East Bay man hopes to find a living liver donor for 'second chance' at life

Melissa Pixcar Image
ByMelissa Pixcar KGO logo
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Bay Area family searching for a liver donor
A Livermore family is hoping for a miracle and is looking for living liver donor. Mike Haas was diagnosed with end-stage liver failure in 2019 shortly after undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- A Livermore family is hoping for a miracle and is looking for living liver donor.

Mike Haas was diagnosed with end-stage liver failure in 2019 shortly after undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

His family put out their plea to the world and created a website aliverformike.com in hopes that it will reach someone willing to become a living liver donor. Mike's family is searching for a healthy donor with a blood type of: A+, A- or O+, O-.

"The experts tell you just to get the word out any way you can," said Greg Haas, Mike's Brother. "We thought it would be good to do a website and send it to our friends. Heidi (Mike's wife) put it in Christmas cards. Anyway that we can get the word out, that is what we are trying to do."

Mike's wife, Heidi, went through the process of becoming a donor for Mike, but was told by doctor's at UCSF that she was not a match. Heidi was determined to spread the word any way she could and created custom business cards to pass to anyone she met.

"The most lengths that I have gone through to spread the word is either by phone, but with COVID it is hard to see friends," said Heidi Haas, Mike's wife. "If I see somebody or meet somebody when we go for a walk that I can have a conversation with. I always have them (cards) with me and pass them out. If I am at a store and I happen to have a conversation with somebody, I give them a card as well."

RELATED: 'Out of love': East Bay nonprofit on mission to provide to clean showers, clothing for homeless

Since his end-stage liver disease, Mike has been hospitalized five times with Hepatic encephalopathy. Symptoms include confusion and disorientation which is a result of liver failure.

"It has to do with a buildup of ammonia in the blood stream that causes the brain to get confused," said Mike Haas. "Things happen for a short period of time and you don't know where you're at and your name. I really couldn't take care of myself for a couple day and that's Heidi took me to the emergency room."

If a person is willing to become a living donor, a number of test would have to be taken. If it is a match, part of the liver will be transplanted and will regrow to its normal size with a recovery time of six to eight weeks. Mike's health insurance coverage will cover the living donor's costs.

"We are a real close family. Mike's got a great sense of humor and I am terrified of losing my brother" said Greg Haas.

In 2000, Mike was involved in a motorcycle accident that resulted in a troublesome recovery and unfortunately "bad habits" developed.

"We all make mistakes, so we are looking for someone that believes in a second chance," said Greg Haas. "Anyone that is able to donate to Mike or anybody else, it would be a wonderful thing. I don't think it would be anything that anyone would regret."

RELATED: Contra Costa County Fire Department rolls out pink engine to support cancer fighters

Mike's family have made it their mission until they find a living donor.

"I am not a religious person, but we're looking for that angel that can give life," said Mike Haas. "I just want to say that I understand that it is a huge ask. You know, to ask someone to go through this, but until that happens I got to remain optimistic."

The Haas family are keeping their hopes high and dream about taking trips to the coast in their RV once again.

"Hoping that if it is somebody who's willing and able that we can become lifelong friends," said Heidi Haas. "If we know who the donor is because you can do this anonymously. But I would very much like, and I think Mike would agree, that we would want to meet this person and have a lifelong relationship with."

For more information, visit Mike Haas' A liver for Mike website.