Robert Morin remembers the day, 30 years ago, when it hit him: It started with a feeling of pins and needles all over his body and by the end of the day he could barely walk.
Now 52, Morin was a college student at the time. He soon learned he was suffering from a serious liver disease — autoimmune hepatitis — in which his own body was attacking his liver.
The diagnosis was a shock, but the good news was that, with treatment to suppress his immune system, he was told he could expect to lead a normal life for years. He did just that for 22 years until his condition worsened and Morin underwent a liver transplant.
That was eight years ago. Today Morin, a government worker, feels that he has a new lease on life. When he can, he raises money for liver research, as he at the Stroll for Liver event in Ottawa June 9, and raises awareness about liver disease.
Morin is far from alone. One in four Canadians, eight million people, suffer from some form of liver disease, according to the Canadian Liver Foundation. And liver experts fear many have no idea they are sick.