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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Message from COTA President Rick Lofgren Read more...
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Two COTA Cousins Have Lots to Celebrate
This July 24th, Timmy and Ryan Isom of Bloomington, Indiana, will definitely be celebrating Cousins’ Day, and the two kidney transplants that have literally saved these cousins’ lives. Ryan Isom and Timmy Isom are more than just cousins … they are likely kindred spirits. In 2011 both of these boys received new kidneys and a second chance at life. Their families continue to be extremely grateful.
Timmy was born on April 3, 1993, and was diagnosed with renal dysplasia at just six weeks old. At the time he was diagnosed, doctors decided to monitor his condition. At age 13, Timmy started taking medication to preserve the kidney functions that were remaining.
On January 8, 2008, Timmy’s cousin, Ryan, was born with posterior urethral valves (PUV), a blockage between the bladder and urethra. The damage from PUV to Ryan’s kidneys was so severe that he required life-saving dialysis when he was just eight days old. Due to Ryan’s small size, he required daily dialysis treatment until he reached 25 pounds. Once he reached the required weight Ryan was eligible for a kidney transplant.
During the spring of 2008, a Riley Hospital for Children social worker gave Ryan’s family information about the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). As soon as Ryan’s mom, Stacey, contacted COTA she immediately felt relief and knew she could focus on Ryan and the care he needed without worrying about the expenses that were piling up. COTA started working with Ryan Isom’s family and friends giving them the support and guidance necessary to create a successful fundraising campaign.
According to Stacey, “COTA has been a lifesaver for our families. COTA gave us hope during our darkest days of illness while bills were piling up. When we needed support and guidance the most, COTA was there for us.”
In March 2010, Timmy’s kidneys started deteriorating quickly. At the age of 16, Timmy began dialysis and was added to the national transplant list. Timmy’s mother, Brandi Evans, feeling overwhelmed with the financial aspects of the impending transplant turned to Stacey Isom for advice and support. Stacey immediately suggested COTA and explained that COTA helps cover expenses not covered by insurance such as mileage for the 100-mile round trip visit to the dialysis center, medical co-pays and lodging for Brandi during Timmy’s hospital stays. Brandi reached out to COTA herself and immediately felt connected due to the ongoing relationship between COTA and Ryan’s family.
2011 was filled with excitement and relief for the cousins’ families. Timmy was the first to receive his kidney transplant on April 26th, and Ryan followed with his kidney transplant on August 21st. “COTA was right there during both transplants offering both financial and moral support to our families,” said Stacey and Brandi.
According to Brandi, “The fact that two cousins needed a kidney transplant took our families by surprise. But both Isom boys receiving their new kidneys within six months of each other was truly a miracle for all of us to celebrate.”
The Isom boys are doing great post-transplant. They both have found a new energy and zest for life that was missing for so long. Ryan and Timmy’s families reached out to COTA looking for hope, but also received two amazing miracles.
Please visit www.cota.org and select “Help a COTA Family” to locate a transplant family in your area who needs your life-saving assistance.
Do You Ever Wonder What the Future Holds?
Planning is one way to create a secure future for you and your loved ones. With a good plan, you can rest easy knowing that your family will be well cared for and your property will pass to your intended beneficiaries.
What are some options for planning my future?
Failure to plan may result in accidental disinheritance which may occur when you have no will or your will does not function properly.
A Will -- A will is a written document that permits you to state how you want your property or estate distributed, name an Executor (also called a Personal Representative) to distribute your property, pay debts and taxes, and handle other business affairs to settle your estate.
Living Trust -- If you own property, you may wish to set up a living trust. A living trust may be set up during life and directs where your assets go. Unlike a will, a trust will not subject your estate to probate, which is often a lengthy and costly process that requires a court to settle your estate.
Here are some other considerations that need to be made:
Who will be the guardian of my dependent children?
Your child is considered a minor in most states until he or she reaches age 18. It is important to appoint a guardian, so that if you pass away, the guardian may take physical custody of, and care for, your minor children.
Who will have the power to manage my finances?
If you are no longer able to manage your property or later wish to have someone else manage your property, a durable power of attorney will give the person you select the legal authority to buy, sell and manage your property.
Who will make my healthcare decisions?
A durable power of attorney for healthcare allows you to select a person who can assist your doctors in making healthcare decisions if you become unable to act on your own behalf.
Making a Bequest to Charity -- In considering your plans for the future, you may not only be thinking about how to help your family and save on estate taxes, but also how you might benefit one or more charitable organizations, like the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). A bequest permits you to leave a lasting legacy and often provides valuable tax savings.
A charitable bequest is one of the easiest gifts to make. You can create a bequest of any dollar amount, gift specific property or designate a percentage of your estate in your will or trust plan. If you wish to make a gift of your IRA or 401(k) plan, this can usually be done by filling out a beneficiary designation form provided by your plan administrator.
If you would like additional information about how to use a bequest (or other planned gift vehicles) so you can benefit the transplant patients and families served by COTA, please contact Rick Lofgren at 800.366.2682. You also may email Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to him at Children’s Organ Transplant Association, Attention: Rick Lofgren, 2501West COTA Drive, Bloomington, Indiana, 47403.
There is no obligation to request the information, and the material is personal and not shared with anyone.
This article is for information purposes and is not binding tax or legal advice. Please
consult your tax advisor for specific items to discover how they impact your situation.
Ways You Can Help
A Teen COTA Miracle Maker Made a Big Difference with Pasta
Courtney Geyman of Sayre, Pennsylvania, certainly does not believe in procrastination. While a junior at Athens High School, Courtney decided to complete her senior project before she was officially a senior. It was with this spirit that Courtney planned and organized a spaghetti dinner to benefit the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) last February, while she was a junior. Her dinner was held at First Presbyterian Church in Athens, which is Courtney’s home church. According to Courtney, it was a great way to complete her project ahead of time and also support a Pennsylvania family facing a life-saving transplant.
At COTA, we strive to make fundraising both fun and effective by providing support before, during and after the event. Typically, our years of experience can smooth the road for anyone planning to raise funds for COTA. And while this is true, we are periodically reminded there are many COTA Miracle Makers out there who, without our help, hold events that are tremendously successful.
Courtney is one such Miracle Maker. Since this was a senior project, Courtney had some strict guidelines to follow. She was responsible for preparing a budget, purchasing ingredients, securing a venue and lining up volunteers to cook, serve and clean. Then she had to subtract expenses from her revenues to determine her profit or, in this case, proceeds she could contribute.
Courtney tells us that she worked diligently to keep her costs down so that the maximum amount of dollars could be donated to COTA. Courtney chose COTA as her beneficiary because of COTA’s work to ensure that no child or young adult is denied the life-saving transplant he or she needs. She also selected COTA because of our ability to, “reduce the massive amounts of stress felt by patients’ families.” Clearly, Courtney understands COTA’s mission well and knows that since 1986 COTA has provided all its services for free, largely due to our extensive network of Miracle Makers who, like Courtney, raise funds to help with transplant-related expenses.
While many COTA Miracle Maker event planners know in advance which COTA campaign they will support, Courtney chose the “Help a COTA Family” option on our online donation form. With that in mind, funds from Courtney’s Miracle Maker event were given in honor of the COTA for Cory W campaign in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Cory is awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant and 100% of the funds Courtney donated will be used exclusively for transplant-related expenses.
Thank you, Courtney, and thank you to all of our Miracle Makers, for caring about transplant families in need. Without you COTA could not ensure that no child or young adult is denied the life-saving transplant he or she needs due to financial reasons.
What will you do for your Miracle Maker event? Will you host a spaghetti dinner like Courtney? A car wash? Perhaps a summer volleyball tournament? These are just three of the hundreds of ideas people just like you have used to Give Hope and Make Miracles.
To get started, simply click here: cota.org/beA_miracleMaker/miracle_maker_application.php.
Or … perhaps you wish to do something on your own, without our help, and just surprise us with your gift. In that case, please make sure you let us know what you did so that we can appropriately recognize you as a COTA Miracle Maker.
Becoming a COTA Miracle Maker can be life-changing both for you and for our families who need your help.
For ideas on ways you can help COTA or to become a Miracle Maker to help a COTA family near you, please contact Doug Lippert, Director of Development, at MiracleMakerInfo@cota.org or by calling 800.366.2682, extension 225.
Welcome to the COTA Family
These children and young adults are recent additions to our COTA Family. Please contact COTA, or the individual Community Coordinators listed at each COTA website (links provided below), if you would like to assist any of these fundraising campaigns.
Born on April 27, 1998, Dylan was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. The doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston have recommended a life-saving heart transplant. An estimated $40,000 is being raised by COTA for Team Dylan volunteers.
Born on October 16, 2009, Kennedy was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure. The doctors at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee have recommended a life-saving kidney transplant. An estimated $75,000 is being raised by COTA for Kennedy K volunteers.
Born on February 11, 1996, Justin was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. The doctors at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, performed a life-saving double lung transplant on February 16, 2013. An estimated $65,000 is being raised by COTA for Justin F volunteers.
Born on May 8, 2009 and December 28, 2012, Chase and Courtney were diagnosed with Batten Disease. The doctors at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, performed life-saving stem cell transplants April 25, 2013. An estimated $250,000 is being raised by COTA for Chase and Courtney L volunteers.
Born on September 17, 2012, Kateri was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia. The doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri performed a life-saving liver transplant on June 21, 2013. An estimated $50,000 is being raised by COTA for Kateri S volunteers.
Born on September 11, 2006, Ainsley was diagnosed with Acute Liver Failure. The doctors at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, performed a life-saving liver transplant on March 18, 2013. An estimated $100,000 is being raised by COTA for Ainsley T volunteers.
Born on July 1, 2012, Lilly was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia. The doctors at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, have recommended a life-saving liver transplant. An estimated $50,000 is being raised by COTA for Lilly B volunteers.
COTA Fast Fact
Free Services -- No Fee or Percentages Taken from Funds Raised
The Children's Organ Transplant Association does not charge a fee or take a percentage of the funds raised in honor of patients --100% of funds raised are available for transplant-related expenses.