By SHERIDAN ROY
Juggling time and finances is tough enough for parents of twin toddlers. But when one of the parents is struggling with a chronic medical condition, it can prove to be too much.
That’s why one local family is reaching out for help from the Southington community.
Nicole Bard, a 31-year-old wife and mother of two twin toddlers, has been diagnosed with a rare liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PCS). She’s on a waiting list for a liver transplant, and bills have begun piling up. She and her husband, Peter Bard, have created a GoFundMe account in hopes of raising $30,000 for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that may arise throughout Nicole Bard’s liver transplant surgery and recovery.
“Nicole was diagnosed with an autoimmune liver disease when she was about 15,” said her husband. “It wasn’t until about four years ago that they diagnosed her with PCS.”
At the time of her diagnosis, Nicole Bard was at stage two out of four stages of PCS. Two years went by, then the couple had their twin children. After that, the new mother’s condition began to progress rapidly from stage two to three — and just recently — to stage four.
“She’s quite the super-star,” said her husband. “She’s been nonstop going full-time to work right now, and taking care of our twins as well as dealing with all of this. But, we have medical bills coming up, and she’s not going to be able to work pretty soon, so we will have lost wages.”
Peter Bard said any money raised will help their family stay afloat while his wife goes through this process. If they are lucky enough to raise more than the $30,000 goal, any additional monies will be donated to either the next person in line for a liver transplant, Yale New Haven Liver Center, or a combination of the two.
“We’d like to pass it on forward to the next person who needs help,” he said.
After just two weeks, the family had already received about $6,400 in donations from the community.
“There’s been just an outpour of love and support from everybody in every turn, so it’s been wonderful. People of Southington have been there with support,” Peter Bard said. “A lot of it has come from the community theater world, which is actually where Nicole and I met, and it’s been such a blessing. They are more a family than they are friends.”
The couple hopes to help educate the public on PCS, and raise awareness about what goes into the liver transplant process.
“The liver disease is terrible and all, but it’s something that can be very much managed because the liver is one of the only organs in the human body that regenerates itself, and not a lot of people know that,” Peter Bard said. “We will be using a living donor for Nicole, because somebody can actually donate half their liver, and both the donor’s and the receiver’s halves will regenerate into two full livers.”
He said the couple hopes to spread that knowledge and let people know that they can save someone’s life by donating part of their liver. “This is something that can change the world if people are aware of it,” he said.
To make a donation, visit gofundme.com/ HerLiverStory.