Friday, April 05, 2013

Fundraiser for double-lung transplant expenses

Dinner and auction in honor of double-lung transplant patient scheduled

Karen Gearheart is awaiting a lifesaving double-lung transplant, and the costs are overwhelming.
Gearheart, 54, has faced health problems since age 1, when she was diagnosed with asthma, which has also afflicted her father, brother and three children. She was diagnosed with emphysema in 2004, and she learned she was also suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) shortly thereafter. In 2011, she underwent a tracheotomy, and she relies on an oxygen tank 24 hours a day and a ventilator to sleep.

To help alleviate the financial burden, Gearheart 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.

A double-lung transplant costs approximately $800,000. Even with health coverage, she faces significant expenses. She will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications for the rest of her life. Post-transplant medications are very costly, and they are as critical to her survival as the transplant itself.

“Can you imagine literally struggling for every breath?” said Claire Prince, NFT fundraising consultant. “It breaks my heart to think about it, but that’s the reality for Karen. At NFT, we’re dedicated to helping these volunteers raise the necessary funds so Karen can focus on her health without constantly worrying about the medical expenses.”
On Saturday, April 13 at noon, volunteers are holding “Karing for Karen,” a barbecue dinner and silent auction in Gearheart’s honor.
The event will be held at Scooter’s Ice House, 1134 N. Main St. in Pearland. Barbecue plates will cost $8 and include sausage, beans, potato salad and bread.
Raffle tickets will be sold for $10 apiece, and the winner will receive a barbecue pit valued at $300. A silent auction will include more than 40 items valued between $25 and $450. A DJ with Bayou City Entertainment will provide music.
Kids’ activities will include face painting, moon bounce, temporary tattoos. Sweet & Sassy will also be on hand to provide manicures and up-dos.
For more information, contact Brittney Canales at 713-828-7647 or
To make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Gearheart, please send a contribution to the NFT Ohio* Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Karen Gearheart” on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at Donors should click on “Patients We Help” to locate Gearheart.
*Gearheart resides in Ohio, but her sister and niece live in the Pearland area and are planning this event.
About NFT
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 and advocacy to transplant patients by organizing fundraising campaigns in the patients’ own communities. NFT’s fundraising campaigns have generated nearly $60 million to assist patients. NFT assists more than 1,200 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 800-489-3863 or visit

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