Eastover man awaits kidney transplant, fundraiser to help

Eastover, S.C., March 6, 2012 – Alton Cooper is waiting for the phone call that will change his life. He needs a kidney transplant, but the costs are overwhelming. Volunteers are planning a fundraiser to help.

In 2005, Cooper was diagnosed with high blood pressure, which runs rampant in his family. So many people in his family, including his mother, Minister Deloris Flemming, and father, have battled this disease that it was accepted as a normal part of life. His father died at the age of 59 after suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. Now, Cooper’s kidneys are failing, and doctors say a kidney transplant is critical to his survival. While awaiting his lifesaving transplant, he endures dialysis treatments three times a week, which take a toll on his quality of life.

Now that Cooper, 36, understands more about the effects of high blood pressure, he wishes he could turn back time and do things differently. Because that’s not possible, he hopes to tell others about the importance of eating the right foods and leading an active, healthy lifestyle. He looks forward to receiving his transplant so he can spend more time with his family and friends and dreams of having the energy to fish and go to the race track.

A kidney transplant costs approximately $250,000. Even with health coverage, Cooper faces significant expenses related to his transplant. For the rest of his life, he will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. The cost of his post-transplant medications can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per month, and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself.

When he receives his transplant, Cooper must travel more than 100 miles from his home to be near the transplant center for the surgery and recovery, incurring substantial travel expenses. His declining health prevents him from working, adding to the financial strain.

To overcome these financial challenges, Cooper 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.

“Fighting a life-threatening illness is difficult in itself,” said Lauren Wilmer, NFT fundraising consultant. “but Alton has the added stress of mounting medical bills. At NFT, we’re dedicated to helping him raise the necessary funds so he can focus on his health without constantly worrying about the costs.”

Volunteers are planning an activity-filled fundraiser Saturday, March 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at Eastover Town Hall. The event will include a walk-a-thon, car wash and bake sale. There is no admission fee, but donations to help Cooper are strongly encouraged.

For more information, please contact Beatrice Long at 803-353-8476 or beatricelong1@bellsouth.net.

To make donations in honor of Cooper, please visit www.transplants.org and click on “Patients We Help” to search for him. If you prefer to mail your contribution, please send your gift to the NFT South Carolina Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Be sure to write “in honor of Alton Cooper” 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 1,200 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 800-489-3863 or visit www.transplants.org.