Thanks to Reed Elliotte, a seven-year-old kidney transplant recipient and cancer survivor, three charities received donations of more than $1,000 during a recent Corbin Kiwanis Club meeting.
Reed, a Corbin Primary School student, was born without a functioning kidney. He spent the first five months of his life in the University of Kentucky’s Children’s Hospital. Then after more than two years on dialysis he received a kidney transplant from his father, Bill Elliotte.
An anti-rejection medication, which Reed took because of the transplant, caused him to develop lymphoma.
Fortunately thanks to three months of chemotherapy at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Reed is now cancer free.
Reed provided entertainment for the Corbin Kiwanis Club’s meeting last Wednesday in the form of two songs he sang. Reed’s mother, Larrietta Elliotte, is a longtime Corbin Kiwanis Club member.
Corbin Kiwanis Club President Heather Barrineau noted that the club raised money to help Reed’s family.
“That’s what Kiwanis is all about, helping local children,” Barrineau noted. “We, as a club, joined together and had a prayer gathering for Reed and a balloon release … We were able to raise some money that day.”
Instead of taking the money, the Elliotte family decided they would rather have it donated to three charities that are close to their hearts and help local children.
During last Wednesday’s meeting, the Corbin Kiwanis Club announced $1,168 donations to the Ronald McDonald House – where Bill and Larrietta stayed during many of Reed’s hospital stays – Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), and the Child Life Cancer Unit at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Ronald McDonald House representative Bev White noted that the charity, which provides free or low-cost lodging for families with sick children, served 61 families from the Tri-County area just last year at its Lexington facility.
Whitley Circuit Court Clerk Gary Barton, whose office issues driver’s licenses, accepted the donation on behalf of KODA, and encouraged audience members to sign-up as organ donors when they go to renew their driver’s licenses.
“As circuit clerks part of what we do when we issue driver’s licenses is we work with what’s called Trust for Life, which is a organization that collects $1 for every driver’s license that is given if somebody wants to donate,” Barton noted.
Area residents in the Tri-County area generally donate about $7,500 annually to Trust for Life, which promotes organ donation through KODA, he said.
“We also ask if they would like to be an organ donor. This is something that has been pushed by the clerks for the last several years, which is trying to get more people on the organ donation registry, and it has been a very successful push we have done,” Barton added.
Over one million people have signed up in Kentucky to be organ donors, but Barton noted that unfortunately there is still a large waiting list for people waiting for organ donations.
“There are many people on the list waiting. There is a lady in Williamsburg, who just in the past two weeks received a liver. We ask you please when you come to get your license, please register to be an organ donor,” Barton said. “Hopefully it never happens, but we never know what tomorrow may bring, and if we can help save another life, please register.”
Larrietta Reed will personally make the donation to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital next month.
Tom Eblen, a columnist and former managing editor at the Lexington Herald-Leader, served as the keynote speaker at the Corbin Kiwanis Club meeting talking about his life and career in journalism.