What's the best gift you can imagine? For Eric Layne, it's a pair of lungs.
Eric loves to travel: "My favorite trip - a week's cruise to the Mediterranean." And to sing in ("gospel, church and other" choirs). And to "generally enjoy life and be out and about" with his many friends. But right now it's all Eric can do to walk up a flight of stairs. What Eric needs most - a healthy set of lungs - can only come through the generosity of strangers and a double lung transplant.
Eric, 38, suffers from a lung disease that makes breathing more and more difficult. A transplant is his only hope of a normal life. He's just hit the two-year mark on the transplant list. Life on the list - waiting for the phone call with health in the balance - is scary and stressful. Eric is worried about out-of-pocket expenses: for frequent doctor's visits, long hospital stays and medicine that can cost $400 a month for the rest of his life. But instead of waiting and wondering when his new lungs will arrive, Eric is forging ahead toward the future - thanks to HelpHOPELive.
When Eric found out about HelpHOPELive, he saw the benefit of working with a nonprofit to meet his health care needs. With advice and help from HelpHOPELive Patient Services Manager Rebecca Carr, MSW, Eric's circle of friends, family, fellow church members and colleagues (more than 250 strong!) organized a gala and silent auction in mid-October, including a celebrity emcee. "(Rebecca) told us how to do everything! How to write an appeal letter, when to publicize the event. None of us had ever done fundraising before."
Eric is still basking in the glow of their fundraising success (nearly $32,000 raised). "I was relieved on so many levels," said Eric. "When times get rough it's great to feel everyone's love and support."
Eric's facing the future with resolve, hopeful about his transplant. And thanks to HelpHOPELive, he is able to be listed at more than one transplant center, knowing that funds will be there for travel and relocation for care. Thanks to HelpHOPELive, "I can really, truly, focus on my health and getting the transplant," says Eric.
Lynne C. Samson
Executive Director and CEO for HelpHOPELive