Fundraiser to help man with diabetes who is seeking kidney-pancreas transplant
LEBANON — Micah Evans was 6 years old when he got a flu that wouldn’t go away.
His illness progressed to the point where he had to be hospitalized. It took two months to fully recover, and by then, his pancreas was so damaged it could no longer produce insulin.
That led to Type I diabetes, which Evans has battled for 31 years. He went into full renal failure two years ago and is now seeking a kidney and pancreas transplant through Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
The Lebanon man has insurance to cover the costs of the actual transplant. But he said he’ll need roughly $15,000 for the three-month post-operation stay in Portland, some of the post-operation medications he’ll need, and help for he and his wife to care for their three young sons while he recovers.
Family members and friends have organized a multifamily yard sale this weekend in Millersburg to help out. They’ve also set up an account at US Bank, a Facebook page and a fundraiser May 24-26 at Panda Express. More efforts are in the works.
The yard sale will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2257 Alexander Lane. That’s the home of Dion and Stephanie Evans, Evans’ brother and sister-in-law.
Evans grew up in Lacomb, where his parents still live. He graduated in 1994 from Lebanon High School and said he’s been very grateful for all the assistance from his family and the community thus far.
Diabetes caused Evans two retinal detachments, compromising his vision and leading to the loss of his job at Rent A Center in 2009. It also causes extreme fatigue.
“It’s hard to get around just because of that fatigue, you know?” Evans said. “You’re able to do stuff, but you take a lot of breaks.”
A musician, Evans has uploaded a few songs about his situation on YouTube. They can be found under the title “Micah Evans Music.”
Currently, he spends four hours, three times a week, on dialysis, but the machine isn’t a substitute for a working kidney.
“There’s things it misses when it does its cleaning job,” he said. “The doctors at OHSU thought I would be a good candidate for a double transplant (kidney and pancreas), because it’ll give the kidney a better lifespan, they believe.”
Evans and his wife of 16 years, Miranda, have three boys: Brayden, 10, Silas, 7, and Cohen, 4. Miranda recently lost her job as a certified nursing assistant.
“The dream of having a life-saving double transplant means everything to me. It means a longer, healthier life with my family,” Evans wrote on the website established to raise money for his transplant costs. “This necessary procedure will not only transform my life, but also the life of my family.”
An organ transplant candidate’s ability to live in Portland for three months following the procedure is just one of numerous factors affecting candidacy.
The location question is important because numerous medical followups are needed in the weeks following surgery to make sure the recipient isn’t rejecting the new organ, said Mike Seely, executive director of transplant services at Oregon Health & Science University.
However, Seely said, potential organ recipients also are assessed in many other ways to ensure “proper stewardship” of the gift. Doctors ask, for instance, if the patient will take the proper medication and refrain from activities that could compromise the transplant.
Donated organs, he said, are “a precious resource, which we don’t have enough of.”
That said, waiting times for transplants in the Pacific Northwest generally are pretty good, compared with the rest of the nation, Seely said. Residents of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana are more likely than folks in the rest of the country to agree to be donors.
Seely did not immediately have average wait times for a kidney-pancreas transplant, such as Lebanon resident Micah Evans needs. Blood types and the health factors of both the donor and the recipient all affect the process.
The hospital performed eight such transplants in 2011, with a survival rate of 100 percent.
“It’s so important to get the message out: There are not enough donors. Eighteen people die in the United States every day waiting for some type of organ transplant,” Seely said. “The graciousness of someone else is the key to this person’s health.”