Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston:
James Bays “J.B.” Ferguson stands beside a few of the cars in the NASCAR collection he started over 20 years ago. Ferguson is awaiting a liver transplant.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Several fundraisers have been planned to raise money for James Bays "J.B." Ferguson of Rocky Mount, who is awaiting a liver transplant.
A pancake breakfast will be held at Applebee's in Rocky Mount on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 8 to 10 a.m. Pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee will be available for $5 a plate. There will also be a raffle drawing for a $25 gift card to Applebee's.
Ferguson, 58, has stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver.
"I used to drink a lot," said Ferguson. "But I haven't had a drop in 18 years."
Ferguson's symptoms became severe last November and he went to seek help.
"I was so weak and tired," he said. "And I could hardly breathe at all."
Doctors informed Ferguson that he needed a liver transplant and that a partial transplant would not suffice.
"I would give him part of my liver if it would help," said his sister, Sandra Ferguson, "but he has to have a whole liver. A partial will not work."
Ferguson has been near death twice, his sister said.
"His platelet count and blood pressure stays too low," Sarah said. "If he gets cut, he bleeds uncontrollably. As of now, he is only allowed 96 ounces of liquid a day."
He spent a week in University of Virginia Medical Center, where he was put on the liver transplant list.
Ferguson is now home and waiting for the call from UVA informing him that a liver is available.
"I am packed and ready to go," said Ferguson. "The Lord has brought me back to life twice, and I know He has plans for me."
Ferguson said he gave his life to Christ in December and is a new man who looks at life in a new light.
"There have been so many blessings and unexplained miracles," he said. "I know the Lord is looking out for me."
Ferguson is on disability and the cost of his medication is more than he draws each month.
"One medicine alone is $1,300," said Sarah.
Ferguson also needs at least $5,000 before the transplant can be performed, his sister added.
"They need to know that the money is available for him to survive the first month after the surgery," she said.
In addition to the breakfast, a bowl-a-thon has been scheduled for Saturday, March 2 at 2 p.m. at Franklin Lanes. Cost for three games will be $10. There will also be door prizes.
Bracelets with the slogan "Liver for J.B." will be for sale for $1 at both scheduled events, and collection jars are set up at several stores throughout the county: Jed's, 40 West Food Fare, Bowling's Hotdogs and Franklin Lanes.
An account for Ferguson has been set up at Member One Federal Credit Union in Rocky Mount. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to P.O. Box 79, Glade Hill, VA 24092. All checks should be made out to "James Bays Ferguson Fund."
Ferguson is a 1972 graduate of Franklin County High School and an avid NASCAR fan. He has been collecting memorabilia, including die cast cars, for more than 20 years.
"Some of my cars are even signed by the drivers," he said.
He is also a softball player and has coached several local men's teams over the years.
"I played some just this past summer," he said, "before my symptoms got the best of me."
Before becoming ill and retiring on disability, Ferguson had worked for MW, Mod-U-Kraf and Continental Homes.
"I was one of the first seven people that built the first home that came off the Mod-U-Kraf assembly line," said Ferguson.