Cincinnati woman needs kidney transplant

Cincinnati, Ohio, April 2, 2012 – Maria Henize is waiting for the phone call that will change her life. She needs a kidney transplant, but the costs are overwhelming. Volunteers are planning an auction fundraiser to help.

After a year of retaining a significant amount of water, Henize underwent multiple kidney biopsies and was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease and glomerulonephritis, which prevents her kidneys from properly filtering out fluid and waste. Doctors say a kidney transplant is critical to her survival, and she was added to the waiting list earlier this year. While awaiting her lifesaving transplant, she must endure regular dialysis treatments, which take a toll on her quality of life.

Despite these challenges, Henize remains positive and is thankful for the support of her family and friends, especially her fiancé, Mike, who has been by her side every step of the way. She loves to spend time outdoors taking walks, fishing and gardening and looks forward to a life free from dialysis after receiving her transplant.

During the search for a living donor, her longtime friend Jerry Styons was determined to be a match. However, further testing indicated that Styons had kidney cancer. Henize feels this was a blessing in disguise, as the cancer was found so early that it saved her friend’s life. Other friends have come forward and are undergoing testing to see if they are matches.

A kidney transplant costs approximately $250,000. Even with health coverage, Henize will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications for the rest of her life. Post-transplant medications can be very costly, and they are as critical to her survival as the transplant itself. She lives 50 miles from her transplant center and incurs travel expenses each time she has a doctor’s appointment or evaluation. Because of her declining health, she is unable to work, adding to the financial strain.

To overcome these financial challenges, Henize 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.

“My heart goes out to Maria,” said Claire Prince, NFT fundraising consultant. “It’s hard enough to battle a life-threatening illness, but she has the added stress of mounting medical bills. At NFT, we are dedicated to helping her raise funds so she can focus on her health without constantly worrying about the costs.”

Volunteers are planning an auction Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Scarlet Oaks School, 3254 E. Kemper Rd. in Cincinnati. There is no admission, but donations are strongly encouraged. The event will include refreshments. Auction items include a variety of gift baskets, toys, electronics, baked goods and more.

For tickets or more information, please contact Wanda Styons at 513-708-2637.

To make a donation in honor of Henize, please mail a tax-deductible gift to the NFT Ohio Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Maria Henize” in the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at Donors should select Find or Become an NFT Patient to locate Henize.

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