back to top

This Woman Is Using Facebook To Try To Save Her Own Life

"After posting my story I’ve had so many people come forward offering to donate, like, hundreds."

Posted on

Jillian Di Bernardo could die before her name gets to the top of the organ donor list. But she's refusing to let that happen.

Courtesy of Jillian Di Bernardo

Di Bernardo, a hairstylist from London, Ontario, was diagnosed with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia in 2010, a relatively rare disease that results in blood vessel abnormalities. Despite her need, Ontario's organ donor program has her low on the list.

"Unfortunately, my place on the list, the scoring method that the hospital uses, it doesn’t serve everyone’s situation, including mine," the 28-year-old told BuzzFeed Canada.

That means it's up to her to find a live donor, someone willing to give her part of their liver. Last week she found out a friend who'd been undergoing testing wasn't a suitable donor, and that's when she turned to Facebook.

Last Thursday, Di Bernardo laid her situation bare in a post that has now been shared over 1,000 times.

Facebook: jillian.d.bernardo

"Waiting for my score to reflect that I’m 'sick enough' will take too long. The live donor transplant CAN be a faster way to get a transplant, granted I find the right donor," she wrote.

Di Bernardo said it was hard for her — usually a private person — to share her story so publicly, but she felt it was time.

"It’s made me realize how important it was to share this story and create awareness about donation," she said. "I kind of want to expose our health care system a little bit too. If there’s any way it can be made better through this I would be so happy that I could help not just my own life but someone else’s."

What she needs is a healthy, willing donor with an "O" blood type.

Courtesy of Jillian Di Bernardo

The portion of the liver removed would grow back and they would undergo testing before surgery to determine if they're a viable match.

"It’s important that they actually want to help and it’s coming from a good place," said Di Bernardo.


And the response has been overwhelming. Di Bernardo's inbox is now overflowing with willing donors.

"I’ve got so many emotions going on right now," she said. "I went from the beginning of the week devastated when I found out my friend being tested all summer wasn’t going to work.

"And then after posting my story I’ve had so many people come forward offering to donate, like, hundreds."

She's replying to as many people as possible in hopes that even if they aren't a match for her, they can help someone else.

"It’s lifted my hope up a lot," she said. "I was sort of feeling hopeless there for awhile about finding a donor before I became deathly ill or died before the surgery. But now with all these people I’m feeling confident that I’ll find a donor."

Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Contact Lauren Strapagiel at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.