James Michael McLester, a musician with a new kidney, will perform at Marty B’s in Bartonville on Sept. 6 in a fundraising concert to help with medical expenses that have built over many years.
McLester, of Bedford, was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2001 when he was 33 years old.
“My vision went out, I was put on emergency dialysis and I was told I’d die in days,” McLester said.
Against the odds, McLester’s life continued on dialysis for 13 years until a kidney match was found. In December 2015, Laura Workman donated one of her kidneys to save McLester’s life.
“My health is remarkably good since the surgery,” McLester wrote on Help Hope Live, a community-based fundraising vehicle for people with unmet medical and related expenses. “It feels like a miracle to wake up and sense your body is becoming stronger, your system cleaned of toxins and waste, and dialysis is no longer needed.”
McLester is now married with two kids, and his upcoming concert will raise funds to help with his medical debt.
“The reality of being responsible for enormous medical debt that has accumulated over the years for my medical care is a current challenge,” he wrote. “Even with Medicare coverage, there are co-pays and deductibles, follow-up doctor visits and lab fees. It is a financial challenge too great to overcome without the continued support of others.
“To alleviate this financial burden, a fundraising campaign in the South Central Texas Help Hope Live kidney fund has been established in my honor.”
On Friday, Sept. 6, the Help Hope Live “Texas 2 Step” at Marty B’s will feature performances by three bands — McLester will play in each of them — playing covers by bands such as Hall and Oates, U2, Van Halen, The Eagles and more. Three doctors — including Nathan Bryan, Marty B’s brother — will also speak.