See the man in the picture? Maybe you don’t know him, but I do. His name is Jim Spillar and he’s an amazing drummer. I met him a while ago when he asked me to come to a show for one of his bands… yes, ONE of them. The friendly guy behind the kit who became my friend jokingly refers to himself as a “drum whore” because any band who needs him gets him. It’s his life. Well, his life apart from his family. I’ve had the chance to hear about his music, his son playing hockey, his long hours at practice with him, his love of the sport himself, his beautiful wife… and then I heard about his illness. Simple at first, something he’s been dealing with, then gradually more serious. Doctors were uncertain, hospitals changed but no matter what, he remained the sweet guy he was from the beginning. His friends supported him, we encouraged him and tried to keep that smile on his face, like he does for us…. wow, am I glad you can’t see the tears in my eyes right now. You see, this isn’t a featured article on a drummer, this is a plea for a good man’s life. That little thing he’s been dealing with? It’s not such a little thing anymore. That smile still stays in place, he jokes that he’s a drummer so he’s going to beat this, but the truth is – he needs someone right now, and none of us know who it is yet.
There is a large portion of the music community that knows Jim and is supporting him in his efforts but, what he needs is a matching live liver donor. The list for donor organs is so long and there are so many things that go into finding a match. The horrible truth is that Jim may never get a donor that way. He’s not very high up on the list and his doctors have told him his best chance is to find a living donor for a liver with Type O blood. Positive or negative doesn’t matter. That lowers the list of possible matches and out of the Type O’s out there, only some will really consider it. Of those that decide to go through with testing, most will be turned away. This means his story needs to reach as many people as possible because only one of us will match well enough to be able to donate…. yes, I said us. I’m still contemplating it. I told him I was looking into it and he was more worried about the inconvenience on my life than his own health. That’s because he’s just that type of person. The kind of guy with a huge heart that cares about people and I know for a fact I don’t want to see anything happen to him. So, I’m doing what I do best – I’m telling his story in the hope it will reach the hero he needs right now.
I’m reaching out to you today and asking the most simple thing…something I don’t usually ask…. SHARE THIS. You may not be able to donate, you might want to but not be a match, but if you share this… if you let people know there is a need…. I believe in the good and I believe the right person will see it. ANYONE that wants to see if they match – Donors must be between 18 – 55 years old. UPMC will put you through an evaluation process to determine if you are a possible match. If you are interested, please contact Elaine Lander of UPMC at 412-864-5475. Yes, they are going to be certain you aren’t being paid to do it or forced in some way, they have to follow regulations. I just hope the right person sees this and follows their hearts. To keep up with his progress in this fight, to show your support, or just to send a message of hope, visit the recently published Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/donorforjim/.
There’s not much more that I can say other than this – I know it’s scary, it’s an inconvenience, there are always some risks… but if it was your family… wouldn’t you want a hero to step up to the plate? This is a chance to literally save someone’s life. If not you… yes, you… then who?