HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Joseph Umhotlz and his wife Linda have been married almost 25 years, but their time together is ticking away.
“He has got to get this transplant and he has got to get it soon or he is going to die,” Linda Umholtz said.
Joseph was diagnosed with stage-four liver failure in 2008. Doctors are not sure why his liver is failing, but they know he needs a new one to live. That is why an ABC 27 series on Gift Of Life and CORE, the two nonprofits that handle organ donation in Pennsylvania, caught his eye.
The ABC 27 report highlighted 2012 tax forms for Gift Of Life and CORE. Those documents show the nonprofits have a combined worth of almost $100 million and their CEOs each make more than $350,000 a year.
“I was frustrated when I saw that and a little bit angry. That is why I contacted you,” Joseph Umholtz said.
The 58-year-old Harrisburg man has been waiting seven years for a transplant and he says it has put a huge financial drain on his family.
“What I do not like is hearing about how the CEOs of these charities are bringing down more than $300,000 a year,” he said.
The ABC 27 story asked viewers if nonprofits are building multi-million dollar reserves, is it time to start reimbursing families of donors for funeral expenses.
Joseph has another view:
“Donate to recipients as well as donors, if you have a possible way of doing that,” he said. “There is nothing there for people in my situation other than grassroots fundraising, and we have pretty much exhausted that. I would like to see some programs available that provide grants or low cost loans.”
Joseph’s disease has progressed and he can no longer get the transplant he needs in the Midstate. A Miami, Florida hospital can do the procedure, but patients must live within three hours of the hospital to get on the list. The family is trying to raise the money so they can move.
This will be their second attempt. The family lived in Florida for seven months but had to return when they ran out of money.
“I am on a timeline,” Umholtz said. “I do not know when the end is, hopefully not too soon.”
Joseph Umholtz’s donation page at the National Liver Foundation is http://patients.transplants.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=485635&supid=402139411.