The hopes and prayers of the Forsyth County community were answered this week, in the form of a healthy liver donation — coming just in the nick of time to save the life of Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Detective Drue Green.
Green, a 35-year old army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was diagnosed in 2010 with a rare condition known as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) that causes pain, complications and ultimately liver failure.
Doctors aren’t sure how Green contracted the disease, but some possible causes could be the air quality, food or water during his deployment in Afghanistan, according to a GoFundMe page started by a friend and neighbor of the Green family.
According to Green’s wife, Kristen, for years her husband held the illness and it’s symptoms at bay, holding out hope for something to change. But soon after the birth of their daughter in late 2018, Green’s symptoms began to worsen and the new family was told that a transplant would be needed to save his life.
The GoFundMe page states that in the weeks and months after this announcement by Green’s Doctors, multiple people stepped forward to get tested as a possible donor match, but due to the progression of his symptoms and the severity of the disease, doctors bumped him to the number one spot on their transplant list and the family uprooted their life in Dawsonville to be closer to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.
Kristen Green said that with the pain and uncertainty, this was the hardest time for her husband who wasn’t ready to give up on life.
“Before finding out about the new liver, Drue was starting to feel as if it was never going to happen,” she said. “He was scared of not getting out of the hospital … He was scared he wouldn’t get to see our 5-month-old daughter again.”
But at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, the family finally got the call that a liver match was at the hospital and in little more than 24 hours, Green was out of surgery with a healthy liver.
“Happy tears don’t stop,” Kristen Green said on Thursday. “It was a very scary time, the last two weeks of staying in the hospital.”
All signs are positive, Kristen Green said, and her husband’s doctors are amazed with his progress. Drue Green is in the slow process of transitioning out of the ICU, Kristen said, but already he is looking to get back to normal life.
“He is getting stronger and pushing as much as he can to get out and get back home,” Kristen said. “The first thing he wanted to know was when he can go back to work.”
In the days, weeks and months the Green family spent waiting in limbo, the Forsyth County community rallied around their story, with multiple community leaders taking to social media to spread the family’s story and help them get back on their feet.
“It was unexpected,” Kristen said when asked about the community’s response. “We never thought or dreamed of anything like it.”
Over a month of fundraising, the GoFundMe campaign started by the Green Family’s close friend Suzanne Bradley raised more than $6,400 for the family. According to the campaign, Drue Green has requested any proceeds from the GoFundMe to be donated to help other veterans in a similar situation.
In a post to Facebook, Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said that Green’s transplant was the “Best news of the year,” calling the detective a good man, husband and father, and asking the community to keep the Green family in their thoughts and prayers.
Other sheriff’s office social media posts from February also stated that the agency would be taking donations for the family through their B.A.D.G.E. program, which provides support and assistance to sheriff’s office employees in times of trouble.
Donations to this program can be made at www.badgeoffcso.org.