Health Check: Man battling Crohn's disease in need of second organ transplant

Eric Thatcher (WJAR)

A Coventry man is in need of a second organ transplant.

When NBC 10 News first met 36-year-old Eric Thatcher in the summer of 2016, he was in desperate need of a small bowel and intestine transplant, which was a rare surgery at the time.

"Eric was pretty close to dying at that point,” said Eric’s father, David Thatcher.

Thatcher was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when he was 12 and it has taken its toll on him.

Thatcher had been living on liquid nutrition and eating very little by mouth. He’d already endured many surgeries, including one to remove a cancerous lesion on one of his kidneys.

However, when he got the call in October, he it would be the turning point in his life.

"The surgery, as far as healing time, went really fast,” said Eric.

He said he was out of the hospital in a month, which was way ahead of schedule.

Doctors did tell him, though, that all those years on all those medications for Crohn's would eventually take a toll on his kidneys.

And it has.

"Eric, right now, is in stage four kidney failure,” said his father.

While he can eat now, he lacks the energy to do much else.

"It's tough. It's not much,” said Eric.

Now, he is preparing to go on dialysis.

"His quality of life is minimal, however, on the bright side he is one of the most stoic and brave young men we've ever met,” said David.

But it's a donor kidney that promises to finally give Eric a real chance at a life. The fight has become a family affair.

"We've had our share of hardship,” said David. "We just lost a child within the past year -- our oldest son, David, who had unrelated health issues that he suffered with for 25 years. Barbara, we're not prepared -- we're not willing -- to lose another child and we're going to fight with every fiber of our strength and faith to save this child."

Eric has a few options. The least attractive one is being put on a wait list for a cadaver kidney, which is more than a six year wait.

His best bet is if he gets a living kidney donor.

For more on how you can help, and to follow Eric’s story, go to his Facebook page: A Kidney for Eric Thatcher.

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