Bass tournament aids local transplant patient

Posted Wednesday, May. 14, 2008  comments  Print Reprints
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As if anyone needed an excuse to go fishing, here’s a very good one, good enough even for people who don’t fish.

The TuTu Charity Bass Tournament comes up May 31, and proceeds benefit Sherry Hagerman, a Haslet woman who received a life-saving double lung transplant in March.

The event at Lake Grapevine’s Meadowmere Park also includes live entertainment (including The Roughneck Gunslingers’ western re-enactment), barbecue, door prizes and an auction. The tournament starts 6:30 a.m. and the weigh-in is at 2:30 p.m. The requested donation to participate is $50 per individual or team (and additional donations are welcome).

Hagerman, 58, suffers from scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease that attack’s the body’s tissues, in her case the lungs, causing them to harden. The disease led to other complications for Hagerman, including pulmonary fibrosis and hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and a heart attack that led to her transplant March 26 at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

Her insurance covered the approximately $500,000 it cost for the procedure, but there are extensive out-of-pocket expenses, such as some uncovered prescriptions ($2,800 a month for three months for one and $1,800 a month for life for another) and an eight-month stay in San Francisco before she will be allowed to return to Texas.

In addition, after Hagerman’s husband died of prostate cancer in January 2004, the medical bills piled up because she couldn’t obtain health insurance for four years, until she became eligible for disability from Medicaid.

Hagerman turned to the National Foundation for Transplants, a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for such expenses.

“Every day, we work with patients like Sherry,” said Kay Horner, Hagerman’s fundraising consultant from the foundation. “ Of course, we’re thrilled she received her new lungs, but it’s heartbreaking to see a patient who has received a life-saving transplant, only to struggle financially to pay for critical anti-rejection medications.”

To enter the tournament, or just make a donation, go to tutubenefit.com or call Melanie Thornton at 214-335-7655.

And, in case you’re wondering why it’s called the “TuTu Benefit,” Hagerman's granddaughters, 8-year-old Ally and 18-month-old Isabelle, call Hagerman “TuTu,” which is Hawaiian for grandmother.

Bryan French, 817-390-7191

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