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Local transplant recipient hopes to avoid second operation

Star Staff Reports

In 2007, Roger Jaco, of Millington, received a liver transplant, and now his new liver is showing signs of failure.

In 1972, Jaco received a blood transfusion during surgery for a broken hip. Nearly 20 years later, blood work showed that he had contracted hepatitis C during that transfusion. Doctors said a liver transplant was critical to his survival.

Although he received a transplant in 2007, the disease is now affecting his new liver, and he once again finds himself undergoing treatment for hepatitis C. However, he hopes this can be controlled through medication rather than requiring a second transplant.

The average liver transplant costs approximately $550,000. Even though his health insurance covered the cost of the transplant itself, he faces significant expenses related to the surgery. For the rest of his life, he will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications, which are as critical to his survival as the transplant.

To overcome these financial challenges, Jaco and his family turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps transplant patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.

“It breaks my heart that Roger is battling such a difficult illness,” said Claire Prince, NFT fundraising consultant. “But it’s wonderful that his family is so dedicated and determined to stay by his side every step of the way. At NFT, we want to help the Jacos raise the necessary funds so they can focus on Roger’s health, not the expenses.”

Volunteers are holding an Italian dinner fundraiser at the Baker Community Center, 7942 Church St. in Millington, on Saturday, March 2 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Admission is $10 for adults; $15 per couple; $5 for children 12 and under. The evening will also include a silent auction, door prizes and a 50/50 drawing.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Tifaney Boldt at489-6584.

To make a donation in honor of Jaco, mail a tax-deductible gift to the NFT Tennessee Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Roger Jaco” in the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at Donors should select Find an NFT Patient to locate Jaco.

NFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Memphis, Tenn. that has been helping transplant patients overcome financial obstacles since 1983. NFT provides fundraising expertise and advocacy to transplant patients by organizing fundraising campaigns in the patients’ own communities. In the past 30 years, NFT has helped generate nearly $60 million to assist patients with their expenses. NFT currently assists more than 2,500 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 800-489-3863 or visit

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February 2013
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