Terry Tennille, 50, a Milledgeville native and resident of Eatonton, was disheartened when he learned that his new liver would be expensive to maintain.

And with expenses totaling nearly $2,000 per month – more than he can afford – Tennille’s resources were limited.

It was obvious that his transplant solved the greater problem, but gave way to another.

But monetary and emotional support from family, friends and a host of others has been his saving grace, and finding the right words to say thank you has not been easy, he said.

“There’s really nothing you can say,” he said. “I’ve been astounded from getting the liver all the way up to this point.”

Tennille’s condition was the result of a liver disease, which seriously affected his health up until his transplant. The money needed for his treatment will provide for anti-rejection medication, which he may need for the rest of his life.

Tennille’s aunt, Faye Barr, is one of his many supporters.

Barr is currently spearheading fundraising programs to make sure her nephew gets the money he needs to continue his treatment.

And to her, this is just something she feels she has to do.

“(With) the expenses that he faces, there’s no way given their financial situation right now that they’ll be able to meet these medical expenses,” Barr said. “I think when people are going through these health crises, it’s also important to know there is a strong support network to provide not just financial assistance but the emotional assistance.”

Tennille is registered in the National Transplant Assistance Fund. He is also registered in the Georgia Transplant Foundation, and has received matching grants from both organizations.

But these were one-time grants, and the family will run out of money without support, Barr said. She will continue her fundraising efforts.

She is currently selling $5 raffle tickets for a custom-made dollhouse, which was designed and built by JoAnne Hall of Putnam County.

Barr and other supporters on Friday will be at the Milledgeville Mall wrapping Christmas presents.

Aside from the financial burden, Tennille is about to say thank you to another group of people who have changed his life: the family of the donor.

Tennille said he will soon have the opportunity to write a letter to the family of the donor, who still remains anonymous.

This, he says, will be just as difficult to put into words.

“I’m still trying to figure out what to say. There’s so much emotion that runs through,” he said. “(When) you think back, somebody had to. ... give up their life. Getting someone to give up a liver or a heart is an incredible thing to do.”

For more information on how to donate, contact Barr at (478) 968-5432.



Jim Brock can be reached at (478) 453-1456 or at newsroom@unionrecorder.com

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