Blaine woman receives kidney transplant, fundraiser to help with expenses

White Bear Lake, Minn., March 8, 2012 – Alyssa Witter doesn’t take one moment for granted. She recently received a lifesaving kidney transplant, but the costs are overwhelming. Volunteers are planning a fundraiser to help.

Last year, Witter visited her doctor thinking she had a sinus infection. At that appointment, her blood pressure was extremely high. Additional tests revealed she was suffering from acute kidney failure. Doctors said a kidney transplant was critical to her survival, and her brother Edward donated one of his own kidneys to save her life on May 24, 2011.

While waiting for her transplant, she endured regular dialysis treatments, which left her exhausted. She loved saying goodbye to her dialysis regimen and is grateful to finally resume a normal life. She loves to bowl, take walks, play darts, and spend time with her two dogs and two cats, and she’s thrilled that she’s able to participate in her favorite activities again. She also enjoys her job in the cardiac rhythm disease management department of a major corporation because she can make a difference to others in need.

A kidney transplant costs approximately $250,000. Even with health coverage, Witter, 30, faces considerable medical expenses related to her transplant. For the rest of her life, she 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, and they are as critical to her survival as the transplant itself. Because of her dialysis treatments, she was unable to work full time for several months, adding to her financial strain.

To overcome these financial challenges, Witter turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps transplant patients raise funds to pay for medical expenses.

“Of course we’re thrilled that Alyssa received her transplant,” said Laura Hughes, NFT fundraising consultant. “But many people don’t realize the lifelong financial burdens associated with transplants. Alyssa will require a lifetime of expensive follow-up care, and those costs can be devastating. At NFT, we’re dedicated to helping Alyssa raise the necessary funds so she can focus on her new life without constantly worrying about her medical bills.”

Volunteers are planning a fundraiser Saturday, March 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Garnet Masonic Lodge #166, 4923 Steward Ave. in White Bear Lake. Admission is $5 for adults and includes a hot dog, chips and a soda. Admission is $3 for children 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and younger.

The event will feature raffles for a variety of items, including a print by wildlife artist Les C. Kouba, a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. leather racing jacket, sports memorabilia and sporting event tickets, art and more. Tickets range from $5 to $20 depending on the item, and the winner does not need to be present to win. Attendees will be entered for door prizes for restaurant gift certificates, which will be drawn throughout the event.

For more information or to purchase raffle tickets in advance, please contact Edward Witter at 651-429-7422 or Cheryl Webb at 763-757-0318.

To make a donation in Witter’s honor, please visit www.transplants.org. If you prefer to mail your contribution, please send your gift to the NFT Minnesota Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Be sure to write “in honor of Alyssa Witter” in the subject line.

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. In the past 29 years, NFT’s fundraising campaigns have generated nearly $60 million to assist patients.

NFT currently assists more than 2,500 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 800-489-3863 or visit www.transplants.org.

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