East Idaho father dies 15 years after multiple-organ transplant
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BURLEY — A father of five was given a maximum of three years to live following a record five-organ transplant. Instead, he lived nearly 15 years.
Michael Pollard was the 25th person in the world to be diagnosed with hollow visceral myopathy, a multi-organ disease, according to his daughter, Jenna Cox.
He underwent the transplants in 2001, which included his stomach, small intestine, duodenum, liver and pancreas. Just 80 people had received a transplant similar to Pollard’s at that time. Cox said it is very rare that he lived that long.
Pollard died Monday evening due to kidney and lung failure.
The years he survived brought many exciting changes for his family that he otherwise would not have witnessed.
Within those 15 years, three of his children married, five grandchildren were born, his son served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his youngest grew from a toddler into a young woman, his daughter, Jessica Westerberg said.
Over the years, Pollard faced death multiple times and was actually pronounced dead at one point. Later on, after Pollard went into cardiac arrest, his family thought his life had come to an end until he pulled his catheter out, sat up and said, “I need a Popsicle and we need to have family prayer.”
Pollard had a strong will to live, according to his daughters.
“He never had a wavering testimony of the church, that was very instilled in all of us and with him,” Cox said. “That’s what he lived and strived for was bringing people to the gospel. He was a missionary to everyone.”
Pollard was a strong advocate for organ donation. He spoke at the College of Southern Idaho many times, where he told his story and educated people about organ donations.
The family of the 16-year-old boy who donated his organs to Pollard will travel from Pittsburgh to attend Pollard’s funeral, according to his daughters.
The Pollard family met the family of the donor — Jerryd Clutter — in 2009. Jerryd died in a car accident.
Pollard paid tribute to Jerryd in 2004 after coming to Salt Lake City for a dedication of a donor monument at Liberty Square.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for Pollard’s funeral costs and medical bills. To donate, visit the site.
This story was originally published on KSL.com. It is used here with permission.