Elizabeth teen may get badly needed transplant this week
Christian Goodpaster, 19, of Elizabeth, a double lung transplant candidate, is waiting word this week about surgery ‘ possibly as early as today.
Anne McMahon, who has known Goodpaster since he was born, said Monday that the family was recently alerted that a possible match existed and the surgery, which Goodpaster desperately needs, could take place soon.
Goodpaster was born with cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disease characterized by abnormalities in the body’s organs. The most serious complication of cystic fibrosis is progressive lung disease, which often is fatal by young adulthood.
Physicians at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill recommended the double lung transplant as a life-saving measure.
Goodpaster and his mother, Terri Sutherland, have been living in Chapel Hill to be ready when a donor becomes available. The young man’s father is William Goodpaster Jr., and Ernest Sutherland is his stepfather.
In anticipation of the transplant, family and friends attended a volunteer training session in August through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) so they can conduct fund-raisers to help with Goodpaster’s medical expenses.
‘An estimated $100,000 is needed for Christian’s transplant-related expenses,’ McMahon said. That figure includes some post-transplant care.
Insurance and government programs cover some of the expenses associated with transplants, but the entire cost is never covered.
The COTA is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides fund-raising assistance to persons in need of life-saving transplants while promoting organ donation. To date, the association and its volunteers have raised more than $22 million to transplant expenses and have provided assistance to more than 575 recipients.
Tax-deductible donations can be made at any Bank One branch or mailed to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, 2501 COTA Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403. Checks or money orders should be payable to ‘COTA for Christian G.’ Write the account number 1614912317 on the memo line. Donations are tax deductible.
Each year, 16 people in the United States die while waiting for a transplant, and there are many others who die before their names ever reach a transplant list. The Children’s Organ Transplant Association said about 80,000 people are now waiting for a transplant of some kind.
Becoming an organ donor was in the news more than usual last month following the death of Gov. Frank O’Bannon, who was an organ donor.
McMahon, the human resource director at Daramic, formerly Evanite, worked with Goodpaster’s family when the teenager was born Nov. 26, 1984. She said his condition has deteriorated the past three years.
A fund-raiser meal and bazaar is planned for Saturday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Elizabeth United Methodist Church Fellowship Building. A free-will offering will be taken.
For more information about how to help the Goodpaster family, call 969-3422. Information about the Children’s Organ Transplant Association is available on the Internet at www.cota.org.