Greer woman awaits transplant, fundraiser to help

Mauldin, S.C., March 19, 2012 – Stephanie Lindstrom is waiting for the phone call that will change her life. She needs a heart and liver transplant, but the costs are overwhelming. Volunteers are planning a yard sale to help.

When she was just 7 weeks old, an X-ray showed Lindstrom’s heart was significantly enlarged, and she was diagnosed with tricuspid atresia with a ventricular septum defect. The following week, she underwent the first of five heart surgeries she would experience throughout her life. Over the years, her health has worsened, and her illness has even caused her to develop cirrhosis of the liver. Doctors say both a heart and liver transplant are critical to her survival.

Despite these challenges, Lindstrom, 37, remains positive by relying on her faith and strong support system of family and friends. Before her health drastically declined, she loved running, cycling and taking her young children to the park. She now relies on an oxygen tank 24 hours a day and has very little energy. She looks forward to the transplant that will allow her to resume the activities we so often take for granted, such as cooking for her family, going to church regularly and driving. More than anything, she wants to spend many more years with her husband, Joel, watching their children grow up.

A heart and liver transplant costs nearly $1 million. Even though her health insurance will cover the cost of the transplants, Lindstrom faces significant expenses related to the procedures. For the rest of her life, she will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. Post-transplant medications can be very costly, and they are as critical to her survival as the transplant itself.

When she receives her transplants, Lindstrom and her husband must temporarily relocate 150 miles from their home for at least two months during recovery, incurring substantial expenses for travel, food and lodging. This will be a difficult time for her, as she will be away from her children until she is released from the hospital. Although she enjoyed her job as a hair stylist, her declining health prevents her from working, adding to the financial strain.

To overcome these financial challenges, the Lindstroms 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.

“Stephanie’s been fighting health battles her entire life,” said Lauren Wilmer, NFT fundraising consultant, “and now she relies on an oxygen tank for every single breath. Most of us take the act of breathing for granted, but Stephanie doesn’t have that luxury. Facing a life-threatening illness is terrifying in itself, but she has the added stress of mounting medical bills. At NFT, we’re dedicated to helping the Lindstroms raise the necessary funds so Stephanie can focus on her health without constantly worrying about the costs.”
Volunteers are planning a yard sale Saturday, March 31 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Emmanuel Bible Church, 437 West Butler Rd. in Mauldin. Items available for purchase include home décor, toys, appliances, books, children’s clothing and more.

For more information, please contact Becky Baugham at rjbaugham@hotmail.com or 864-770-5078.

To make donations in honor of Lindstrom, please visit www.transplants.org and select “Find or Become an NFT Patient” to search for her. 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 Stephanie Lindstrom” 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 2,500 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 800-489-3863 or visit www.transplants.org.

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