Heart Month: Local father receives heart transplant

Gary Grismore

Sevierville, Tenn., Feb. 1, 2016– After experiencing swelling in his legs and visiting his doctor, Gary Grismore, of Sevierville, was sent to the hospital for additional tests. Soon after, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was flown by helicopter to a larger hospital.

Within two weeks, doctors felt it was critical to implant a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to serve as a mechanical heart while Grismore, 51, awaited a lifesaving heart transplant.

He received a new heart on May 16, 2015.

The average heart transplant costs nearly $1 million. And that’s only the beginning. Even with health coverage, which will cover a portion of 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, which are as critical to his survival as the transplant.

When Grismore received his transplant, he temporarily relocated nearly 200 miles from his home to be near the transplant center during recovery, incurring substantial expenses for travel, food, and lodging.

For fundraising expertise and guidance, the Grismore family turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization based in Memphis, Tenn. that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.

“This is such a wonderful family,” said Claire Prince, NFT fundraising consultant. “I know Gary dreams of spending many more years watching his little girl grow up, and at NFT, we’re dedicated to helping him raise the funds he needs to afford his lifesaving care and treatment.”

To make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Grismore, please send a contribution to the NFT Tennessee Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Gary Grismore” on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at www.transplants.org--select “Find an NFT Patient” to locate Grismore.

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 www.transplants.org.