BUCKHANNON — Amanda Winnings, lifelong resident of Upshur County and mother of four, is in desperate need of a liver transplant, so friends and family are calling on the community for help.
In 2005, Winnings received a diagnosis of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). This is an autoimmune disease that causes progressive destruction of the bile ducts. Subsequently, liver damage occurs and a transplant often becomes necessary. Winnings said she also suffers from other underlying health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcerative colitis, in addition to other autoimmune disorders. At the time of her diagnosis, Winnings’ doctor told her she could live a long time before requiring a transplant. However, at the young age of 38, Winnings heard the news she has been dreading.
On March 4, Winnings and her family received the devastating words that she only has an estimated 6 months to live without a transplant. “It was a shocker to my family. We’ve got each other and that’s pretty much it,” she expressed. Winnings has four children ranging in age from 5 to 20, and she told The Record Delta, “I’ve pretty much raised them all on my own. They’re all I have.” Winnings’ doctor reportedly told her, “You’re a really sick woman.” The dedicated mom explained that although she doesn’t always have the energy to get everything done for her children, she pushes through and does it anyway. “It’s my job,” she noted.
With her youngest at the tender age of five, she expressed, “I want to make it until she’s at least 18.” Winnings expressed that her husband, Bobby, has been an amazing dad, stepdad, and husband. She has lived in the Kesling Mills area her entire life, and all four of her children remain in Upshur County as well.
Once a donor is matched, Winnings’ transplant will tentatively take place at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They’re currently in the process of registering people to see if anyone in her family is a match for organ donation. According to Winnings, her match must be between the ages of 18 and 55, have type O blood, be substance free, have no serious underlying health conditions, and preferably be of a healthy weight. Some of her family members have registered to see if they’re a match, but Winnings is awaiting three days of testing in Pittsburgh on March 28, to exhibit if she can withstand surgery. She specified that the living donor will only be giving half of his or her liver because it will reportedly regenerate in both her body and theirs to become whole again after approximately one month.
Winnings said she currently takes 15 to 20 pills a day, “just to survive.” Above all, Winnings and her family asked for prayers, and lots of them. She will be in the hospital for approximately a month following her surgery, in addition to follow up appointments.
If interested in donating a portion of your liver, registration can take place at https://livingdonorreg.upmc.com/. Winnings’ Aunt Crystal Wilt and her husband Johnny, along with the Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department are hosting a fundraiser/auction to help with travel expenses for the local family on Facebook. The fundraiser will begin on April 4 and conclude April 11. Wilt is seeking any items new or gently used to auction. She requested pictures of items that people would like to donate on her Facebook page by April 4 and will need the items in hand by April 8.
Wilt explained that once she invites people to participate, others will be able to invite more people from their friend’s list to participate. This will be a similar platform that is used for Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Facebook fundraiser, “Shop with a Firefighter.” Upon approval, Ellamore VFD will also be hosting a spaghetti dinner in the near future.
As requested by the family, keep them in thought and prayer and join the fundraising efforts if you are able. Winnings expressed, “I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I don’t want to change my life—I just want to live my life like nothing is wrong with me right now.”