The Lung Transplant Foundation raised $6,000 at its first spaghetti supper on February 25, 2012, at Grey Stone Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, giving the foundation more fuel to “breathe new life into lung transplant research,” as our mission states.
The Lung Transplant Foundation owes deep gratitude to all of the volunteers who helped with the event, which was headed up by vice president Amber Wesemann and new board member Tracie Holland. In addition to the spaghetti supper, there was a bake sale and silent auction.
The weeks leading up to the dinner were a mad dash to obtain donations and solicit gift cards at every grocery store in the Triangle. The Lung Transplant Foundation has a devoted core group of volunteers who made trip upon trip to BJ’s, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Target … the list goes on. Every shopper had a puzzled look on their face as they saw board members Carolyn Durham and I pushing a grocery cart that had 60 pounds of beef in it! Yes, 60!
We made sure to address the onlookers and let them know that our bounty was for a spaghetti dinner benefiting a cause—every lung transplant recipient’s cause—to promote and prolong OUR lives through research. As Carolyn and I rolled those boxes of beef out, we just looked at each other and almost in unison we said, “Where’s the beef?” Later on in the week, there would be more looks as spaghetti, pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese would start disappearing in bulk from grocery aisles.
Next, there was the preparation for the pans and pans of baked spaghetti. Organizers decided it would be most efficient if we gave volunteers the same recipe and asked them to bake the dishes at home. Luckily for the foundation (and thanks to the wonderful Tracie Holland), we were more than equipped with cooks. Every pan with every ingredient, down to the teaspoon of salt, went on to the proper person for baking.
In the meantime, volunteers gathered at the Family Life Center of Grey Stone Baptist. They displayed the silent auction items, put out the delicious baked goods to be purchased and devoured, and dressed each table with a crisp white tablecloth.
Finally, it was time—5 o’clock! All of the hard work that had gone into this wonderful project was about to be appreciated. Crowds of people came in and were so generous! There were door prizes, music, and lots of conversation.
The Lung Transplant Foundation crew saw all aspects of the lung transplant experience represented at the supper. There were people awaiting transplant, those who had just gone through the procedure, and those who had surpassed a decade post-transplant. The coming together of the patients, caregivers, and the medical professionals was the biggest of our successes. Tracie Holland, one of the many critical care transplant coordinators at Duke, says it best: “It is not often that the lung recipients along with their caregivers get to be with the staff of medical professionals who help care for them outside of the hospital or clinic setting. It is so nice to have that time to really get to visit and talk. We had such a great turnout, and I feel it was just as special for the staff as it was for the recipients.
“I have done transplant nursing for 15 years and have seen a lot of changes and progress during that time. Changes that make survival rates higher, procedures more common and advancements that at times seem impossible. As far as we have come, though, we still have a long way to go. The money we raise towards research will only help in getting us there a little faster. Thank you to all who volunteered and gave of their time, heart and money.“
Bilateral Lung Transplant Recipient