Liver ‘desperately’ needed for Farragut mom; + cancer fight

April is national “Donate Life Month” by Donate Life America, but Kate Dee is keenly aware of the need for organ donation every day.

The Farragut mother of three is suffering with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis with cirrhosis and is in desperate need of a liver transplant.

“The liver is one of the organs that can regenerate, so I just need a small piece of one,” she said with a small smile.

“If someone felt in their heart that they might like to see if they are a match, it would be such a blessing to me and my family,” Dee added. “Most people don’t realize that is a possibility. I think a lot of folks don’t think about organ donation beyond their drivers licenses, but there are other options.

“It has become my new mission to be able to educate others about liver donations, and if I can educate even one person to help save a life and help an individual, or a family, it will be worth it.”

Dee also started a public Facebook page, “My Liver is Crying” to keep friends and even other sufferers of NASH updated on her treatment and progress.

“Mine technically is crying,” she said. “It is not wanting to be there any more.”

It is almost beyond comprehension at such a difficult time that Dee is thinking of helping others. Not only is she struggling with her failing liver, but while undergoing a comprehensive medical work-up following the NASH diagnosis, doctors discovered an aggressive and inoperable neuroendocrine tumor located on her aorta.

She received radiation and currently is undergoing chemotherapy at University of Tennessee Medical Center.

“They are hoping to shrink the tumor enough that it could be removed,” Dee added.

It unfortunately has been the latest blow to the family, who already had seen Dee’s husband, Patrick, successfully fight a brain tumor, only to be professionally sidelined by early onset dementia two years ago — apparently caused by his cancer treatments.

“We had to file medical bankruptcy,” she said, noting the family, which includes sons, Connor, 17, Henry, 15, and Jack, 7, currently depend on Patrick’s disability checks to make ends meet as best they can.

While Dee relies on her mother, Judy Johnson (“she is my primary caregiver”),, her sister, Sarah Hubbard, other family members and her church family at Concord United Methodist Church to help with her own treatments, it is becoming increasingly clear she will be needing help with Patrick’s care, too.

“It’s hard since I am his caregiver, but I need care as well,” she said. “I know soon we will need to hire someone to help us.”

A fellow church member, Kim Warnick, has set up a Go Fund Me account for the family at

“It is to help defray the costs of traveling to and from Vanderbilt (University Medical Center) in Nashville, where the transplant would take place) and to help supplement our income until I can work again,” she said.

Dee does her best to be positive, but admits to being “frustrated at the setbacks. I feel like our family can’t seem to catch a break. I want to be able to provide for them until I can get the transplant, then I hope to be able to do advocacy work with Donate Life Tennessee.

“I do try to put a positive spin on things, and certainly don’t want to have a ‘woe is me’ attitude, but I do want people to know I am a lot more sick than I let on.”

Dee said her sons’ schools, Farragut Primary, Middle and High, “have been so supportive. They have been absolutely amazing to us, and our church has been phenomenal, with gas cards and providing meals for us.

“The acts of kindness have really been appreciated.”

Both Connor, who was just named lead tuba for next year’s FHS Marching Admirals band, and Henry, who is on the FHS football team, “have stepped up in so many ways and are such hard workers,” their mother said proudly, noting they both work part-time at Little Joe’s Pizza and help out as much as they can at home.

“Our kids are amazing,” she added. “I’m grateful for all we do have, and am especially grateful I have been able to stay on the transplant list, even after we all had COVID earlier this year.”

Information on becoming a living donor can be found at For more information about Donate Life America, visit