Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk could receive a liver transplant in a matter of days after more than 2,000 people responded to his plea for a donor made Thursday.
The Senators on Friday updated Melnyk's condition and were optimistic.
"If people continue to respond like this, we definitely will find a donor," Senators president Cyril Leeder told the Ottawa Sun.
Melnyk, 55, could have surgery as soon as this weekend, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
"It could happen as early as [Saturday] if the conditions were met, or it could be next week," Dr. Gary Levy, medical director of the live donor liver transplant program at Toronto General Hospital, told the Citizen. "We don't have weeks to conclude this. We are looking at days, maybe a week at most. We know we have to move at a rapid pace."
Melnyk has been dealing with major health issues since mid-January and was hospitalized because of liver-related issues three weeks ago.
"The question is hopefully Eugene's health is at a point where it allows him to still be in the position to have the surgery," Leeder told the Sun. "At some point, if you deteriorate too far even if you found a liver, you're not a candidate because they can't do the surgery. So far, he's in a good spot and his health is good enough to allow for the surgery. Hopefully, that will continue for a few more days while we do the screening process."
Leeder said identified donation candidates would be tested in Toronto, and if a match is found, surgery would follow.
The Senators said calls were received from Canada, the United States and Europe.
"It is quite amazing the stories I am hearing," Levy said. "I am totally blown away by it, and I am not going to claim I totally understand it. It is a remarkable thing these people are doing."