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Help from a friend: Fundraiser planned for transplant

Audra Collins is in need of a kidney transplant, and her hairstylist, Sandra Boutte, is working to make that a reality.


Audra Collins (seated) is in need of a kidney transplant. Her hair stylist, Sandra Boutte (standing) has organized a fashion-themed fundraiser.

Ms Boutte will hold a Hair and Fashion Extravaganza as a fundraiser to enable Ms. Collins to be put on the waiting list for a new kidney.

"It came to me when I was driving in the car, like a vision from God," said Ms. Boutte, who is the owner of Attitudes Hair Studio.

Ms. Collins, a lifelong resident of Thomson, has been Ms. Boutte's customer for 20 years. Ms. Collins received a kidney transplant in 1999 because of end stage renal failure. In 2002, Ms. Collins suffered a rejection of her new kidney, resulting in removal of the transplanted kidney, open heart surgery, and numerous hospitalizations.

Ms. Collins, who is 37, said her doctors told her another transplant is necessary for her survival. Ms. Collins said she gives her own dialysis treatments at home now, and hasn't had the courage or the ability to deal with trying to locate funds for a transplant.

"Me and my mom, we deal with issues of my health. If it wasn't for Sandra, I wouldn't be doing this now. She is the jumpstarter and the motor that's keeping it going," she said.

Ms. Collins said she had insurance at the time of her first transplant, but it is no longer available to her with her current health issues. She has become involved with the National Transplant Assistance Fund, a nonprofit organization which will match all funds up to $10,000 that Ms. Collins can raise.

"Medical costs is a big issue...I had to face the fact that I had to ask for help," Ms. Collins said, adding that her goal is to raise the entire $10,000.

The extravaganza will be "an evening of beautiful fashion and hair, food and drinks, raffle and prizes to benefit the NTAF Southeast Kidney Transplant Fund for Audra Collins," according to a flyer printed by Ms. Boutte'.

"I love hair, and I love fashion," Ms. Boutte said. "So I'm combining my loves and helping my friend."

The event will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, April 14, at the former T&W Cafe Lounge, 185 Voila Avery Street, Thomson. Tickets are $15 per person. Donations to help Ms. Collins may be sent to NTAF.

Make checks payable to NTAF Southeast Kidney Transplant Fund, mark "In honor of Audra Collins" on the memo section of the check, and send to National Transplant Assistance Fund, 150 N. Radnor Chester Road, Suite F-120, Radnor, PA 19087. Credit card donations may be made by calling 1-800-642-8399.

For more information about the extravaganza, contact Ms. Boutte at Attitude Hair Studio, 133 Main Street, Thomson, 706-597-9666.

Web posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006

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