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Transplants are prioritized by recipients' level of sickness using an assessment score and Capen - though he had multiple potentially life-threatening complications of his liver disease - had a relatively low score.

To address cases like this, Michigan Medicine has reinvested in its living donor program to get patients the organs they need before they arrive on death's door.

In October 2011, Capen, who is diabetic, lost what he says were pounds of blood. He could not "sweat it out," as he initially imagined, and he spent two weeks at hospitals.

He was told the cirrhosis was Stage 4 and placed on the list for a transplant, but one never came. So he did cardio, lifted weights, adjusted his diet.

'It wasn't really a question'Capen and his family learned of the living donor option last spring."This family, I have to say, was unique even among living donor families.

The pain is different, most significantly in one notable way, he said. 'A death sentence'Capen is a welder with two children, Destiny, 16, and Jake, 21.

He was diagnosed in 2011 with nonalcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, irreversible scarring brought on by what is called fatty liver disease, the most common chronic liver ailment in the United States.

Capen's damaged teeth are evidence of all the years he literally bore the pain, channeling it for the positive with martial arts, pushing back on inevitable depression and stress with early morning weight lifting sessions at a Taylor gym.

Capen, 46, was sick - all the time, but not sick enough to receive the liver transplant, from a deceased donor, that would give him health and normalcy.

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