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OUR FOUNDERS

Trent Ford, photographed by Jonny Marlow.

TRENT FORD  Co-Founder, President

I received my life-saving liver transplant on May 30, 2020 at UCLA. It changed me forever profoundly. Not only was my liver transplanted, but my spirit also, root and branch. I received miraculous mercy and grace I felt I did not necessarily deserve. I cherish the donor living within me as a sacred marriage. I am forever grateful to the incredible medical team at UCLA, from cleaning staff, to ICU nurses, social workers, admin, dialysis, to my surgeon. I counted people from 32 nations all told who helped me- happily I am forever in their debt!

I had a good life- loving family, friends, a degree from Clare College, University of Cambridge, a successful career as a model and actor in film and TV, and the unwavering love and support of the most special woman, my Darling Natalie. Yet I suffered for many years and fell fatally ill due to my alcoholism. I made no excuses for it and I do not shrink from it. I have been raised up. Leading up to it, I felt terribly alone, as did my love, Natalie.

Since my transplant, I have a true life's mission that I have put into action and that has seen success. To help others in positions like mine; liver failure in general and all those affected- pre-transplant, post-transplant, and caregiver- providing strength, hope, resources, education and guidance through this transplant journey.

In particular, to aid those who suffer from addiction; to help them embark upon, maintain and grow their sobriety and serenity through spirituality and practical action, is of the deepest value to me. To restore people to their families and thus restore the family itself- to Relive.

It is our vision that this part of liver disease may become better understood, less reviled and that other medical institutions might consider under 6 months with the right tools in place- I offer this with great gratitude, as I do to anyone in need who I may serve.

Natalie Cohen, photographed by Jamie Luca.

NATALIE COHEN  Co-Founder, Treasurer/Executive Director

Almost 15 years to the day we first met, Trent received his miraculous liver transplant at UCLA. When Trent was hospitalized in April 2020, we were at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. I wasn't allowed to visit him; I was desperate to see him and wanted nothing more than to sit at his bedside and hold his hand.

Trent was placed in palliative care at our local hospital for almost a month: He received mass amounts of blood and plasma transfusions, an emergency TIPS procedure that had complications and had to be redone; he was intubated for 9 days, had a Blakemore tube, severe episodes of hepatic encephalopathy, developed double pneumonia, was restricted from eating or drinking, and placed on continuous dialysis as his kidneys began to fail. I was told repeatedly that there was nothing more they could do, that he would die there. I knew how hard Trent was fighting to stay alive and I refused to give up hope- it's not over until it's over.

When I realized that Trent would need a liver transplant to survive, I knew we had to get him out of there and transferred to a transplant center as quickly as possible. I thank my beautiful Mom for stepping in and making the phone calls when I was beside myself. By the grace of God, an ER doctor who was on-call spoke to me one day and said it was a long shot, but he agreed to refer Trent to UCLA to be evaluated, but there were no guarantees he would get transplanted. Giving Trent that chance meant everything- the difference between life and death.

Like Trent, I was forever changed by this experience. In the years leading up to his transplant, I felt very alone, scared and helpless as I watched the man I love suffer and deteriorate. Trips to the ER and appointments with doctors and a 'specialist' always

left us in the dark. The shame and stigma we both experienced was incredibly degrading and isolating. I will never forget it. This is why we are so passionate about helping others in similar situations. We don't want anyone who is going through this to feel alone. Our story and my Darling Trent is proof that there is always hope.

 

Don't Give Up.

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