A Salina area man with a history of helping others has received a little help himself, in the form of a life-changing liver transplant. Saline County farmer, volunteer firefighter, and storm chaser Henry Diehl is back home recovering with a new liver after a whirlwind couple of weeks .
Diehl, who farms in rural Saline County in the Brookville area, was diagnosed with the chronic liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis back in 1995. Last spring he was put on the transplant list.
Diehl tells KSAL News that after being on the list for over a year, on February 16th he got the call from The University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City with a liver transplant offer. The call came at 6:00 in the morning. He and his wife had five minutes to deliberate whether to accept or not.
Diehl says the timing was right for him and his family, so he accepted. He was on the road at 7am, and had to be in Kansas City by 9:30. He rolled into the hospital just before 9:30. By 11:00 he was in surgery.
Following the surgery, Diehl’s recovery has been a little quicker than anticipated. He spent multiple days in the hospital. When he was dismissed he had to stay nearby because he still needed daily treatment and tests.
On March 7th Diehl was able to come home. He still has multiple weeks of recovery at home before his life starts to get back to normal and he can get back to farming and doing other things. He will take anti-rejection drugs the rest of his life.
Diehl says that he is humbled by all of the help, and prayers he has received. Last summer his church held a fund raiser for him.
Diehl is also grateful to the donor. He does not know who the donor is, only that it was a local Kansas City area person. He would one day like to meet the donor’s family to express his thanks and gratitude.
Diehl concluded that he is “so blessed.” He urges everyone to sign their donor card, so as to give someone the chance at extended life. “You can extend your legacy,” he said.