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Party for a transplant – Fort Morgan Times

By Zachary Laux Times Staff Writer POSTED: 11/04/2014 11:30:56 AM MST

Friends and family came together Sunday to throw the Day of the Dead Broncos Party in Brush with proceeds benefiting 17-year-old Kasey Andrus who is in need of a new kidney.

“So many people have chipped in for this event, and that’s amazing,” Kasey’s mother Michelle said.

Organizers of the party — Kortnie Mendoza, Carol Corsentino and Jovette Serrano, who are also good friends of Kasey and his family — pulled together, working with the Child Organ Transplant Association (COTA), to bring the event to life. Activities such as face painting and a silent auction generated money, which will be put in a COTA account to benefit Kasey, while the party created a fun environment for all to enjoy the game, despite the Broncos falling to the Patriots.

Kasey said the amount of work that went into organizing the party, and the response it got was a bit overwhelming.

“I love to see a community come together,” he said.

But Sunday afternoon’s festivities only marked the beginning of a larger campaign to help Andrus, Serrano said. Serrano, Mendoza and Corsentino, with the help of others, are planning a nine-month campaign to raise a total of $60,000 for Kasey.

Although many of Kasey’s treatments are covered by insurance, the extra money can be used for co pays, traveling costs and other expenses.

“We have known Kasey and Michelle for years, and it’s getting time. He needs his transplant pretty soon,” Serrano said.

The fundraising plans came to the forefront after Kasey’s kidneys began failing when he was 16, although he was diagnosed with kidney disease before he was born.

Kasey was born with 20 percent kidney function, enough for anyone to live on, but the function declined little by little.

“I knew they were failing, but they were doing just enough to keep me off dialysis,” Kasey said.

Kasey said doctors are now discussing the possibility of dialysis treatment, where he would have to go in for blood filtering three times a week. The favored alternative to dialysis is a transplant.

“You can survive the rest of your life with 20 percent kidney function, but when it falls below 10 percent, you need a transplant,” Michelle said.

Kasey is on a Children’s Kidney Transplant list through the United Network of Organ Sharing. The pediatric list consists of 19 other names, but once Andrus turns 18 on Dec. 4, he will be moved to an adult list of 95,000.

“We are hoping and praying a donor will be available before his birthday,” Michelle said.

Zachary Laux: 970-867-5651, or Twitter @zlaux

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