Bowl-a-thon in honor of local transplant patient

In 2013, Maria DiNicola, of Altamonte Springs, learned she was suffering from end-stage renal disease.

Doctors say a kidney transplant is necessary. While awaiting her transplant, she endures regular dialysis treatments, which take a toll on her quality of life.

DiNicola, 50, has faced health obstacles her entire life, as she was born with vision problems and is now legally blind; the challenges her poor vision caused have made her stronger throughout her life.

The average kidney transplant costs approximately $250,000. And that’s only the beginning. Even with health coverage, which will cover the cost of the transplant itself, she faces significant expenses related to the surgery. For the rest of her life, she will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications, which are as critical to her survival as the transplant.

DiNicola loved her job as a chef, but her health battles forced her to stop working, adding to the financial strain.

For fundraising support and guidance, DiNicola 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.

“I’m hopeful that Maria will receive her transplant soon,” said Samantha Palazolo, NFT fundraising consultant. “At NFT, we’re dedicated to helping her raise the funds she needs so she can spend more quality time focused on her health and happiness, not the bills.”

To help offset the medical expenses, volunteers are holding a bowl-a-thon at AMF Altamonte Lanes, 280 Douglas Ave. in Altamonte Springs, on Sunday, January 18, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Entry is $20 per bowler, and the evening will also include raffles.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Yvonne Grey at or (407) 529-5461.

To make a tax-deductible donation in honor of DiNicola, please send a contribution to the NFT Florida Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Maria DiNicola” on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at Donors should click on “Find an NFT Patient” to locate DiNicola.

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 2,500 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 800-489-3863 or visit