Singing to benefit six-year-old infant who needs liver transplant

By Greg Miller

STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com

    
Elizabethton First Church of the Nazarene will host a benefit singing for six-month-old Kassidy McKenzie Potter on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m.
     The daughter of Danny and Shannon Potter of Piney Flats, Kassidy has Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (a liver disease) and needs a liver transplant. Diagnosed with the disease when she was just four weeks old, Kassidy's parents both carried the enzyme which caused her illness. Danny was diagnosed with emphysema at the age of 21 and last October was diagnosed with lung disease.
     Kassidy goes to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital's Liver Care Center about every six weeks to visit the transplant team.
     "They're trying to put off the transplant as long as they can," Shannon remarked. Prior to the transplant surgery, doctors would like for Kassidy, who has type B positive blood, to gain more weight and receive as many childhood vaccinations as possible. She weighed 6 1/2 pounds at birth and currently weighs only 11 pounds. She is up-to-date on her vaccinations.
     Although Kassidy is covered by insurance, $5,000 will be needed up front to cover her transportation by air ambulance to Cincinnati. Most of the $5,000 has been raised, according to Shannon, who said living expenses are needed for the family during the three-month-period they will be staying in Cincinnati following Kassidy's transplant.
     Danny is planning to work full-time at Mapes Piano String until time for the transplant. In order to care for her daughter, Shannon has taken a leave of absence from her job at Kinder Care Learning Center.
     Shannon describes Kassidy, who is not yet on a transplant list, as being "very alert" and "bright-eyed."
     Kassidy "can roll all over the place," Shannon said, but she's not crawling yet. Her motor skills are a little bit delayed.
     "You wouldn't know she was sick, other than by looking at her color. She's very jaundiced. She's sick, but she's stable."
     Shannon encourages local residents to become organ donors. "It saves people's lives," she said. "My little girl wouldn't be able to survive without someone donating."
     Shannon says Kassidy has a special relationship with her sister, Kaylee, 5, a kindergarten student at Mary Hughes School. "Kassidy loves her big sister," Shannon said.
     Singers for the benefit include The Sounds of Victory, Elizabethton; Golden Memories, Elizabethton; and The Principles, Johnson City. An offering will be received for medical and related expenses for Kassidy and her family, who attend Snow Memorial Baptist Church in Johnson City.
     Elizabethton First Church of the Nazarene is located at the corner of Range and W. I Streets. The Rev. Ronald Pierce is the pastor.
     The Kassidy Potter Transplant Fund has been set up at First Tennessee Bank, Crossings Financial Center, P.O. Box 1596, Johnson City, TN 37605-1596.
     For more information, call 538-8124.