Casino night to help Blawnox transplant recipient

Pittsburgh, Penn., March 16, 2012 – Paul Kirklewski doesn’t take one moment for granted. Six months ago, he received a liver and kidney transplant after fighting for his life for many years. His medical expenses are overwhelming, and friends and family are planning a casino night to help.

In the mid-80s, Kirklewski was diagnosed with a life-threatening liver disease so serious that he was in a coma for three months. After he recovered, he didn’t experience many health issues related to the disease until he began showing symptoms of end-stage liver disease in 2010. He was also diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in 2005, which forced him to endure regular dialysis treatments. Doctors said a liver/kidney transplant was critical to his survival, and he received his lifesaving transplants on September 24, 2011.
Kirklewski, 57, and his wife, Maryann, have twin sons, and he’s eager to play, camp and swim with his boys once he fully recovers.

A liver/kidney transplant costs approximately $750,000. Even though his insurance covered the transplant itself, he faces significant expenses related to his transplant. For the rest of his life, Kirklewski will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. His post-transplant medications can be very costly, and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself.

He enjoyed his job as a landscaper, but he had to stop working after being diagnosed with kidney disease and starting dialysis, adding to the financial strain.

To overcome these financial challenges, the Kirklewskis turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps transplant patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.
“Of course we’re thrilled that Paul received his transplants,” said Claire Prince, NFT fundraising consultant, “but many people don’t realize the lifelong financial burdens associated with transplantation. He’ll need extensive follow-up care to keep his new organs healthy, and those costs can be very overwhelming. At NFT, we are dedicated to helping the Kirklewskis raise funds so they can celebrate Paul’s life without constantly worrying about the costs.”

Volunteers are planning a casino night Saturday, March 31 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Teamster Temple, 4701 Butler St. in the Lawrenceville area of the city. Admission is $15 and includes sandwiches, pop and mixers. The event is BYOB, and attendees must be 21 or older.

For tickets or more information, please contact Shelly Hart at or 412-616-3206.
To make a donation in honor of Kirklewski, please mail a tax-deductible gift to the NFT Pennsylvania Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Paul Kirklewski” in the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at Donors should select Find or Become an NFT Patient to locate Kirklewski.

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 has helped generate nearly $60 million to assist patients with their expenses.

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