Nov. 15, 2012. It’s hard to imagine fighting for every breath, but that’s the difficult reality for 22-year-old Anthony Howell.
From the time he was born, Howell battled pneumonia, bronchitis, colds and sinus infections. Finally, at 14 months old, his pediatrician had him tested for cystic fibrosis (CF), and the test was positive.
Cystic fibrosis has severely damaged his lungs, and now doctors say Howell needs a lung transplant. In 2004, he underwent emergency surgery to remove part of his intestines, which had collapsed due to the effects of CF.
During the past few years, Howell has faced hospitalizations every six to eight weeks, and his illness has continually worsened. In fact, last year he was hospitalized nine different times; he event spent his 21st birthday and Christmas in the hospital.
He now relies on an oxygen tank 24 hours a day, as his lung function is down to just 18 percent. He was recently hospitalized because of a lung and heart infection, requiring multiple antibiotics and a feeding tube.
A lung transplant costs approximately $550,000. Even though his health insurance will cover the transplant itself, 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.
To overcome these financial challenges, Howell and his family turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps transplant patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.
“My heart goes out to Anthony,” said Claire Prince, NFT fundraising consultant. “It’s especially difficult to see someone so young face such a debilitating illness. At NFT, we want to help Anthony and his volunteers raise the necessary funds so he can focus on his health, not the overwhelming expenses.”
Community members are encouraged to dine at Bandanas BBQ & Grill, at 1475 Hwy. 105 in Boone, on Monday, Nov. 26 from 5 to 9 p.m.
The restaurant will donate 10 percent of the evening’s profits to NFT in Howell’s honor. For more information, contact Michelle Huggins at [email protected] or 828-406-2468.
To make a donation in honor of Howell, please mail a tax-deductible gift to the NFT North Carolina Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Anthony Howell” in the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at www.transplants.org. Donors should select Find an NFT Patient to locate Howell.
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 has helped generate nearly $60 million to assist patients with their expenses.
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.