Support Group Helps Bozeman Man After Transplant - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Support Group Helps Bozeman Man After Transplant

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A new group helps people in need of an organ transplant or in need of support after getting the procedure.

Tyler Garrison never imagined a cut would lead him to needing a transplant.

"It was a little overwhelming to have a cut on our finger and then end up in the hospital in Billings and finding out your kidneys are starting to fail," said Garrison.

Garrison ended up with a staph infection and his ankles began to swell. He went to the doctors and was rushed to Billings where doctors discovered Garrison's kidneys were failing.

"I immediately went into the research phase and the doctors in Billings informed me that I would be the perfect person for a pancreatic kidney transplant," said Garrison.

Garrison was put on the wait list, which he was told would take about a year. Garrison received a call much sooner. A 16-year-old girl had passed away in an ATV accident and the family wanted to donate her organs to him.

Garrison underwent a pancreatic kidney transplant in November of 2008.
 
"My wife and I were laying in bed and the phone rang. It ended up being the nurse coordinator in Denver. She ironically said you're up on the list," said Garrison.

Since then, Garrison has joined TRIO, a group that provides support for transplant, recipients, candidates, their families and donor family members.

Jim Rivard of Bozeman started the organization in Montana about a year ago after not having much support following his heart transplant.

"It's good to know that there is somebody else to talk to about their experiences," said Rivard.

The group meets the second Tuesday of every month at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. They talk about a variety topics such as finances, anti-rejection drugs and how to live a healthier lifestyle.

The group has grown to nearly 15 people with members in Bozeman and Billings. Rivard said he knows there are many more people out there who need support before or after a transplant.

"I know we're making a difference," said Rivard. "Those who have met with us feel much more comfortable about their transplant and how they are going to survive and thrive."

For information on how to become a part of the group, email Jim at rivardjim@gmail.com.
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