In the midst of a battle with life-threatening liver disease, former NHL player Steve Ludzik’s family has put out the call for a potentially live-saving transplant.
In a social media post that circulated Thursday, Ludzik’s wife, MaryAnn, explained that Ludzik is at “end-stage liver disease” after a 30-year battle with PSC, or primary sclerosing cholangitis. According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, PSC “is a liver disease in which the bile ducts (small tubes through which bile flows from the liver to the gallbladder and intestines) progressively decrease in size due to inflammation and scarring. As a result, bile that is normally carried out of the liver accumulates within the liver, which then damages liver cells.”
In the statement, which has since posted to the official Twitter account of The Steve Ludzik Foundation, MaryAnn wrote that Ludzik “needs the gift of life from someone willing to undergo surgery to donate a portion of their liver in order for him to live.” The call comes after Ludzik was recently placed on the donors list. According to the statement, any potential donors must be ‘O’ blood type and “in good health.” The family requested that anyone interested in receiving more information or donating can go to livingorgandonor.ca.
Speaking with the St. Catharines News Standard, MaryAnn said that Ludzik is “doing OK” given the circumstances. “He's a fighter. He's having difficulty with the fact he can't do this for himself. He has to rely on someone else,” she said.
News of Ludzik’s current health situation comes nearly 20 years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In 2012, Ludzik revealed that he has been battling with the disease since 2000. He opened The Steve Ludzik Foundation in 2013, which helps support The Steve Ludzik Parkinson’s Rehab Centre at Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital in St. Catharines, Ont. More than 220 people have come through the center since it opened its doors, according to the foundation’s website, and more than $850,000 has been donated.
Ludzik played 424 games in the NHL, the majority of which were spent with the Chicago Blackhawks. He later spent one season with the Buffalo Sabres and parts of three seasons with the AHL’s Rochester Americans before retiring following a brief stint in Austria. Post-retirement, Ludzik coached the IHL’s Detroit Vipers and returned to the NHL as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, with whom he spent two seasons.
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