Richton Park woman awaiting lung transplant, auction to help with expenses

Calumet City, Ill., March 16, 2012 – Pamela Carpenter wants nothing more than to take a deep breath. She’s waiting for a lifesaving lung transplant, but the costs are overwhelming. Volunteers are planning a fundraiser to help.

Carpenter was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 1992, after a prolonged cough and several bouts with pneumonia. The illness has permanently scarred her lungs. Doctors now say a double-lung transplant is critical to her survival, and she was added to the transplant waiting list earlier this year.

During this challenging time, Carpenter, 56, is thankful for the love and support of her husband, Donald; her four grandsons; her two sisters; and her network of family and friends, who mean so much to her. She hates that she has to miss out on many activities, and she knows her new lungs will allow her to return to the family and volunteer activities that once filled her life.

Before her health declined, she loved going to the movies, being active in church and volunteering in her community. She is very compassionate and has always been one to put the needs of others ahead of her own, but right now, she’s the one who needs help.

A double-lung transplant costs approximately $800,000. Even with health coverage, she faces significant expenses related to the procedures. For the rest of her life, Carpenter 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.

She previously had a home-based business and helped care for a family member, but her health issues forced her to stop working, adding to her financial strain. 

To overcome these financial challenges, Bracewell 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.

“Can you imagine fighting for every single breath?” said Laura Hughes, NFT fundraising consultant. “That’s the reality for Pamela. While most of us take the act of breathing for granted, she doesn’t have that luxury. On top of that, she faces mounting medical expenses, which can be financially devastating. At NFT, we’re dedicated to helping Pamela raise the necessary funds so she can focus on her health without constantly worrying about the costs.”

Volunteers are planning a silent auction fundraiser, Saturday, March 31 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Garden House Senior Apts., 1340 Ring Road. Auction items include jewelry, purses, women’s leather boots, men's leather jacket and more. The event will include refreshments and several speakers, including two transplant professionals and a transplant recipient.

Admission is free, but donations are strongly encouraged.

For more information, please contact Marice Cobb at 630-215-3995 or Gloria Lacey at 773-306-5932.

To make a donation in Carpenter’s honor, 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 Illinois Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Be sure to write “in honor of Pamela Carpenter” 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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