Clarkson Chief of Police Billy “Buck” Meredith looks to save the life of his uncle by donating a portion of his liver next month.
Buck Meredith’s uncle, Bruce, was diagnosed with liver disease about a year and a half ago by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Bruce Meredith said he first began getting sick about three years ago, but doctors were unable to diagnose his condition until he went to the Mayo Clinic.
After learning of his uncle’s condition, Buck Meredith spoke with his wife, Carla, and with her blessing, as well as that of the rest of his family, he decided to undergo three days of testing last November to determine if he were a match for a liver transplant, which, he learned a week later, he is.
“He’s really saved my life because I was in a situation where my lungs and my heart were in bad shape [as a result of the liver disease],” Bruce Meredith said. “To me, it’s just a miracle. I feel like God had answered a lot of my prayers.”
If Bruce Meredith were not able to receive the liver donation from his nephew, he would have had to wait for a deceased donor, and every day he had to wait, his condition worsened.
“I never realized that a liver does so much for your body until now,” said Bruce Meredith, explaining that his condition “affects about every part of my body.”
Only one out of every four potential donors are accepted for a transplant by the Mayo Clinic, said Buck Meredith, adding that the official date of the procedure will be Feb. 5.
Buck Meredith will travel to Rochester on Feb. 3 to undergo some last minute tests before the procedure takes place, and he will probably be there for about two weeks.
There will be three doctors on hand to perform the procedure, and up to 69.9 percent of Buck Meredith’s liver may be taken to be transplanted to his uncle.
The estimated recovery time for the procedure is three months; however, Buck Meredith said, within 10 days, his liver is expected to have doubled in size.
During Buck Meredith’s recovery, Clarkson Police Officer Rick Clemons said he will be working more hours to cover the Chief’s absence, and the Leitchfield Police Department has also offered to assist.
“I want to thank the community for the support they’ve shown,” Buck Meredith said. “Honestly, it makes my decision that much easier.”
Buck Meredith’s colleagues consider his upcoming sacrifice noble and admirable.
“It’s an honor to get to work for somebody like Buck,” said Clemons. “He’s a true man of honesty and integrity.”
Clemons said Buck Meredith is willing to put his family and community before himself, a quality that, in part, led Clemons to hire him during their time at the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office.
“I admire him for what he’s doing,” Clemons said.
Clarkson Mayor Bonnie Henderson agreed.
“I’m proud of Buck for what he’s doing,” she said.
The Clarkson Police Department hopes that, by sharing Buck Meredith’s story, they can inspire others to consider becoming organ donors.
“Transplants are a necessity to those in need,” said Clemons. “People can go on to live a long life after giving or receiving.”
“Most people don’t realize that you can donate part of your liver [without being deceased],” Bruce Meredith said. “I encourage everyone [to become a registered organ donor] because you could save a lot of lives.”
In addition to his nephew, Bruce Meredith also wished to thank the Mayo Clinic and its medical staff for their service to him.
Anyone with questions about organ donation, is encouraged to call the Trust For Life at 1-866-945-5433 and talk to professionals about the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry and organ donation.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.