Loudonville coach with rare disease receives liver

Mansfield News Journal | Danielle Hess

Adam and Alli Reidenbach talk about their experience. (Photo: Mitchell Pe Masilun/News Journal)

LOUDONVILLE - Loudonville High School graduate Eric Stitzlein, 29, went up and down the liver transplant list before his brother-in-law, Adam Reidenbach, donated half of his liver to him Sept. 8.

Stitzlein, past high school athlete and current Loudonville baseball coach, was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis in November 2011. It's is a rare long-term liver disease that slowly damages the bile ducts, according to the American Liver Foundation. Bile is a digestive liquid that's made in the liver.

"(The disease) has been OK for a couple of years," Stitzlein said. "It's a bile ducts disease, so the bile ducts get narrower and narrower until bile can't pass through, and then it ends up affecting the liver. I had stents put in to keep it open until about March (2015). I was put on the transplant list because it was getting to the point where they couldn't do that type of intervention anymore."

He said he was put on the list at Cleveland Clinic in March because he had a high model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score, which is a numerical scale used to determine how urgently a person on the liver transplant list needs a transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Continue reading