Her illness began with bleeding ulcers that sent her to a hospital just days before the start of the 2008 Gathering of Nations powwow, which Mathews and her family have organized for 29 years.
The blog, posted on the Gathering of Nations website, offers readers details of Mathews’ three-year medical odyssey. It begins with her diagnosis with cirrhosis in April 2008, the result of a decades-old blood transfusion.
A diagnosis of cancer of the liver in February 2010 put Mathews on a waiting list numbering in the tens of thousands for a donor liver. Her decision to make her story public inspired seven people to volunteer to offer a part of their livers to help save Mathews, an American Indian with roots in Picuris Pueblo.