Longtime Elkhart music teacher Patrice Penny-Henderson needs kidney transpant due to rare disease

The Elkhart News | Michelle Sokol

Patrice Penny-Henderson smiles as she leads a discussion at a kidney disease support group that meets at Elkhart Public Library Tuesday. Penny-Henderson is a longtime Elkhart music teacher and is now holding a fundraiser where proceeds will be donated to Help Hope Live in honor of Patrice. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth)

ELKHART — Patrice Penny-Henderson has been helping Elkhart students develop a love for music and learning. Now she needs help in return.

Penny-Henderson, who worked for Elkhart Community Schools for more than 20 years, is battling a rare blood cell disease — one that many doctors in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties have never heard of — and needs a live-saving kidney transplant.

For more than seven years, Penny-Henderson has suffered from a disease called light chain deposition disease that has reduced her kidney function to nothing and caused her to undergo straining dialysis treatments three times a week. Although a kidney transplant could save her life, the financial cost is a major hurdle.

Even with her Medicare coverage, the out-of-pocket expenses for a transplant could exceed $20,000, including the cost of co-pays, deductibles, travel and relocation for the transplant, and a lifetime of anti-rejection medications. Continue reading