Money is raised in an effort to save a counselor’s life




A college counselor is in need of a heart transplant in order to survive.

Melissa Wells was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy — a life-threatening abnormality of the heart muscle that makes it difficult to pump blood — seven years ago.

A left-ventricular assist device (LVAD) is supporting her heart as she awaits the possibility of a heart transplant.

Despite being treated and cleared by physicians, Melissa has undergone several hospitalizations and suffered from cardiac arrest.

Melissa is in critical condition, and the only chance of survival, doctors say, is a costly heart transplant, priced at $1 million. That doesn’t figure in additional medical expenses associated with the operation, which involves annual checkups and anti-rejection medications.

Faculty members, students, family and friends are raising funds in an effort to pay for Melissa’s medical expenses. The National Foundation for Transplants (NFT), a 31-year-old nonprofit organization that raises money for transplants through fundraising, is contributing in Melissa’s survival.

Melissa has a husband, Alex (also a counselor at the college), and a son, Sebastian.

In order to donate via credit card, visit:

If by check, address it to the National Foundation for Transplants, Kansas Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Ste 430, Memphis, TN 38119, with “in honor of Melissa Wells” on the memo line.

Melissa’s road to recovery can be followed on Facebook at:

For more information, contact NFT at 1-800-489-3863; or Kris Downing,, or Michelle Heffron,

Contact Valerie Velikaya, managing editor,


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