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Soldier plans to donate 60% of his liver to save dying grandfather

Hemochromatosis is often called iron storage disease.
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U.S. Army Specialist Ricky Glenn Henderson is proving himself to be a hero, both in Afghanistan (where he is currently on duty) as well as back home in Texas, where he hopes to be able to donate 60% of his liver to his 62-year old grandfather Rickey Homer.

"The loss and the regret of me not doing anything would have outweighed this. I'm the firstborn grandson; I carry my grandfather's name," the 21-year old told KLTV, the ABC affiliate in East Texas.

Homer, who spent 4 years in the Marines and 16 in the U.S. Army, including service during the Vietnam War, is suffering from a genetic disorder called hemochromatosis (aka iron storage disease), a hereditary disorder in that causes people to absorb too much iron through their digestive tract, resulting in cirrhosis of the liver. Although it can affect both sexes, it is more common in men than women, particularly those Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton decent, as well as Scandinavians.

Henderson’s commanding officer arranged fro him to be flown from Afghanistan to Baylor University Medical Center on Dallas, where Dr. Giulino Testa, who directs the living liver transplant program there reportedly tried to talk the young solider out of the planned procedure after finding “an abnormality in Henderson’s platelet count, to no avail.”

“I want to be absolutely sure the liver donation will be safe before giving it the go-ahead,” Testa stated. “ If the transplant happens, however, Henderson’s liver should return to normal size within a few days and normal function within a few months.”

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