JUSTIN SELLERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Mark Porter gets a hug from childhood friend Kathy Oliveaux outside Under the Hill Saloon Saturday at a benefit for Porter, who is fighting pulmonary fibrosis and non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.
JUSTIN SELLERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
Mark Porter gets a hug from childhood friend Kathy Oliveaux outside Under the Hill Saloon Saturday at a benefit for Porter, who is fighting pulmonary fibrosis and non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

Friends help Porter raise money for medical expenses

Published 12:04am Sunday, July 14, 2013

NATCHEZ — Family and friends of Natchez resident Mark Porter are working to raise money to cover Porter’s medical expenses.

Mark, 54, was diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver in 2005 and pulmonary fibrosis in 2008.

He is now in need of a double lung transplant and a new liver. A double-lung transplant can cost up to $800,000 and a liver transplant could cost nearly $600,000.

JUSTIN SELLERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Mary Ellen Porter, the wife of Mark Porter, fixes to-go plates of food being sold to benefit her husband who is fighting pulmonary fibrosis and non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver outside Under the Hill Saloon Saturday.
JUSTIN SELLERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Mary Ellen Porter, the wife of Mark Porter, fixes to-go plates of food being sold to benefit her husband who is fighting pulmonary fibrosis and non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver outside Under the Hill Saloon Saturday.

Porter currently travels to Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans for care.

“You know, I’m just hoping I can live long enough to see my kids have kids of their own,” Natchez native Mark Porter said.

Porter worked for years in oil fields and at Armstrong Tire Plant. Doctors determined the health problems stemmed from working around asbestos, Porter said.

“Mark’s always been very active,” his mother Bobbye J. Porter said. “It was tough for him to not be able to work, or really do anything physical. His children keep him going.”

Donations have already reached $4,000, Bobbye Porter said, but more is needed.

The family is planning its next benefit at The Corner Bar in August.

“I’m hoping to raise $10,000 to $15,000,” Mark said. “But, I know I’ll need more.”

Mark’s wife, Mary Ellen Porter, said the fundraising effort helps his morale.

“It helps him feel like he is doing something, because he can’t get out and work like he used to do,” Mary said. “I think the hardest part of this for all of us is not knowing what comes next. We have had some good days and bad days, but lately it seems like more of them have been good.”

Bobbye said the waiting list for transplants is short.

After the surgery, Mark said he would be required to stay in near Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans for up to nine months.

Ochsner’s apartments vary based on income, but cost from $5 to $10 per day, Mark said.

“It’s tough to just sit around,” he said. “I try to be active and not think about it, because if I think about it I get depressed.”

Miss-Lou residents who want to help can mail donations to Mark Porter, 12-A Buckles Road, Natchez, MS, 39120.