Bellefontaine Examiner

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Local woman awaiting double-lung transplant



A portion of sales from 11 a.m. to midnight Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Applebee’s, 1925 Roschman Ave., Lima, will go to help the Karen Gearheart family of Lakeview with medical expenses incurred as she awaits a double-lung transplant.

Applebee’s diners must present a flyer for their bill to go toward the restaurant’s donation. For more information or to obtain a flyer, contact Mrs. Gearheart at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (937) 441-9609.

Mrs. Gearheart, 53, has faced health problems since age 1, when she was diagnosed with asthma, which has also afflicted her father, brother and three children. She spent time in and out of the hospital throughout her life, and she was diagnosed with emphysema in 2004. Shortly thereafter, she learned she was also suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Last year, she underwent a tracheotomy, and she relies on an oxygen tank 24 hours a day and a ventilator to sleep.

Now, she awaits a double-lung transplant, which costs approximately $800,000. Even with health coverage, she faces significant expenses. She also will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications for the rest of her life. Post-transplant medications are very costly and are as critical to her survival as the transplant itself.

When she receives the transplant, she must temporarily relocate 200 miles from home to be near the transplant center during recovery, incurring substantial expenses for travel, food and lodging.

She spent nearly 20 years as a certified nursing assistant working with Alzheimer’s patients, but her declining health forced her to stop working, adding to the financial strain. To help alleviate the financial burden, Mrs. Gearheart turned to the National Foundation for Transplants for assistance with some of these financial burdens. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.

To make a tax-deductible donation in honor of Gearheart, please send a contribution to the NFT Ohio Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Include “in honor of Karen Gearheart” on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at; click on “Patients We Help” to locate Mrs. Gearheart.

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