1,000th Transplant Recipient Benefits From Donors

Cheryl Blackburn felt blessed when she received a kidney from her son, Josh, on Sept. 10, 2019.

She was blessed again at discharge thanks to our generous donors. The entire cost of the immunosuppressant medications and insulin that she needed after surgery was not covered by Medicare, which Cheryl qualifies for based on her end-stage renal disease. Her request for Medicaid coverage had not become official, so that left a $277 bill.

The Transplant Patient Assistance Fund was able to cover that charge as well as another $70 of medication in October. Her request for Medicaid was approved in November.

“By receiving that assistance, it helped me to concentrate more on recovering and getting better. I didn’t have the additional stress of worrying about the financial aspects of post-transplant care,” Cheryl said.

Cheryl, who lives in Rantoul, has been on a medical leave from her job as an instructor at Parkland College since her surgery. She was the 1,000th kidney transplant recipient through The Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services at Memorial.

“Having this transplant has made a huge difference in how I feel and what my prospects are now. I will always be extremely grateful for what they have done for me,” Cheryl said. “I hope this program can continue for many years and help many more people like it has helped me.”

The Transplant Patient Assistance Fund is possible because of donations and proceeds from the 75 Grand Raffle and The Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services at Memorial 5K Run/Walk.

“What the donors and run/walk participants are doing to help people in situations like mine is one of the best gifts they can give,” Cheryl said.