I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to David Simon and The Baltimore Sun for telling Gene Cassidy's remarkable story ("David Simon's 'Homicide' cop battling life on the streets once again," March 11). Gene is truly one of Baltimore's finest, ever. Sunday's article brought attention not only to this hometown hero but also to the need for living liver donors for Gene and others.
The fortunate thing for those in need of a transplant is that the liver is one of only two organs that will regenerate if cut in half. This gives us the ability to transplant a healthy liver from a living person to someone in need of a transplant. Each will re-grow.
However, most donations come from non-living donors. We at the Fraternal Order of Police want to help build awareness for the need for living liver donors. There are currently more than 16,000 Americans on the waiting list for a liver transplant, according to the American Liver Foundation. Most patients return to a regular lifestyle six months to a year after a successful liver transplant, and their prognosis is very good.
As the article mentioned, to honor Gene and raise awareness of the need for living liver donors as well as safe blood transfusions, the FOP will hold a blood drive Monday, March 19, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at FOP Lodge #3 (3920 Buena Vista Ave., Baltimore, MD 21211). Information on liver donation and registration will be available at the drive as well. We encourage everyone to attend regardless of ability to donate blood in show of support for Gene.
Robert F. Cherry Jr., Baltimore
The writer is president of the Baltimore chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.