Funds being raised for surgery to remove Austintown native's pancreas


Family and friends of Austintown native Katherine “Katie” Sokol streamed into St. Anne Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church this afternoon to enjoy a benefit pasta dinner to help Sokol with medical expenses associated with unusual upcoming surgery that involves removing her pancreas.

Sokol, 27, needs to have her pancreas removed because it was damaged by cystic fibrosis that she had since birth but went undiagnosed until she was 25. As a result of her non-functioning pancreas she has also developed diabetes.

Sokol described the surgery, which she said is technically not a transplant because though her pancreas will be removed, it will not be replaced.

Instead, a team of about a dozen surgeons at Cleveland Clinic plan to remove Sokol’s pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand located behind the lower part of the stomach, harvest islet cells from the defective organ and give them a new home in her liver where they will replicate their function in the pancreas, which is to produce insulin.

Read more about her situation in Sunday's Vindicator or on

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