Emily Progin, PR and Communications Coordinator
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RETIRED POLICE OFFICER AND VETERAN NEEDS HELP TO GET A NEW HEART
“If He Hasn’t Earned This Heart, I Don’t Know Who Would”
MCKINNEY, Texas—At just 52 years old, Kevin Lopez is fighting for his life. Living with heart disease since age 35, Kevin is a retired police officer and former undercover police detective as well as a former firefighter and Air Force veteran who will need a heart transplant to survive. His family is reaching out to the Dallas-Ft Worth community for assistance to bring the gift of new life within reach so he can be the dad and grandfather he needs to be.
In 2005, when Kevin was just 35, he experienced his first heart attack while on duty as an undercover police detective. Since then, Kevin has experienced an astonishing 19 heart attacks in addition to a stroke, two defibrillator/pacemaker implants, and 22 defibrillator shocks to restore his heart. Today, he is on the waiting list for a new heart.
Kevin’s service to the community started back in 1988 when he joined the Air Force right out of high school. He became a security police officer, traveling from the U.S. to the Pacific. Honorably discharged in 1992, he became a firefighter, police officer, and EMT for the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport’s Department of Public Safety. He remained in his position for five years then joined the Plano Police Department in 1998. He remained there for 19 years, 17 years of which he served as a narcotics detective.
Kevin is no stranger to health challenges: he was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down in 1996 following a major accident in his line of work. “As a parent, you never quit,” says Kevin. “Nicole and Lukas mean more to me than life itself. I’m trying to set an example for them and anyone out there struggling. For the ones we love, it’ll be worth every bit of it.”
His family and community are determined to help see him through the challenges and victories of his journey to a new heart. Because Kevin lives on disability from his work as a police officer, the financial impact of a heart transplant will be significant. Out-of-pocket costs include co-pays, deductibles, specialist visits, and post-transplant anti-rejection medications, which he will need to take to take for a lifetime—the estimated cost is $5,000 per month.
To lift the burden, friends have started a fundraising campaign with the national nonprofit Help Hope Live at https://helphopelive.org/campaign/19830/
Unlike crowdfunding, donations to Help Hope Live in Kevin’s honor are tax deductible and can only be used to cover verified transplant-related expenses. The nonprofit verifies Kevin’s medical need and manages all funds raised to ensure they won’t jeopardize his eligibility for disability and other state-based benefits.
While donations can be made online at any time, Kevin and his family are also planning in-person community gatherings, including the I <3 Bass Fishing tournament on Saturday, June 18. Details: https://events.helphopelive.org/event/5562/signup/
“Your donation can help ease the financial burden and make a life worth living for my dad,” explains Nicole Lopez, Kevin’s daughter.
Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit that specializes in engaging communities in secure, tax-deductible fundraising campaigns for people who need a transplant or are affected by a catastrophic injury or illness. Since 1983, campaigns organized by Help Hope Live have raised over $158 million to pay patient expenses. ###Written by Emily Progin