Ed Henry, chief national correspondent for Fox News, hasn’t appeared on the air for several weeks now as he continues to recover from successful surgery in which he donated part of his liver to his sister, Colleen.
Though Henry always intended to make the reason for his absence known to the public, he hadn’t anticipated the significant outpouring of support he has received — a level of support that has now compelled him to take up the cause of generating greater public awareness of the desperate need for living organ donors.
Ed Henry’s cause
The Washington Examiner reported that Henry is not only thinking about writing a book to document his experience donating 30% of his liver to his sister, but is also teaming up with Living Bank, a Texas-based non-profit organization dedicated to living organ donation and plans to do a special public service announcement campaign on its behalf.
In an exclusive interview with the Examiner, the popular Fox personality explained, “A lot of people simply don’t know about the ability to be a living donor.”
“All of us grew up on the idea that you only got organ donations from a dead person that had checked a box on a driver’s license,” Henry added. “Living donations could be the whole next frontier here.”
Henry revealed that he had actually decided to donate part of his liver to his sister about a year ago and began to make preparations — including undergoing physical and mental tests and losing weight to be a healthier donor — even before he informed his sister of the decision to help her.
He further decided that he would make the organ donation public in order to inform his fans and viewers of the reason for his absence. “I felt there was some obligation to explain, and it has been good to have public support,” he said.
Henry told the Examiner that he is continuing to rest following the surgery and is spending time with family and friends prior to his anticipated return to the air on Fox News at some point in the fall.
In the meantime, he has taken up the cause of living organ donations, particularly with regard to the liver, which can actually regenerate and grow to normal size again over time after a donation and transplant. The Examiner reported that there were roughly 13,000 people currently on the waiting list to receive a liver donation — and while about 8,200 liver transplants were performed last year — only about 401 of those came from living donors.
“This will be a huge turning point in public awareness,” Living Bank president and CEO Kelly Perdue told the Examiner of Henry’s partnership. “Ed’s recognition along with Fox’s support is a game-changer.”
She went on: “The problem is most Americans don’t have a clue about what living organ donation is or that it’s a lifesaving alternative to waiting years for a deceased donor, years a patient may not have.”
Meanwhile, Henry will continue to recover and support his sister’s recovery, providing updates from time to time while also respecting her privacy, and he will keep expressing humble gratitude for the huge show of support he and his sister have received as they faced their shared challenge together.