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Fundraiser aids transplant patient

GARYSBURG – When she was only 12-years-old, Littleton resident Mesa Brown was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Her diagnosis came as a shock due to her age and the fact that there is no family history of kidney disease.

Mesa Brown has suffered from a kidney ailment since the age of 12. The now 28-year-old is in need of a transplant. Contributed Photo

A special diet and medications helped to slow the progression of her illness, but Brown’s kidney function is declining. Now 28, she requires regular dialysis treatments, which take a toll on her quality of life and leave her very tired. Doctors say a kidney transplant is critical.

In spite of her illness, Brown strives to live her life to the fullest. When she’s able, she enjoys hiking, cross fit, and Zumba, but her health limits her activities.

“I can’t wait until I’m no longer tied down to a machine and I have the freedom to travel without restrictions,” said Brown. “Once I am healthy, I want to help educate others about this disease.”

Unfortunately, her hope for a new life is very costly.

The average kidney transplant costs more than $414,000, and that’s only the beginning. Even with insurance, which will cover a portion of the transplant costs, Brown still faces significant expenses. For the rest of her life, she will need follow-up care and anti-rejection medications. Post-transplant medications are very expensive, and they’re as critical to her survival as the transplant itself.

When Brown receives her transplant, she will have to temporarily relocate to be near the transplant center while she recovers, incurring substantial expenses for travel, food, and lodging. She had to stop working in television production due to her health issues, further adding to her financial burdens.

For fundraising support and guidance, Brown and her family turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance with some of these financial burdens. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.

“Donations will allow me to receive the medical care I need,” said Brown. “The financial responsibility for my kidney disease is a constant struggle.”

Volunteers are hosting a fundraising event, A Kidney for Mesa, from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Chapel Grove Baptist Church, located at 307 East Railroad Street in Garysburg. For $25, attendees can choose between two delicious meals: roast beef and gravy, green beans and rice or shrimp alfredo over linguine and a garden salad complete with drinks, and desserts like strawberry cake or chocolate lava cake.

Attendees will also enjoy entertainment by a variety of singers, a praise dance team, and a step performance. There will be an auction with several items, including a massage and dinner for two at Olive Garden, and a raffle for gas cards in a variety of amounts.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the National Foundation for Transplants in Brown’s honor. For tickets, contact A Kidney for Mesa at (252) 477-7600.

If you’re unable to attend and wish to make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Brown, send a contribution to the NFT North Carolina Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 850, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Mesa Brown” on the memo line. Secure online donations can be made at www.akidneyformesa.com.

NFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Memphis, Tenn. that has been helping transplant patients overcome financial obstacles since 1983. NFT provides fundraising expertise to transplant patients by organizing fundraising campaigns in the patients’ own communities. NFT’s fundraising campaigns have generated more than $82 million to assist patients.

In the past year, NFT has served 2,100 transplant patients and assisted more than 4,200 individuals and community partners.

For more information about NFT, call 800-489-3863 or visit www.transplants.org.