Leachville man receives liver transplant

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fundraisers to help with expenses

Mitchell Zolman is grateful for every moment. He recently received a liver transplant, but the costs are overwhelming. Volunteers are planning several fundraisers to help.

Although he was diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis in 2007, Zolman's health didn't start to significantly decline until earlier this year. His condition was caused by fatty liver disease, which runs in his family. Doctors said a liver transplant was critical to his survival, and he received his transplant Aug. 17.

Zolman, 32, and his wife, Christie, have a 2-year-old daughter who means the world to them. It's been hard on her to see her father so sick, and Zolman hates seeing his little girl worry about him. He is eager to resume his regular activities and play with his little girl once he recovers.

A liver transplant costs approximately $500,000. Even with health coverage, Zolman faces considerable medical expenses related to his transplant. For the rest of his life, he will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. The cost of his post-transplant medications can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per month, and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself.

The Zolmans had to temporarily relocate 80 miles from their home to be near the hospital, incurring substantial expenses for travel, food and lodging. Zolman's doctors told him to stop working until after he recovers, adding to the financial strain.

To overcome these financial challenges, the Zolmans 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.

"Of course we're thrilled that Mitchell received his transplant," said Laura Rabb, NFT fundraising consultant, "but that's really just the first hurdle. The reality is that he'll face a lifetime of expenses to keep his new liver healthy. He's faced more health issues than most people can even imagine, and at such a young age. At NFT, we're helping Mitchell and Christie raise the necessary funds so they can focus on his health and their family, without having to constantly worry about the costs."

Volunteers are planning several fundraisers to help:

Friday, Sept. 2, and Saturday, Sept. 3, volunteers will hold a yard sale at Greater Life United Pentecostal Church, 100 N. 4th St. in Arbyrd. The sale will begin at 2 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 7 a.m. on Sept. 3. Available items include home decor, toys, clothing, books, appliances and more.

Saturday, Sept. 17, volunteers will sell tee shirts and cookbooks in front of Walmart, 1500 1st St. in Kennett. Shirts and NFT cookbooks will be available for $15 each. The sale will begin at 7 a.m.

For more information about the yard sale or to donate items, please contact Geraldean Purser at 573-738-2041. To purchase tee shirts or cookbooks, contact Stacy Masters at sddmasters@yahoo.com or 573-654-3609.

To make a donation in Zolman's honor, visit www.transplants.org. If you prefer to mail your contribution, send your gift to the NFT Arkansas Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Be sure to write "in honor of Mitchell Zolman" 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 28 years, NFT's fundraising campaigns have generated nearly $59 million to assist patients.

NFT currently assists more than 1,000 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 800-489-3863 or visit www.transplants.org.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: