Darcy, a trained radiation-oncology research specialist and a Pennsylvania farm girl, says she has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season including an awesome family, great friends, and a new heart. Recently, her circle of supporters threw a barn dance fundraiser to help offset medical cost related to Darcy’s transplant. They raised the roof and brought her closer to meeting her fundraising goal.

Darcy Franicola leaving the hospital after successful transplant.

Darcy’s transplant story started in the fall of 2011 when she began to experience cardiac issues.

According to Darcy, “It didn’t seem real. After eight years of not being able to take a full breath, barely feeling a pulse, and looking in the mirror at a pasty white and gray face, I was officially placed on the organ transplant list in March 2019.” She received the call that “would change her life forever” on a Sunday at 9:40 a.m. On Monday, August 12, 2019, Darcy had a new heart. “I never enjoyed signing my name as much as I did when I signed my discharge papers. It was a freeing feeling to have the cardiac monitor removed after living with a pacer/defibrillator for over seven years.”

Immediately after discharge, Darcy sent a message to her family and friends on social media, “I was and am grateful for all of your words of encouragement, prayers, visits, texts, gifts, and the positive thoughts and love sent my way. I truly have felt surrounded by God’s grace, and will always believe there was and is divine intervention guiding me through this journey.”

And a journey it has been. Feeling better than she has felt in over a decade with a life-saving medical operation now behind her, Darcy was faced with a mountain of medical-related debt. She hasn’t returned to work yet and is currently living off her disability benefits. Her journey touched every aspect of her life including financially.

Seeking professional advice and guidance, Darcy turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) where her application to fundraise with the organization was approved. She began working with Claire Prince in NFT’s patient services. A personal fundraising website was launched and Darcy’s supporters quickly formed a fundraising committee complete with chairman, treasurer and other important volunteers.

“When we discussed fundraisers, my team and I knew we wanted to do something that aligns with our northeastern culture and rural values,” said Darcy who grew up on a dairy farm in western Pennsylvania. In her circle of family and friends, tending to animals, being out in nature, working the land, being self-sufficient is a way of life. “We thought a good, old-fashion, dos-à-dos barn dance would appeal to the community and provide a fun and festive environment for all ages,” Darcy continued. So they set a date, November 9th and selected a place, Turkeytown Firehall.

Using tools provided by NFT to harness community resources, Darcy and her team of volunteers went to work. The results were astonishing. “The key to our success was the volunteers. Most everything was donated,” Darcy explained. “We had 68 baskets donated for our silent auction. The community came out and showed their support. Over 400 people attended the dance,” she said. “Amazingly, what touched my heart most of all were the five people who attended the Barn Dance who had a heart transplant within the past year,” Darcy excitedly exclaimed.

“Darcy and her team of volunteers were equipped with the right cause and the right tools. Their Barn Dance was a huge success. They raised $13,000 in a single night. Already, Darcy has met 96% of her fundraising goal,” said Claire Prince of NFT. “We’ve been helping people remove financial barriers since 1983. Our model works if the tools are used, volunteers are motivated, and the work is done. Darcy’s Barn Dance success can be duplicated by many.”

If you or a loved one are facing financial barriers related to a transplant find out if we can help. Get started today.