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Girl $16K closer to getting a new liver
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 00:00

When someone needs help, it immediately becomes clear that there are some good-hearted people in Camp Verde and the Verde Valley.

Kelsea Freeman is a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Camp Verde Middle School. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably seen her picture somewhere around town in recent weeks — on a jar at a convenience store, on a flyer pasted to a restaurant window, or even in the newspaper.

Kelsea Freeman, 12, center, points Friday, Feb. 11, to the significant amount of money raised during a recent spaghetti dinner and auction organized by the Camp Verde Middle School student council including President Danya Weir, left, and reporter Sharli MacDonald.When she was 3 months old, Kelsea was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a serious genetic disease. The life expectancy was 30 when Kelsea was born, but thanks to ongoing research, it’s now 37.

She was relatively healthy going into the sixth grade, according to her mother, Regina Freeman.

Unfortunately, she fell ill with complications that eventually led to pneumonia. After 17 days in the hospital last November, the family was hit with a bombshell.

Kelsea’s liver was failing, and the family needed to raise thousands of dollars to help cover their end of the insurance payments.

Then the news got even worse. Regina Freeman said she found out that her insurance wasn’t going to cover as much of the cost of the procedure as they initially thought. Suddenly, the family discovered that instead of a few tens of thousands of dollars, they were facing the prospect of raising around a quarter million dollars if they had hope of seeing Kelsea get a new liver.

The family has been working around the clock to somehow raise the money, but they’ve learned they’re far from on
their own.

Earlier this month, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at Kelsea’s school raised more than $16,000 for the cause, said Daria Weir, school counselor. A large check was presented to the family last week at Camp Verde Middle School.

While the money is more than appreciated by a grateful family, they know there’s still a long way to go. So does the community.

Across town, people and businesses are stepping up to keep the ball rolling until Kelsea gets a new liver.

This Friday, Feb. 18, the ranchers out at Rainbow Acres are holding a chili cook-off to help raise money for Kelsea.

Dee Whitt, community relations director at the home for developmentally challenged adults, said the ranchers are always looking for ways to help others in the community. The cook-off starts at noon; $2 buys a ticket for chili tasting and $1 buys a root beer float. Call 554-8445 for information.

The local Camp Verde Taco Bell is setting aside Friday, Feb. 25, as “Donate to Kelsea Freeman Day.” The restaurant will be raising money, and all donations given that day will be matched by the company.

Crusty’s Pizza, in the Outpost Mall, is also getting involved. Through Monday, Feb. 28, the restaurant will be donating $5 from every purchase of a large pizza with two or more toppings to the Kelsea Freeman fund.

On Friday, March 4, from 7 to 9 p.m., a Zumba-thon is being held to raise money for the liver transplant. Zumba, a popular Latin exercise/dance craze, will also provide a little exercise to participants, although participation is certainly not required to help the Freeman family. The cost of participation is whatever one can donate and 100 percent of the proceeds go toward the cause. Organizers are hoping for the “biggest party Camp Verde has even seen.” For more info on the Zumba-thon, call 301-2978.

But that’s far from all, and someone might even get a date out of the efforts.

A bachelor auction is set from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in the Dragonfly Lounge at Cliff Castle Casino.

Participants will bid on the privilege of going on a date with one of more than 15 bachelors up on the auction block, potentially winning a day or evening that could include dinner, trail rides, Jeep tours and more. Tickets are $10, and there will be raffles and other ways to participate and help raise money for Kelsea. For more information, call Amber Pitts at 202-2308 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Registration for the event or direct donations can be made online at liverforkelsea.webs.com. Donations can also be sent to JP Morgan Chase Bank in care of Kelsea Freeman, Account No. 02045580905, 420 Finnie Flat Road, Camp Verde, AZ 86322 or mailed to the family at P.O. Box 1223, Camp Verde, AZ 86322.

 

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