Concert aims to help Leetsdale man who needs kidney, liver transplants
A concert featuring four bands will raise money for the medical expenses of a Leetsdale man who needs liver and kidney transplants and raise awareness of the need for organ donors and support for caregivers.
The inaugural Bands 4 Life Bands 4 Brent event is scheduled from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at the CCBC Athletics and Events Center, also known as the Golden Dome, on the campus of the Community College of Beaver County in Center.
Proceeds will go toward Brent Lauffer's medical expenses through HelpHOPELive. The nonprofit organization, based in Radnor, Delaware County, provides a way for families to raise money for expenses related to transplants, catastrophic injuries or debilitating illnesses that aren't covered by insurance.
Lauffer, 37, was born in Senegal, where his parents were missionaries, and grew up in Sewickley. He has a genetic liver disorder called congenital hepatic fibrosis, although the source of what his mother called his “mystery pains” wasn't diagnosed until he was 19.
At that time, he said, he was told he would need a liver transplant in three or four years, but his liver lasted longer than expected.
A graduate of CCBC and Thomas Edison State University in New Jersey, he was a dock manager for a FedEx SmartPost facility in Atlanta until three years ago, when he moved to Leetsdale to be closer to his parents because of his health problems. His parents, Doug and Vicki Lauffer, live in Leetsdale.
The deterioration of his liver has led to failing kidneys, as well, Brent Lauffer said.
“My kidneys started failing 10 months ago,” he said.
The decline in kidney function was rapid. He went from 90 percent kidney function to 15 percent in four or five months, and his kidney function now is at 9 percent, Brent Lauffer said.
He must have four hours of dialysis three times a week because of his kidney problems.
“My faith in the Lord gets me through the darkness,” said Lauffer, who is a patient of the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center.
Although he has “OK insurance,” it won't cover all of the expenses related to a transplant and the follow-up procedures and anti-rejection medications transplant recipients need for the rest of their lives, he said.
The Bands 4 Life Bands 4 Brent concert will feature MojoDia & The Fireball Horns, a classic rock band with horns; Angel Blue Band, a blues band; The Mudslinger Band, which plays a wide variety of music; and Silent Partner, a classic rock band.
The event also will feature a 50/50 raffle, a raffle for an acoustic guitar autographed by the musicians performing during the concert and a silent auction of gift baskets.
Event tickets are $12. More Information and tickets are available at brentlauffer.com.
“I'm just so grateful for all the volunteers and how generous strangers have been,” Brent Lauffer said.
Doug Lauffer said that in addition to raising money for his son's medical expenses, the concert will provide a way to make people aware of the need for organ donors and correct misconceptions they have about organ donation. And, he said, it also will draw attention to the need for caregiver support.
“The sicker people become, the only people that visit are family and ministers,” said Doug Lauffer, a professor of computer information science at CCBC and an ordained minister.
People tend to avoid seriously ill people and their caregivers because they don't know what to say, Doug Lauffer said. They don't realize that just being there is what matters, he said.
Brent Lauffer said he is looking forward to educating people about organ donation.
“The more people that can understand that organ donation should be on their license will save more people's lives,” he said.
Some people don't want to indicate they are willing to be organ donors on their driver's licenses because they are afraid doctors might “pull the plug” on them when they still might recover in order to get their organs, he said.
“I heard a lot of those excuses, but that just doesn't happen,” Brent Lauffer said.
Doug Lauffer called his son “a courageous young man.”
“I'm impressed by his faith, his courage,” he said.
Madelyn Dinnerstein is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.