JONESVILLE — Every four hours four times a day Timmy Vinson spends 45 minutes undergoing dialysis in his Jonesville home.
It’s what keeping him alive as he and his wife, Sissy, try and raise $54,000 to help pay for a kidney transplant at the Medical University of South Carolina.
“He’s on the transplant list in Charleston, but Medicare only pays eighty percent and we have to come up with the other twenty percent,” Sissy said Wednesday morning as her husband began the day’s first round of dialysis. “The kidney transplant runs $270,000.”
Timmy Vinson was first diagnosed with kidney disease in 2006. Sissy said that just a couple of days before Thanksgiving her husband suffered kidney failure and was hospitalized.
For the next three years, Timmy underwent dialysis each day until 2009 when the family of a Union County man who’d recently died donated his kidneys to Vinson.
“Greg Kirby died and his family donated his kidneys and by the grace of God it was a match,” Sissy said. “He (Timmy) got his first kidney transplant then.”
That was in 2009, but beginning in 2014, Timmy began suffering from kidney failure once again.
“In November of last year he started having problems, swelling and they couldn’t get his blood pressure down, so they knew the kidney was deteriorating,” Sissy said.
Sissy said it was explained to her and her husband that kidneys from a deceased donor only last five to seven years while those from living donors last 15-30 years.
“They’ve got a longer lifespan, so this time we’re hoping for a living donor,” Sissy said.
Since the kidneys he received in the original transplant failed, Timmy has been undergoing dialysis, though unlike patients whose condition is so severe they have to undergo it at a hospital or other medical facility under the care of medical personnel, he has been able to administer it himself at home.
Nevertheless, like others in his condition, Timmy needs a kidney transplant and that means coming up with the balance of the cost of the procedure ($54,000) and that’s where Saturday’s fundraiser comes in.
From 8 a.m.-until, a yard sale/bake sale will be held to raise funds for Vinson at Linda’s Beauty Nook on Main Street in Jonesville. While they already have some items for sale such as women’s clothing and jewelry and baked goods for the sale the Vinsons are asking for donations of more yard sale and/or bake sale items for the event.
In addition, Sissy said that an account has been set up at Arthur State Bank for persons wanting to make donations in the form of cash or checks. She said that it is called Timothy Vinson Kidney Transplant and that all checks should be made out to that account.
Even if they are able to raise the money needed for the transplant, the Vinsons pointed out that the transplant is not the end of the process.
“People don’t understand that a kidney transplant is only a treatment, not a cure,” Sissy said. “He has to take anti-rejection medication every month which costs thousands of dollars and has to undergo checkups and lab work every month.”
Sissy also urged everyone to get regular medical checkups to help detect any medical conditions as early as possible.
“He never got sick, so he never went to the doctor,” Sissy said. “Now I tell people to go to the doctor and get checked out about what’s happening in your body.”
Timmy pointed out that his condition has changed his relationship with the medical community.
“I never went to the doctor,” Timmy said. “Now I see them all the time.”
For more information or to make a donation to Saturday’s yard sale/bake sale call Sissy Vinson at 864-426-5793 or Linda’s Beauty Nook at 864-674-6359 or Barbara Woodward at 864-674-0672.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.