Benefit slated for local man in need of kidney transplant

Friday, July 24, 2009
A benefit will be held at 1 p.m., this Saturday, July 25, at the National Guard Armory for Steve Riggs of Dyersburg, who is in need of a kidney transplant. The event will include an auction and bake sale with all proceeds going toward medical expenses. Riggs and his wife, Pam, travel the 11-hour drive to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. periodically for compatibility testing with family members who wish to donate. Funds from the benefit will help the Riggs family with expenses related to travel, medicine and the upcoming surgery they are praying for.

A benefit bake sale and auction will be held tomorrow to aid a local man in need of a new kidney.

Steve Riggs of Dyersburg has polycystic kidney disease, a disorder he shares with his father and two of his sisters. He also had rheumatic fever as a baby, which damaged his heart.

Riggs found out about his hereditary kidney disease in 1998, but suffered no complications until he had surgery to place a mechanical valve in his heart. The blood thinners required after surgery aggravated his kidney problem. Now, he and his wife wait while family members complete compatibility testing to see if they can donate the kidney he needs so desperately.

"I found out in March that I need a transplant," said Riggs, who must periodically complete an 11-hour drive to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. "They want me on dialysis now, but I am going to hold out as long as I can. They say there is a better chance for the kidney to take if you are not on dialysis. I have good and bad days. I'm tired. I have no energy. It's like I'm drained all the time."

Throughout this ordeal, Riggs has found support from his wife, Pam, his family, friends, co-workers and the community.

"Burks Beverage has been good to me," said Riggs. "I don't go in every day and, most days, I work four to five hours. The management and my co-workers all pitch in to help me do my job. That's a big relief."

"They've really been great," said Pam Riggs. "Eddie Burks has been great as far as letting him know his job is secure."

"Any other place probably would have let me go," said Riggs, who has been with the company for 25 years.

Even with the security of his job, the Riggs family faces unplanned expenses. This weekend, friends have planned a benefit auction and bake sale to aid the couple and their two daughters, Christy and Kim.

The event will take place at 1 p.m., on Saturday, July 25, at the National Guard Armory. An account has also been set up at Security Bank in Riggs' name for those members of the community who wish to donate.

"There are a lot of churches I know that are praying for me," said Riggs. "And a lot of individuals that say they are praying for me."

"That means a lot," said Pam Riggs.

"My wife, she stands by me, too, through the good times and the bad," said Riggs. "I'd like to thank everybody for all the support. The community has been great."

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  • While not rich w/lots of money to give away, I have had two kidney transplants myself and have long desired a way to reach out to others in the same place I have been twice before.

    Is it possible to open an email line of communication w/Mr. Riggs and help w/questions if my experience would benefit?

    -- Posted by gsplquartet on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 11:30 AM
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