back.
“Barnes-Jewish Hospital does such great, great things,” Cynthia says. “And they need support to provide that extra help to patients and families in need. Everyone will be touched by illness at some point. That’s why it’s so important to pay it forward when good things happen to you.”
From Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation’s Giving Magazine, 2009, Issue 2