An East Texas Army veteran needs your help this weekend.
Mitch Simpson, 56, of Tatum has been on kidney dialysis since November 2010, and his friends and family are hosting a benefit dinner in Longview this Saturday to help him raise the money needed for the procedure.
Despite having Bright's Disease as a child, Simpson says he was healthy until his doctor told him his kidneys were failing after two strokes and a heart attack.
"He told me that I would probably have to go on dialysis in about six months to a year," Simpson said. "And I said, you've got to be kidding me. I've never been sick before."
But he had seen his oldest son, Daniel, go through dialysis treatments. Daniel died of kidney disease in 2006.
"I knew if I went on dialysis the things I saw him go through, and so I guess I kind of knew what to expect," he said.
Simpson spends 12 hours a week in dialysis treatments. His wife, Kathy, is currently being tested to see if she is a match for a transplant, but the procedure will cost $255,000 to $500,000 - money the family simply doesn't have.
They have paired up with the National Foundation for Transplants to raise money for Simpson's transplant.
"That money goes into a pool, and whatever money I need they draw out of that pool. And it may not be my money that I receive," he explained.
Most of all, Simpson just wants to get better for his family.
"Me and Kathy would like to travel and go places and I can't do that now. I can't go nowhere unless I'm back the next day. And that ain't going nowhere and doing nothing," he said. "So I want to live a better life. And I believe this would be a better life."
The benefit dinner for Mitch Simpson will be this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Leon's Steakhouse (2112 S. Eastman Road) in Longview.
There will be barbeque and fried fish, a silent auction, and live music, and all donations received will be sent to the National Foundation for Transplants to help Mitch Simpson and others in need of transplants.
Tickets are $5 a plate.
If you cannot attend Saturday's fundraiser and would like to contribute to the Simpson family, the following information is from the National Foundation for Transplants: To make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Simpson, please send a contribution to the NFT Texas Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write "in honor of Mitch Simpson" on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at www.transplants.org. Donors should select "Find an NFT Patient" to locate Simpson.
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