PRINEVILLE, Ore. - Breathing freely is a luxury Mark Shearer of Prineville simply doesn't have. He is awaiting a lifesaving double-lung transplant, and the costs are overwhelming.
In 1998, Shearer, 62, began experiencing shortness of breath, but his health didn't significantly decline until much later. In 2009, he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis after he began wheezing and having even more breathing difficulties. Doctors say a double-lung transplant is critical to his survival.
Sadly, before he can receive his transplant he must raise at least $250,000 to prove he can afford his share of the costs related to the medical care and post-transplant medications.
The average double-lung transplant costs approximately $800,000. Even with health coverage, 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 pricey, and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself. He had to stop working as a truck driver because of his declining health, adding to the financial strain.
To help alleviate the financial burden, Shearer turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance with some of these financial burdens. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.
"My heart goes out to Mark and his family," said Kay Horne, NFT fundraising consultant. "I know it's hard to wrap your head around all these medical issues, let alone the expenses. At NFT, we want to help him raise the necessary funds so he can focus on his health and spending time with his precious grandchildren, not his soaring medical bills."
To help with the Shearers' medical expenses, volunteers are holding a bingo night fundraiser on Saturday, April 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Solstice Brewing Company, 234 N. Main St. in Prineville.
Bingo cards are $1 apiece or $10 for 12 cards, and there will be prizes donated from local businesses. The evening will also include a silent auction, and the brewery will donate $1 from every pint purchased to NFT in Shearer's honor.
For more information, please contact Corinna Pease at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-771-9719.
To make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Shearer, please send a contribution to the NFT Oregon Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write "in honor of Mark Shearer" on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at www.transplants.org. Donors should select "Find an NFT Patient" to locate Shearer.
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 $60 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.