Weekend event raises funds, spirits for Craig woman’s transplant | CraigDailyPress.com

Weekend event raises funds, spirits for Craig woman’s transplant

For John and Jane Milligan, it was a chance to smile.

The Milligans received a call from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at the end of March with the news they had been waiting to hear for four years.

After a run of testing at the California-based institute, John had been confirmed as a viable kidney donor for his wife.

Now that they have finalized at least the initial preparations, the Craig couple can look toward what could be a life-changing operation.

The Save Jane Campaign, an ongoing fundraising effort for the Milligans, hosted a benefit concert and dinner Saturday night at The Center of Craig.

The event, which was also put on by the nonprofit National Foundation for Transplants, included a selection of barbecue dishes and a performance by local band Blue Rooster.

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The environment of the night was upbeat with the music sweeping over visitors as they enjoyed their meal.

"We got Blue Rooster because I'm a big fan of the blues," John said.

However, the crowd was anything but blue, particularly the guest of honor.

"We're really having a great time, it's a fun party," Jane said. "We just want to thank everyone who's showed up and who's helped us out."

Lori Kurz, who is Jane's friend, campaign chairwoman and one of the event's organizers, said ticket sales raised more than $500.

With about 20 people showing up, the turnout was lower than expected, but she said many people unable to attend bought tickets beforehand to still show support for the cause.

Kurz, who works alongside the Milligans at Horizons Specialized Services, said she has known the couple for about 10 years. Jane has always been resilient when facing challenges, she said.

"It was one of those things where we knew she was a long-term diabetic, so the news was big, but it wasn't any bigger than anything else she was dealing with," Kurz said. "With Jane, the first thing she did was try to get the word out and raise awareness about it."

Jane has lived with diabetes for more than 20 years, but she began to suffer from kidney failure in 2007.

With his wife suffering from End-Stage Renal Disease, John has spent the last several months being evaluated as a donor, receiving approval only weeks ago.

The Milligans plan to travel back to Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles in June for the transplant.

"My antibodies are really high, so we have to get it done there, it's the only place they can lower them," Jane said.

Jane will be required to stay in California for three months for post-operation treatment, but she said the process will be worth the fuss.

"They say I'm going to feel a whole lot better, and I've been sick for a long time, so I'm looking forward to that," she said.

The Milligans hope to raise $20,000 for the expenses that will come up during the summer. They will also host an indoor garage sale starting at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday under the grandstands of the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

John said sharing his kidney with his spouse has given them both hope for the future.

"It'll be a new chapter in our lives," he said.

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If you go …

What: Indoor garage sale

When: 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Moffat County Fairgrounds, beneath the grandstands

• Money raised in the sale will go to the Save Jane Campaign, a benefit for Jane Milligan, whose husband, John, will be donating a kidney to her this summer. John is also raffling his Ibanez electric guitar. The guitar drawing will be at 2 p.m. For more information on the Save Jane Campaign, call Lori Kurz at 620-6505.

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