Jake Gehrke Team Gehrke Transplant

First post: Jul 2, 2018 Latest post: Dec 30, 2019
Welcome to Jake's CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. Thank you for visiting.

Jake is a husband (the best) and father (also the best!) of three as well as a son, brother, uncle, teacher, coach, outdoorsman, and so many other things. If you don't know Jake, he is passionate about spending time with his kids (his own and those that he teaches and coaches), all things outdoors, and spending time and working with his best friend (me!)

Jake's story began when he was a senior in college with what was seemingly a bout of food poisoning that was eventually diagnosed as ulcerative colitis. In 2008 his colon got way too angry, so the decision was made by his team to evict it! Jake had a colectomy (they removed his colon) and then j-pouch construction (they used his small intestine to reconstruct where his large intestine was). In the healing process he had a temporary ostomy bag and reconstruction six months later.

During the healing process from this surgery he became really jaundiced and we went back to Mayo for additional testing. It turns out that a percentage of individuals that have ulcerative colitis also have another disease called Primary Schlerosing Colangitis (PSC). Mayo Clinic's Definition: 'Primary sclerosing (skluh-ROHS-ing) cholangitis (koh-lan-JIE-tis) is a disease of the bile ducts. Bile ducts carry the digestive liquid bile from your liver to your small intestine. In primary sclerosing cholangitis, inflammation causes scars within the bile ducts. These scars make the ducts hard and narrow and gradually cause serious liver damage.'

We were told at that time that if the disease progresses, there would be a good chance that there would be a new liver in Jake's future! That brings us to today, it is time for a transplant and for us to share Jake and our family's story.  Jake has been listed on the transplant list at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and we are actively seeking a live donor.  If you are interested in learning more about the process or becoming a donor, you can find more information here: https://www.uwhealth.org/transplant/living-liver-donor-inquiry/51917 or (608) 262-5420.

As far as our kids go...we are open with them, but certainly don't want this to be the focus of their days. Please don't initiate a conversation with them, but if they do with you, just know that we appreciate your positive support and not asking them details or questions that are difficult! We are so grateful to be surrounded by an incredible support system and community, we couldn't do this life without you.