Fundraiser Dec. 3 to help Mill Spring transplant patient

Published 8:02 pm Thursday, December 1, 2011

Volunteers in Mill Spring plan to host a benefit dinner Saturday, Dec. 3 from 4-7 p.m. at Silver Creek Fellowship Hall in honor of resident Michael Conner, who needs financial help as he seeks a kidney transplant.

Michael Conner

“I thought, ‘I have a few more years of my life to live out so I have to do what I can do to raise the money,’” Conner said. “I’ve been told with a new kidney I could get another 40 years, on dialysis I might just have another 14. I just couldn’t see giving up yet.”
Michael Conner, 40, is currently on the transplant list awaiting a new kidney. A fundraiser dinner will be held for him Saturday, Dec. 3 at Silver Creek Fellowship Hall from 4 – 7 p.m.
The dinner will include fried chicken, pinto and chili beans, fried cabbage, stewed potatoes, chicken and dumplings, cornbread, greens, beverages and desserts.
A kidney transplant costs approximately $250,000. Even with health coverage, Conner, 40, faces considerable medical expenses. For the rest of his life, he will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. The cost of post-transplant medications can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per month.
To help offset these expenses, Conner turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.
“A life-threatening illness is terrifying in itself, but Michael has the added stress of mounting medical bills,” said Lauren Wilmer, NFT fundraising consultant. “NFT is committed to helping him raise the necessary funds so he can focus on his health without constantly worrying about the costs.”
Conner was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2006. Since 2009, he’s endured regular dialysis treatments but is now in total renal failure.
Four times a day, seven days a week, Conner has to inject an IV bag of solution into his system to cleanse his system of impurities when the kidneys no longer can.
Conner got word about three weeks ago that he is now on the donor list.
Doctors have said a kidney transplant is critical to his survival, and he is undergoing evaluations in hopes of being added to the transplant waiting list soon. Conner’s mother also battled kidney disease and recently passed away.
Because Conner lives 100 miles from his transplant center, he will incur substantial travel expenses before and after his transplant. His declining health prevents him from working, adding to the financial strain.
For tickets to the fundraising dinner or for more information, contact Angie Sisk at 828-712-0011 or Silver Creek Fellowship Hall is located at 1955 Silver Creek Rd. in Mill Spring.
Even if you cannot make the dinner, you can still make a tax-deductible gift in honor of Conner, by sending your contribution to the NFT North Carolina Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, Tenn. 38119. Be sure to write “in honor of Michael Conner” on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at Donors should click on “Patients We Help” to locate Conner.
NFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides fundraising expertise and advocacy to transplant patients by organizing fundraising campaigns in the patients’ own communities. NFT has generated almost $59 million to assist patients.
For more information about NFT, call 800-489-3863 or visit

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