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A Night for Life to raise awareness, funds for organ donation, recipients

By Staff | Jul 31, 2019

A Night for Life Fundraiser held by the local nonprofit, Organ Transplant Recipients of Southwest Florida Inc. is coming to Bonita Bill’s on Aug 3. The fundraiser aims to educate the public about organ donation and raise funds for organ transplant recipients in Southwest Florida.

Organ Transplant Recipients of Southwest Florida Inc. provides a place for the sharing of medical experiences among members and caregivers alike while educating the public on organ donation. The nonprofit also raises funds for the medical bills of those who have received organ transplants in Southwest Florida or are awaiting transplant.

The fundraiser, scheduled from 5-9 p.m. will have live music from a local musician and auctions. Bonita Bill’s will be serving up a fish or chicken fry dinner for $10, The price of dinner includes entry into one of the auctions. A portion of the proceeds from dinner will benefit local organ transplant patients as well as those on the waiting list.

Featured auction items include island vacations, sightseeing cruises, restaurant gift certificates, books, gifts for kids, EverBlades tickets, bowling gift certificates, movie passes, and more to be announced. You need not buy a dinner ticket to participate in the auction.

Shamie Kelly, a Cape Coral resident, is the president of Organ Transplant Recipients of Southwest Florida Inc. She has undergone two kidney transplants.

“As I was about to start my last semester of school, my plans had to be put on hold. I took a leave of absence, started dialysis and my life changed forever,” said Kelly. “I was able to return to law school six months later while undergoing dialysis three days a week, I graduated with my JD degree. I received my first kidney transplant in 2008 after being on the transplant list for a year. My first transplanted kidney failed, and I had to return to dialysis, I received my second kidney transplant in 2015. I just celebrated my fourth anniversary of my second transplanted kidney and I have become much more involved trying not to waste a moment because I realize how precious life is.”

Kelly believes that this group has helped her to maintain her health, and she’s grateful to be able to be a part of something bigger than her.

“Being a member of this group and receiving the support of the group’s membership has impacted my life in so many ways,” said Kelly. “I have met people who share like circumstances, who deal with similar issues that I face, and have been shown real support and friendship. I feel my transplant and subsequent recovery went complication free in part was because the support of this transplant support group.”

On average, 22 people die every day in the U.S. due to a lack of available organ and tissue donors. One donor can save eight lives through organ donation and can improve more than 75 lives through tissue donation. Every 10 minutes a name is added to the national waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant.

“I never forget that someone died for me to have these kidneys and there are two families which have lost loved ones, giving me a new chance for a normal life,” said Kelly.

Bonita Bill’s is at 702 Fisherman’s Wharf, on Fort Myers Beach.