Concert to help local kidney transplant recipient

Pinehurst, N.C., July 7, 2016– In 2008, Ellis Ray, of Foxfire Village, returned home to help his father care for his mother, who had suffered a stroke and congestive heart failure. Sadly, she passed away the following year, and in the midst of those challenges, Ray, 63, was diagnosed with kidney disease. Doctors said a kidney transplant was necessary.

Thankfully, he received a new kidney on July 1 and is recovering well.

The average kidney transplant costs approximately $250,000. And that’s only the beginning. Even with health insurance, which will cover the transplant costs, he faces significant expenses related to the surgery. For the rest of his life, he will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. Post-transplant medications are very expensive, and they’re as critical to his survival as the transplant itself. Ray must travel two hours from his home for each doctor visit and evaluation, incurring substantial expenses for travel, food and lodging.

For fundraising expertise and guidance, Ray turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization based in Memphis, Tenn. that helps patients offset their transplant-related expenses through their community-based fundraising program. 

“I’m so thankful that Ellis has such a strong support system,” said Claire Prince, NFT fundraising consultant. “I know he wants nothing more than to be healthy enough to spend more time with his loving family, and at NFT, we want to help him afford the care he needs to do just that.

To help offset his expenses, volunteers are holding a concert Saturday, July 23 at the Village Arboretum, 395 Magnolia Rd. in Pinehusrt.

Event entry is $20 per person, and free for children under 12. The concert will feature various jazz, gospel and R&B artists from N.C., S.C., Va., Ga. and Fla., and special guests include Erikka J and Jon Bibb, Ashley (Blondie) Smith, Stacey Branch, The Love Grove Gospel Ensemble and The Cousinaires. Lawn chairs are welcome. Food vendors will be on-site.

For more information, contact Gwendolyn Belcher at 919-452-8183 or

To make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Ray, please visit his fundraising page.

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 to transplant patients by organizing fundraising campaigns in the patients’ own communities. NFT’s fundraising campaigns have generated nearly $75 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