Click photo to enlarge
Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Jeffrey Pratt was an active high school student playing the traditional sports. Pratt married and had two sons Michael and Justin. Over 27 years ago, Pratt never gave it a second thought when he heard the term 'high blood pressure'. Years later that term would again surface and his life would be forever changed in 2001.

Capri (Lewis) Mulder, who now lives in Texas, was also an active high school student who moved out of the area, got married and started a family. Mulder then found Facebook and began to connect with old classmates. This past year she found Jeffrey Pratt online and this connection would forever change her.

Mulder listened intently as Pratt shared his past 12 years battling kidney disease, complete kidney failure, a failed transplant, and eight combined years of dialysis. Mulder went to sleep with a heavy heart and then woke up knowing why she would work the next 60 days. “I don't want to see Jeffrey imprisoned to dialysis anymore! I want to see him live again,” Mulder said.

No one seems to know exactly what went wrong with Pratt's kidneys, but as they had dropped to 32 percent of their normal function, he knew he was in trouble. It would only take six months for them to completely shut down. Pratt then went on dialysis until his loving father stepped up and gave Pratt one of his kidneys in June 2002. Everyone was so hopeful and Pratt was thrilled to be off the dialysis machine.

That joy ended in two short years as the kidney failed due to complications and Pratt again became a slave to dialysis. In December 2004 Pratt went back on dialysis for what he believed to be the rest of his life. Currently Pratt spends three days a week on dialysis that is all-consuming.

”My parents have been amazing,” Pratt said. “My dad gave me a kidney and has been in the ER with me so many times he could probably put the IV in himself.”

Mulder created an account for Pratt on King's Ransom Foundation where cash donations could be made, but that was not enough and she knew it. Mulder then started to reach out to her friends sharing Pratt's story via Facebook postings and video messages. The messages were simple. “We can do this! Let's give Jeffrey his life back,” said Mulder. Mulder firmly believes that God has a plan for everyone.

The goal was $50,000 to get a new kidney. This would cover the kidney, surgery, and after care for Pratt. Mulder set a timeline goal which ends on Sunday. As of Wednesday, there have been 158 donations totaling over $34,400. The donation site is full of messages of hope and love towards Pratt and his “guardian angel,” Mulder.

To make a cash donation on behalf of Jeffrey Pratt to the King's Ransom Foundation, go to www.grouprev.com/jeffrey. The foundation account will close on Sunday.

The wildfire that Mulder started has carried coast to coast as donations have come in from around the country by friends of friends and complete strangers. Locally friends of Pratt have taken up the fight and created several events to reach the $50,000 goal.

Tonight Applebee's is playing host to Jeffrey Pratt's fight to get a new kidney by donating a portion of the dinner proceeds of guest who bring in a flyer for his event. You can get a copy of the flyer to present to your server by going to Facebook page “Applebee's Fundraiser for Jeff Pratt Kidney Fund.” Pratt's best friend Darren Kanen will be at the event with fliers, but cannot hand them out unless you approach him. So he will be at a table eating decked out in Oregon Ducks attire of green, gold and black. Come by his table, say hi, leave a donation, pick up a flier, or leave a note of encouragement for Pratt. The event begins at 5 p.m.

Kanen is heading a raffle campaign to help reach the kidney goal and tickets will be available with him at Applebee's or by calling him at 599-5676. The raffle has five prizes, including two cords of wood, a 1954 Savage Model 99f original rifle, a four pelt sheepskin rug, and a record LP clock. Tickets are 1 for $10, 3 for $25, and $10 for $50 and can also be purchased at Grundman's in Rio Dell, Fortuna Ace Hardware, Wildwood Saw in Fortuna, Fortuna Redwood Empire Golf Course, and J & K Automotive in Fortuna. The drawing will be held on March 31.

”I would like to give a huge 'thank you' to the community and Capri for getting this all going for Jeff,” Kanen said. “If it was not for her this would all not be happening and this is pretty neat. If you look at the website it is amazing. The amount of donations from people who do not even know him is amazing.”

Two final events will be held for Pratt in April that include a Premier Design Jewelry Fundraiser running now through April 14, when there will be a Treasure Hunt beginning at Rohner Park in Fortuna.

Heather Sousa Kelley will be donating 30 percent of her retail sales to the Jeffrey Pratt Kidney Fund for all purchases now through April 14, where she will be set up at the Treasure Hunt beginning at Rohner Park at 9 a.m. For more information or to purchase, contact Heather at 834-1334 or email at Heather.Jewelry@yahoo.com.

Jodi (Toroni) Cook is heading the Treasure Hunt at Rohner Park on April 14. “Over the next few weeks we will be selling event tickets for a treasure hunt,” Cook said. “They will be sold for $50 a car where $25 goes to a cash prize and $25 to the Jeffrey Pratt Kidney Fund. You can have as many people that will fit in your car participating and if you have five people it is only $10 a person and think of the money you could win while helping Jeff get a kidney.”

The amount of the cash prize will be based off how many people are participating in the event. Clues will be given the day of the race to find the final treasure. For more information about the event you can check out their Facebook page 'Treasure Hunt for Jeff Pratt', call Jodi Cook at 499-1111, or call Heather Hart at 498-0705. The event has a Paypal account where tickets can be purchased at hef270@aol.com and leaving your name and number. Cook and Hart are willing to come sell you tickets for the event by just leaving your name and number on the event page on Facebook.

”I think it is harder on my family than anything,” Pratt said. “My children have had to watch me be an active dad to being extremely ill. It is hard for everyone to be constantly worrying about me.”

Reflecting on the huge outpouring of support, Pratt said he was humbled. “I can't believe people would do this for me,” he said. “The people have been great. I have always thought the people here in the community are great and I have seen them rally before, but I never thought it would happen to me or for me.”

Pratt tries not to look too far into the future and believes it is one of those things that irritate his loved ones that he is so spur of the moment.

”I don't know what is going to happen, but I can't wait to start participating in my life again,” he said. “I will be doing a lot of spur of the moment things and living in the moment.”

”This has been an adventure,” Mulder said, “a wild ride, awesome to be a part of something bigger than me. We have four days left to reach our goal for Jeffrey Pratt to get a kidney transplant. Thank you for being a part of this miracle! Let's work like it's up to us and pray like it's up to God.”

Pratt wanted everyone to know that he does not see this as simply a money thing.

”It is the gift of life,” he said. “They are giving me my life back. Some have taken the time to pray for me. Nobody had to do this for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart; there are just not enough words.”

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Jeffrey Pratt (right) hangs tight to lifelong friend Darren Kanen (left) as he prepares to continue his journey of life in hopes of getting off dialysis.