In December of 2018, Fisherville, Kentucky resident Brian Drain received a lifesaving kidney transplant. Unfortunately, the required post-transplant medications caused a rare neurologic condition. Thanks to his wife, Marie, and her persistence, Drain eventually received the treatment he needed and avoided permanent brain damage from the medication.
Marie Drain served as her husband’s caretaker throughout his recovery from the transplant and ensuing neurologic condition. She had only been back at work for 7 weeks when the COVID-19 pandemic made it too dangerous for her to continue working outside the home. Since her husband is considered high risk due to a compromised immune system, she had to stop working to ensure she wouldn’t bring the virus home and expose him.
Unfortunately, the Drains still face significant financial challenges due to the costs associated with his kidney transplant, and with Marie off work, their situation is even more difficult. The average kidney transplant is more than $414,000, and that’s only the beginning. A lifetime of expensive medications and follow up care are critical to his survival. Insurance premiums alone are more than $600 a month, and a loss of insurance would be devastating to the family.
The Drains still face significant financial challenges due to the costs associated with Brian’s kidney transplant, and with Marie off work, their situation is even more difficult. The average kidney transplant is more than $414,000, and that’s only the beginning.
Prior to his transplant, the Drains turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for fundraising support and guidance, and assistance with some of their financial burdens. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses through their community-based fundraising program. Over the past two years, NFT has assisted with some of Brian’s expenses. “We rely on special events to help raise funds. With social distancing mandates in place across the country, fundraising events have had to be cancelled or postponed. Even so, the need is still there, and in many cases it is greater than ever,” said Claire Prince, Vice President of Patient Services for NFT. “Our patients are having to get creative and find ways to hold fundraisers online.”
That’s exactly what Marie Drain, a seamstress, did. “My cousin put out a plea for face masks that can cover the N95 masks. Those masks are in limited supply, and his wife and her co-workers were in need. I made a batch of masks and mailed them out to him,” she explained. “It took off from there. Neighbors and family members asked me to make masks as well, and I realized this would be a great way for us to raise money for Brian’s transplant expenses.”
Marie’s mask design includes a washable liner so the entire mask area is filtered. She posted on Facebook about her fundraiser and asked those interested to send her a private message and make a $10 donation to NFT in Brian’s honor. “It is a great way for me to share his story, too. Most people don’t understand how complicated his transplant was, or the complications he has suffered post-transplant.”
Brian serves as her assistant and helps cut the fabric. Local orders can be picked up, and out of town orders can be mailed. Orders take about a week to fill, as demand for masks grows. “We are so thankful for those who have supported us both financially and through prayer,” Marie said. “Without donations there is no way we could cover the costs of Brian’s transplant and care.”
For information on ordering a mask, e-mail Marie at email@example.com. Donations can be made online at http://give.transplants.org/goto/briandrain. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Drain can mail a contribution to the NFT Kentucky Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 850, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Brian Drain” on the memo line.
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