CRESTVIEW — Friends of a Paxton man requiring a liver transplant are working to raise funds needed for the operation.
Members of the Thomas A. McQueen Masonic Lodge in Paxton, including Steven Colson and James Adams, met last week to discuss funding ideas for their fellow Mason, 70-year-old Randall Harrison.
While they will have various community fundraisers, the Masons started a Gofundme page, https://www.gofundme.com/randall-harrison-support, to assist with medical costs.
"It's beyond our means to come up with the amount of cash he needs. Anything is better than nothing. We don't have a set amount, (so we're) just trying to be proactive and start raising the money because he doesn't have any income coming in right now," Colson, a Crestview resident, said.
Harrison, a mechanic and owner of a garage in Paxton, received a diagnosis of (nonalcoholic) cirrhosis of the liver in April.
He has been unable to work due to swelling and weakness caused by the condition.
Adams said Harrison had had stents put in his heart and was doing well with those.
But five weeks later, "He started having problems with his liver and then just started deteriorating rapidly after that. He declined super fast," Adams said, adding it was to the point where a doctor described his condition as being "in the 9th inning with two outs."
Harrison and his wife, Pam, left June 15 to go to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. The series of tests Randall undergoes there will help doctors further assess his condition.
"They've got to make sure, if he gets approved for the transplant, that his body can take it," Pam Harrison said. "They're doing bloodwork, scans, X-rays and all."
There are several stages to the testing, and the couple also has to go to educational classes throughout the two weeks.
As far as exactly how much it will cost, the Harrisons won't have a number until Friday.
"I know that they told us that Medicare will pay 80 percent and the rest is going to be 20 percent. They're talking like $20,000 that we would have to pay. And that's not even talking about the medication he will need after the transplant takes place if he's approved," Pam Harrison said.
The Masons said Harrison has been a pillar of support for people across Northwest Florida, and ask that they do what they can to help financially with Harrison's current situation.
"He needs a liver transplant. He needs the transplant or he's going to die. That's just cut and dried," Colson said.
"The insurance will cover a certain amount ... but whatever the difference is he's got to pay it, (so) I was just trying to get that Gofundme thing in front of as many people as possible."