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Rockton man in need of life-saving triple transplant surgery still looking for final donor

From the Rockford Register Star | Chris Green: 815-987-1241;; @chrisfgreen

Joe and Hayley Beard pose with their daughters Molly, left, and Elsie on Sunday, March 3, 2022 in the entrance of their Rockton home. Joe Beard is in need of a kidney donor who can also serve as a bone marrow donor. Photo by Susan Moran/Rockford Register Star

ROCKTON — One donor down. One more needed.

Joe Beard, the Rockton man in need of a new liver, kidney and bone marrow, said one organ donor has been found. And he didn't have to look far.

"I got approved to be his liver donor," said Joe's wife, Hayley Beard.

Joe Beard, 41, was diagnosed in 2018 with a rare genetic disorder called STAT3 gain of function, a multiorgan autoimmune disease.

At the time of his diagnosis there were only 28 known cases. Even more rare is the number of hospitals in the country willing to perform the multi-organ surgery Beard needs.

The University of Pittsburg Medical Center, one the country's leading hospitals in performing organ transplants, accepted his case. Because of the distance between Rockton and Pittsburg (over 500 miles), Beard cannot use cadaver organs because he can't get the hospital fast enough.

'This is going to kill me': Rockton man with rare genetic disorder in need of 2 live donors

For his case, doctors will have to use live donors.