CRESTVIEW — April is Transplant Awareness Month and Saturday's “The Big Event,” a fundraiser for businessman Ron Walker, offers an opportunity to help a local man in need of a liver transplant.


CRESTVIEW — The community can observe Transplant Awareness Month during Saturday's “The Big Event,” a fundraiser for businessman Ron Walker.



Walker was diagnosed in the mid-2000s with a non-alcoholic-related, life-threatening liver disease. Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say a liver transplant is crucial to his survival.



The National Foundation for Transplants, which is partnering with the fundraiser's organizers, stated that the transplant’s $575,000 cost is just the beginning of expenses Walker and his wife, Katrina, will face.



Follow-up care and expensive daily anti-rejection medications are “as critical to his survival as the transplant itself," the foundation’s website states.



The Rev. Silas Ford, pastor of Palm Chapel Primitive Baptist Church — who co-starred with Walker in View From the Stage’s fall 2014 production of “Twelve Angry Men" — said, “There’s a complex at UAB where you have to stay from four to six weeks, and someone will have to stay by his side for 24 hours a day. He’ll be out of work and his wife will be out of work. But he has to pay his bills.”



Ford said one benefit of involving the transplant foundation is that money raised for Walker goes directly to the patient. “Funds have to be allocated per IRS guidelines, so donors know someone won’t just take donations and use it to buy a new car,” Ford said.



Proceeds from the Big Event’s community yard sale, barbecue, Boston butt sale, bounce house and entertainment will benefit a worthy man, Ford said.



“He’s quite a guy,” Ford said. “He’s a very eclectic guy. He and his wife are very wonderful, interesting people.”



HOW TO HELP



WHAT: “The Big Event,” a liver transplant fundraiser for Ron Walker including a yard sale, barbecue, Boston butt sales, bounce house and entertainment



WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 11



WHERE: Lifepoint Church parking lot, 400 Ferdon Blvd. S., Crestview.



NOTES: Send tax-deductible donations to: NFT Florida Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Write “in honor of Ron Walker” on the memo line. Or make secure donations at www.transplants.org. Select “Find an NFT Patient” to locate Walker.



Email News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes, follow him on Twitter or call 850-682-6524.