Mark Millican of Greenbrier, needs a liver transplant to survive. Volunteers are planning "Smoke on the Hill," a fundraiser to help defray Millican's costly medical bills.
"Smoke on the Hill," will be a full day of activities, including a horseshoe tournament, barbecue dinner, raffle, door prizes and music from local entertainers The Philly Joe's and Plow Dog Band. The event will be Saturday at Millican's home, 204 Merritt Road in Greenbrier. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs. Camping is also available for anyone who wishes to stay overnight.
A horseshoe tournament will be at 2 p.m. A barbecue dinner will be served at 5 p.m. The Philly Joe's and Plow Dog Band will play at 5 and 7 p.m., respectively.
Attendees may purchase a day pass for $15 or two passes for $25. Entry for a horseshoe tournament team of two players costs $25 and includes the day pass. Tournament winner will receive a trophy and prize. Door prizes will be given out every hour. Prizes include gift cards from local organizations, such as Market Place Grill, Home Bank, Mack's Knife Shop at Pickles Gap Village and Persimmon Ridge Golf. No alcohol will be served at this event.
A liver transplant costs approximately $520,000, and that is only the beginning. Even with health insurance, Millican faces significant expenses related to his transplant. Vital anti-rejection medications can cost as much as $5,000 each month, and he must take them every day for the rest of his life.
Millican turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance in hopes of alleviating some of these financial burdens. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.
"It's hard for people to understand the long-term expenses transplant patients are facing," said Carrie Berry, NFT fundraising consultant. "Many just don't realize that patients like Mark will face a lifetime of costly medications and follow-up care. At NFT, we help raise funds for transplant patients so they can focus on their health instead of worrying about finances."
Millican said in an interview with the Log Cabin Democrat that he has struggled with his health since 1995. He has been diagnosed with cirrhosis and has only about 30 percent use of his liver. He has been placed on the transplant list, and once he receives a new liver, doctors tell him it will take a year to recover if his body does not reject the liver.
Millican's stepdaughter, Angela Hardy, said, "He hasn't worked in several years. He's disabled from heart problems. He used to be a professional welder. He does welding as a hobby whenever he feels well enough. He makes eagles and stuff out of horseshoes.
"He's married to my mom, he's grandpa to my kids. He's an all-around decent guy. Everybody knows him. He's lived around here all his life."
She said NFT makes a $1,000 donation toward Millican's account for every $5,000 in donations the family raises.
"It's a grant they have up to $25,000," she said. "They have been absolutely wonderful. They set up an account for him that's non-taxable."
For more information about the upcoming fundraiser, contact Hardy at 501-277-9181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Millican, please send a contribution to the NFT Arkansas Liver Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Donors should write "in honor of Mark Millican" on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at www.transplants.org. Donors should click on "Patients We Help" to locate Millican.