About 10 years ago, Steve began battling what he thought was simply a cold and congestion. After several rounds of antibiotics and no improvement, he began experiencing shortness of breath and drove himself to the ER on Christmas Eve. He was shocked to learn he was suffering from congestive heart failure, which has caused his mitral valve to leak. Over the years, his health worsened until doctors said a heart transplant was critical to his survival.
Thankfully, after being on the transplant waiting list for just three months, he received his lifesaving transplant on November 29, 2011! Sadly, a complication during surgery damaged his spinal cord and has left him unable to walk. He will most likely endure a year of physical therapy before doctors can know how long-term the damage is.
Despite these challenges, Steve has remained optimistic and never lost his sense of humor. He loves making people laugh, and tries to brighten others’ days even when his are dark. He is a proud father of two adult daughters and grandfather of two. His wife, Vicki, has been by his side every step of the way; he is thankful for the love and support from her and her daughter, who is away at college, and their family and friends. Steve, a proud LSU graduate, loves playing the guitar, songwriting and going to concerts and movies, but lately he only has the energy to play the guitar. He looks forward to resuming his active lifestyle and visiting with his newest grandbaby, who was born this fall.
A heart transplant costs approximately $750,000. And that’s only the beginning. Even with health coverage, he faces significant expenses related to the surgery. For the rest of his life, Steve will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. These medications can cost $2,000 to $5,000 per month, and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself.
Steve’s insurance was through Vicki’s employer, but she recently had to stop working to care for him. They now have an insurance plan that is very expensive, adding to the financial strain.
Steve owns a business sharpening tools–anything from barbershop shears to lawn mower blades. Because he is self-employed and cannot currently work, there is no way for him to generate income until his health improves. After receiving his transplant, he won’t be able to lift more than three pounds for at least three months, preventing him from working even longer.
To make a tax-deductible donation to NFT in honor of Steve, click here. If you’d prefer to send your gift by mail, please send it to the NFT Tennessee Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Steve Collins” on the memo line.
Thank you for your generosity!