NEVADA – The Nevada Donor Network Foundation is closing in on its $35 million fundraising campaign goal to establish the first organ transplant center in northern Nevada. As of today, the foundation needs to raise an additional $20 million to reach its target, according to an online report.
For decades, northern Nevadans in need of life-saving transplants have had to move to other states or face death. The lack of a transplant center in the region has made it challenging for patients and their families to receive the necessary care.
One such patient was Chris Connolly, a Reno resident who was diagnosed with end-stage liver failure in July 2021. With no transplant center in northern Nevada, Connolly’s options became increasingly limited, and his condition became critical by the end of October.
Connolly’s wife reached out to hospitals in Arizona, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Stanford, but all of them had no room. Fortunately, Connolly’s ICU doctor at Renown Regional Medical Center found an open bed for him at Stanford Medical University in Palo Alto, California, but only under the condition that his wife relocated with him to provide constant care.
Nevada Donor Network President Steve Peralta is determined to prevent other northern Nevadans from facing similar challenges. He aims to establish a transplant center in northern Nevada, most likely in Reno.
The transplant center will service people who live within a two or three-hour drive, including Gardnerville, Fallon, Winnemucca, and all communities around Lake Tahoe.
The fundraising campaign is still in progress, with the goal of moving forward once $35 million is raised. Every dollar donated to the foundation will go towards funding the transplant institute, Peralta said.
If all goes well, the transplant center in Reno could perform its first kidney transplant in July 2024 and its first liver transplant in 2025. The Nevada Donor Network’s ultimate goal is to perform heart and lung transplants in the northern Nevada transplant center.
In addition to providing better access to life-saving organ transplants, building a transplant center in Reno will also help keep families together during recovery.
Connolly never had the option to receive a transplant close to home, and his bills totaled about $5 million due to out-of-network costs and living expenses in Palo Alto.
With the creation of a transplant center in northern Nevada, patients and their families will no longer have to bear such high costs and uproot their lives to receive essential care.
The Nevada Donor Network’s goal is to end the wait for life-saving organ transplants in Nevada and to keep organs harvested in the state within its borders.
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