LEETSDALE (KDKA) — Many people who need an organ transplant will set up a GoFundMe page or hold a spaghetti dinner to raise money.
But a local man and his parents have come up with a different, bigger idea.
Brent Lauffer, of Leetsdale, needs a liver and kidney transplant. His family and friends are planning a benefit concert called “Bands 4 Life/Bands 4 Brett” for this Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Community College of Beaver County’s Dome.
The concert starts at 6 p.m. and will run until approximately 9:30 p.m. It will feature four different bands, from blues, to jazz, to classic rock, including MoJoDia and the Fireball Horns, Angel Blue Band, The Mudslinger Band and Silent Partner.
Tickets are $12 online in advance, or at the door if they’re still available.
Brent says the concert is not only to help raise money for his staggering medical bills, but also to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
“We came to this conclusion after having small fundraisers: ‘Bands for Life’ raises awareness in a larger way. Other avenues we looked into won’t reach as many people,” he said.
Brent was born in the bush of Senegal, Africa, where his parents were missionaries. He suffered from unexplained pains growing up, but it wasn’t until college that he was diagnosed with something called congenital hepatic fibrosis, a condition present at birth that affects the patient’s liver over time.
He was told at age 19 he would need a liver transplant within five years. He’s survived nearly 20 years without one, but now his kidneys are failing as well, which is why he needs the dual transplant. He’s on kidney dialysis in the meantime.
“I’m just trying and praying that I can get through this while I’m waiting,” he said.
The proceeds from the concert, auction of Brent’s paintings, and donations to his website will go to a group called “Help Hope Live,” which will administer them to him and to others awaiting transplant. He’s hoping to raise a minimum of $185,000.
“To raise that much money is really tough,” said Brent.
But he’s hopeful family, friends and the community will come through.
Brent says he and his family felt strongly about making sure raising awareness was as big a part as the fundraising part of the event.
Brent says, “6,600 people pass away in the state of the Pennsylvania because of lack of organs. If I, in some small way, can educate people to become organ donors, it would mean a lot to me.”
To buy tickets, click here.