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Kentuckiana rallies around local EMT in need of a liver transplant

Sean Colyer said that after a severe case of COVID last November, it's been a battle every day to get his health back to where it needs to be.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sean Colyer is an EMT with the Highview Fire Department and has been serving the Louisville community for about seven years. Now, the very community he serves is rallying to support him.

Doctors told Colyer he needs a liver transplant due to complications that they say he may have had his whole life.

Colyer's doctors think the complications were triggered after he volunteered to battle a fire at GE's Appliance Park in 2015. He was just 18 when he volunteered to help fight the blaze, and afterward, he said he began to feel sick.

"I was real jaundiced, really nauseous, just felt very sick, didn't want to do anything, very tired," Colyer said. "The day of the GE fire I really, you know, wasn't feeling anything, you know, nothing affected me that day. It was more like a couple of weeks after that's when it really started hitting me."

That's when doctors made a discovery that would change his life.

"I've got autoimmune hepatitis," he said. "My body is looking at my liver as a foreign object and trying to reject it."

Colyer said his doctors think something in the air during the Appliance Park fire triggered the disease he's had since he was little.

Credit: Ford Sanders/WHAS11

The Highview Fire EMT said it's been difficult to navigate the illness and take care of his family, especially after having a difficult battle with a severe case of COVID-19 last November.

Colyer has a fiance and two kids, a two-year-old and a 10-month-old, that he supports. 

"It's been a lot of ups and downs for sure," he said, adding that while life is short he knows what he wants to focus on. 

"My ultimate goal," Colyer said. "To always make sure my kids are taken care of."

Since then, support from across Kentuckiana has poured in from residents and local first responders, including Louisville's Metro Police Department.

Colyer said they are nearing $5,000 in fundraising efforts.

For anyone looking to donate to Colyer and his family, you can reach out to the Highview Fire Department by calling (502) 239-3561.

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