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Community holds fundraiser for local woman

Friends and family are showing their support for a local woman in need of a liver transplant.

Lillie Reynolds, of Castalia, was diagnosed around 20 years ago with sarcoidosis, an auto immune disease where the immune system fights against the organs in the body.

"Most people, it goes to their lungs, but in my case it went to my liver," Reynolds said.

Treatments were done for several years and Reynolds said she got better. But around two years ago, Reynolds noticed her stomach would become bloated. She was so uncomfortable, she said she stopped eating and lost weight. Many tests later, Reynolds said it was found that the sarcoidosis had scarred her liver, causing cirrhosis of the liver. She was given medication to slow the progress.

Last December, Reynolds said a tumor was also discovered on her liver. The tumor appeared cancerous but was inoperable because of the other things going on with Reynolds' liver. Instead Reynolds had a TASC procedure, where doctors were able to implant chemo beads directly in the tumor.

The procedure was completed on February 18, 2015 and Reynolds said she had great test results from that. She was also fortunate to not have to endure some of the side effects chemotherapy causes.

"I didn't lose my hair or nothing like that," she said. "I probably got a little tired."

However, there is no cure for the cirrhosis.

Reynolds said because of that, she is being evaluated for a liver transplant.

A liver transplant is not an inexpensive ordeal. With insurance, Reynolds said she will still have to pay $650,000.

Friends and family are hoping to ease the burden for Reynolds by raising as much of the money as they can prior to a transplant.

Her church family at Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church are hosting a special service on Sunday, July 12 at 4 p.m. to raise money for Reynolds' liver transplant. The theme for the service is "It's Your Day."

The service will be rendered by Reverend Luther Barnes, the pastor of Restoration Worship Center and all proceeds will go towards the cost of Reynolds' transplant.

Family members are also working to raise money and have set up a transplant fund for Reynolds.

Reynolds said she was having a hard time accepting the support and help but said she was appreciative.

"I have a real hard time with people doing stuff for me," she said. "I guess I shouldn't have a hard time with it."

"I'm humbled they thought enough of me that they want to help," Reynolds added.

Reynolds said while waiting for testing to be done, she continues to go about her day-to-day living. She has been a teacher for 40 years and currently serves as a testing coordinator for the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School.

"I will always want to do something, even if it's part-time," she said.

Reynolds said the support of her family and friends has made things easier but her faith has been what's kept her going. She said she's chosen to just give it to God and let him take control.

"I feel blessed," she said. "It could be a lot worse."

For those wishing to contribute to Reynolds' liver transplant, they can call Lois Umstead at 443-7208 or 907-5079 or send checks to the Lillie Reynolds Transplant Fund, Attn: Lois Umstead, PO Box 65, Red Oak, NC 27868.

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