Student needs funds for organ transplant

By Penny Rynberk

Bob Jordan wants one thing for Christmas—enough money for an organ transplant.

Jordan, a 39-year-old graduate student, needs a pancreas transplant as the result of neuropathy, nerve damage inflicted by diabetes.

The Student Association is joining with Jordan to hopefully raise money through a Shop & Share program with Jewel Food Stores.

The neuropathy began to effect Jordan about nine years ago when he lost feeling in his legs, later leading to the amputation of his right leg and nerve damage in his arms and some internal organs.

After being declared as a transplant candidate last summer, Jordan went to the Organ Transplant Fund, a national non-profit organization, for help. They put him in a fund at the Harris Bank of Naperville for organ transplants.

Jordan said he doesn’t know how much money he’ll need by the time he is ready for the transplant. As of the middle of November, the total amount for the procedure is about $150,000 and still climbing.

“From August to the middle of November, the price jumped from $100,000 to $150,000,” Jordan said. “That’s the kind of increase we’re looking at.”

After the transplant, patients are placed on three kinds of anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives, Jordan said.

“The drugs are used so the body will accept the new organ,” Jordan said. “Right now, those drugs are priced at $10,000 per year.”

The Organ Transplant Fund suggested the Shop & Share program to Jordan as a way to raise money. Jordan said the program usually raises between $500 and $5,000.

Through the program, any Jewel Food Store will contribute 5 percent of purchases (excluding Osco items) on Dec. 16, 17 and 18 to Jordan’s fund. Shoppers must present cashiers with the proper coupons at the time of check-out.

“What we’re proposing to do is raise between $10,000 and $20,000 and break the record,” Jordan said. “All I’m asking is that people go out, buy their groceries and help me out at the same time.”

SA Public Relations Adviser Rebecca Bahr said, “The SA’s interest in helping (Jordan) stems from the fact that he has to raise $150,000. He’s not going to be able to do that without the help of some major organization.

“The program is a way for students to have their families help out, too,” Bahr said. “It won’t cost anything or be an inconvenience.”

Since the middle of September, Jordan’s fund has raised about $4,500. However, the cost just to get his name on the waiting list is $90,000.

“The wait is typically six to nine months,” Jordan said. “My goal is to raise enough money to get me on my way to the hospital by next summer.”

The transplant is not covered by insurance because the government still considers it to be experimental. It will stop the neuropathy and could reverse the nerve damage in his arms, Jordan said.

“I’m disappointed that the government won’t help me … join the rest of society on a full-time basis,” Jordan said. “I am independent and have my own life. That is what I want to maintain.”

The coupons will be distributed to residence hall assistants, Bahr said. They also can be clipped from today’s Northern Star.

“Hopefully students will use the coupons and participate,” Bahr said. “I hope they take time out to do a little giving to other students that need help.”