Fam­ily fish­ing event to raise money for liver trans­plant

Serve Daily - - FOSTERING GROWTH -

It’s a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence,” says life­long Utah res­i­dent Rod Nielsen, “to have your daugh­ters say, ‘Please, Dad, let us help you. It’s not your time to die.’”

Hum­bling in­deed, but that’s the sit­u­a­tion in which Nielsen finds him­self as he awaits a life­sav­ing liver trans­plant.

A rugged out­doors­man and for­mer sheet rocker, Nielsen has al­ways been one to help oth­ers. Now work­ing with the Utah Di­vi­sion of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, he is known for his kind­ness, quick wit and will­ing­ness to help oth­ers. “Last Christ­mas, there was a fam­ily Rod came across while work­ing,” said Lisa Gra­ham of DNR. “They were go­ing through a rough time and he played Se­cret Santa to help the fam­ily. He wouldn’t let on that he did any­thing, but we all knew. He’s al­ways help­ing peo­ple, but never wants the credit.” Per­haps that’s why it’s hard for him to ac­cept help, even though he re­ally needs it now.

“I hate ask­ing for help,” he says, “but it’s not like I can grow a new liver, and the one I have is fail­ing.” Add to that the com­plex­ity of the do­na­tion process, the num­ber of peo­ple who need or­gans, and the many ex­penses that in­sur­ance won’t cover, and it’s truly an up­hill battle.

With help from fam­ily, friends, neigh­bors and the com­mu­nity, Nielsen’s daugh­ters are work­ing hard to ease that battle. Jes­sica, Rod’s youngest daugh­ter, has or­ga­nized fundrais­ers to help oth­ers in time of need, so it was nat­u­ral for her to step up and raise funds to help the ef­fort – once she and her sis­ter Lacy could con­vince him to al­low their help, of course. They’re ex­tra mo­ti­vated, since they’d re­ally like their Dad to be around for many more years to spoil his grand­kids – Jes­sica has two sons and two daugh­ters and Lacy is ex­pect­ing her first baby in a few months. Rod and his wife Les­lie, who re­cently cel­e­brated their 33rd wed­ding an­niver­sary, are hop­ing he not only gets to greet his new grand­son, but that he is also around to share many more years with the en­tire fam­ily.

Since Rod is an avid fish­er­man, the girls have or­ga­nized a fish­ing derby, “Rods for Rod,” to be held on Satur­day, May 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Salem Pond. In ad­di­tion to the fish­ing derby, there will be a duck call­ing com­pe­ti­tion, games for kids, prize draw­ings and great food. At 11 a.m., John Bair of the Sports­men for Fish & Wildlife will con­duct a live auc­tion. Var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions have do­nated prizes and items for the auc­tion, in­clud­ing a $650 gun from Sports­men for Fish & Wildlife, a $700 fish­ing trip for six peo­ple at Straw­berry Reser­voir from Straw­berry Bay Ma­rina, a $500 Traeger smoker, a $3,000 Icon tread­mill and more. The cost is $5 per child and $10 per adult. Ad­mis­sion in­cludes use of DNR fish­ing poles, bait, and equip­ment. Any­one age 12 and older needs to have a valid Utah Fish­ing Li­cense to par­tic­i­pate in the derby. Whether you fish or not, there will be fun for all – and all funds will be used to help with Rod’s med­i­cal ex­penses.

For more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing ad­vanced reg­is­tra­tion, prizes and ways to help Rod, please visit rod­s4rod.org or face­book.com/rods­for­rod. Mon­e­tary dona­tions can also be made via the web­site or at any Amer­ica First Credit Union un­der the “Rods for Rod” ac­count #9074667.

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