More than $50,000 has been raised in the past two years for Greg White, a 2013 Larkin High School graduate awaiting a double-lung transplant because of the cystic fibrosis ravaging his lungs.
Nearly $3,000 was collected during a weekend fundraiser at Old Towne Pub & Eatery in St. Charles, said Erin Barham, a family friend and a coordinator for local fundraising events for White.
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A portion of the proceeds will go to the nonprofit Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) to pay for White's transplant-related expenses. COTA helps families shoulder the financial burden of transplants, which can cost more than $500,000. The goal is to raise $70,000 for White's operation, which will be performed by doctors at the St. Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri.
The Bloomington, Ind.-based charity helps communities organize volunteers to raise funds for patients in need of transplants, said Jim Inman, COTA director of marketing.
"We're very pleased with all the efforts that they are doing," Inman said. "Every community has different fundraising projects. They are just doing a variety of things and no event is too big or too small as long as they are moving forward."
White, 18, has suffered from cystic fibrosis since birth. The genetic disease can affect a number of organs, including the lungs, where abnormally thick and sticky mucus obstructs breathing passages.
In the past two years, White has frequently been in and out of the hospital. He is confined to his home in Elgin, according to family members.
Neither White nor his parents, Steven and Melissa White, could be reached for comment.
White's friends and family have organized silent auctions, sold pizza from a local eatery, and hosted a musical performance to raise funds.
"We're still working on fundraising," Barham said. "We're hoping to have a couple of dinner nights in the next coming months at local restaurants."
COTA acts as a go-between so people can make tax-deductible donations. The funds will be allocated to White for transplant-related expenses as needed, Inman said.
"It's not simply writing a check for them to spend at will," he added. "Typically, these funds that are raised, (the family) may not use them immediately. But once the transplant starts, those funds are ready for them."
For information on COTA or to make donations directly to White's fund, visit www.COTAforGregW.com.