Community reaches out to help Old Lyme man who needs liver transplant

THE DAY | Kimberly Drelich

Artist Rob Wallace of Arch One Design in Old Saybrook demonstrates his glass blowing technique as he makes glass icicles at the Fourth Annual Fire & Ice Festival at Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Wallace, 52, was diagnosed in late 2015 with liver cancer. He and his family, with the community's support, are doing everything they can do to find a living liver donor for him. (Tim Cook/The Day)

Old Lyme — Rob Wallace's Old Saybrook glassworks studio is full of artistic pieces from his journey over the past year.

Pendants with swirls of bright blue, orange and red are on display, along with glass candle holders affixed to driftwood found along the shore and other glass artwork and jewelry.

His signature jewelry piece, a stack of glass stones in a rainbow of colors depicting a cairn, represents his own path since being diagnosed with liver cancer in late 2015.

"It's your waypoint," he said in a recent interview at the studio. "Before there were roads and directions, people would use those as landmarks to find their way home. So I thought, all right, I have to find my way back. That's going to be my signature piece of jewelry."

Rob, 52, who lives in Old Lyme with his wife, Lori, and three children, has been focusing since his diagnosis on creating handmade jewelry pieces and artwork, which he finds therapeutic. He started offering classes at his studio, Arch One Design, to share the relaxing benefits of making glass artwork while listening to soothing music.

Rob's doctors have told him that he needs a liver transplant, as soon as he can find one, he said. Rob is listed on the United Network for Organ Sharing list, but it could take up to two years to receive a liver offer, said his wife, Lori. Waiting carries the risk of the cancer growing and spreading. Continue reading