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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 25th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 29 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 29

Community Corner: Barbecue fundraiser for a kidney transplant patient is scheduled for Sept. 29

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

In just a couple of months, Santa Maria resident Libby Walling will head to Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to receive a kidney transplant from her sister.

It's not Walling's first kidney transplant either. She received her first one at the age of 17, with her brother as the donor. While that kidney performed well for 30 years, she is now in need of another one.

The transplant itself will cost approximately $250,000, and though health insurance will cover the bulk of it, Walling still faces more than $25,000 in medical expenses related to the surgery. Those expenses include follow-up care, daily anti-rejection medications, and travel to and from the hospital once a week five weeks prior to the surgery, as well as staying near the hospital for treatment four to six weeks after the surgery.

“We’re a little nervous,” Walling said.

Her husband Bob will be taking time off from work without pay as she preps for and recovers from surgery. In addition, Walling will need to take medication for the rest of her life that could cost up to $5,000 per month.

On Sunday, Sept. 29 from noon to 3 p.m., volunteers and the National Foundation for Transplants are holding a barbecue and concert at YOYO Hall, 725 E. Foster Road, in Santa Maria. Admission is $10 per adult and $5 per child. Adult tickets include a cheeseburger, chips, coleslaw, and a drink. Children’s tickets include a hot dog, chips, dessert, and juice.

The event will also include a raffle, 50/50 drawing, and entertainment by the band Still Evolving.

Walling said they are hoping to raise at least half of the $25,000 before her surgery, which will most likely be in mid-November. The Wallings and National Foundation for Transplants have thus far raised about $5,000 toward what is needed. Volunteers are thinking about making the barbecue an annual fundraiser in order to help with the cost of Walling’s medication.

The Wallings are also searching for a winery willing to host a wine tasting and silent auction event to help fundraise. To make a donation in Walling’s honor, visit transplants.org and select Find an NFT Patient. To mail in a contribution, send it to NFT California Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Write “in honor of Libby Walling” in the subject line.

Staff writer Camillia Lanham compiled this week’s Community Corner. Send comments or ideas to the Sun via e-mail at clanham@santamariasun.com.