Children's Fund seeks financial support

Sue Guinn Legg • Jun 28, 2012 at 8:21 AM

The national Children’s Organ Transplant Fund has made a request for financial support for a Johnson City family with a 7-year-old daughter in need of a new kidney.

Piper Smith, daughter of Scott and Pam Smith, has been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease and has been placed on the transplant list at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Piper is a student at the Lake Ridge Elementary School, where she will begin second grade in August. She is also a student at Premier Gymnastics and the Dance Company in Johnson City and a cheerleader with the competitive Spider cheerleading squad. Her mother is a special education teacher who spent several years teaching in the Carter County school system and her dad is employed by Service Master.

According to her parents, Piper first began experiencing kidney failure at age 2 and at age 4 was diagnosed with Schmikes syndrome, a very rare genetic disorder suffered by only one in every 3 million children.

Pam Smith said the search for an organ donor has been under way for some time and one of Piper’s cheerleading coaches has been tentatively identified as a match. “There is one more test she must go through and if she makes it through that she has agreed to be Piper’s donor. She is only 22 years old and for her to be that young and to agree to do this brings tears to my eyes just to talk about,” she said.

Following the transplant, Pam and Piper will remain in Nashville for about six weeks of follow-up care, while Scott continues to work and travel back and forth.

The Smith family’s friends and family members here and in Knoxville are attempting to raise $70,000 to help the family with the cost of the transplant and related expenses.

Peggy Borgos, community coordinator for COTA, said fundraising to help the family is just getting started and while event dates and locations are still tentative, donations to COTA earmarked for Piper’s transplant may be made online at www.COTAforPiperS.com. Or, donations to the COTA earmarked “In honor of Piper S” may be made by mail to the Children’s Organ Transplant Fund, 2501 W. COTA Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403. One hundred percent of all donations received will be used exclusively for the Smith family’s transplant-related expenses.

More information about Piper’s condition and efforts to help her family can also be found at www.COTAforPiperS.com or may be obtained by contacting Borgos at 737-9655 or peggy.borgos@yahoo.com.

With temperatures forecast to approach record highs in the area beginning today, Good Samaritan Ministries has made a special request for donations of electric fans and window air conditioning units to distribute to its elderly and disabled clients.

For those who are home- bound, without a cooling system and unable to seek the comfort of a climate controlled mall, library, movie theater or other cool haven, summer heat poses a danger.

“We want to keep them cool,” Good Samaritan Executive Director Sarah Wells said. And the cheapest window air conditioning unit the ministry has been able to locate comes at a cost of $115.

Good used fans and air conditioners could save a life and will be heartily welcomed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the ministry at 100 N. Roan St. Or pickup may be arranged by calling the ministry at 928-1958.

Monetary donations earmarked for “fans or AC” may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.

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