GREENFIELD — Linda Baker has lots of friends in Hancock County primarily because of the lives she’s touched, and now “Friends of Linda” want to pay it back.
Baker, longtime manager of Hancock Hope House’s WEARhouse thrift store in Greenfield, underwent a liver transplant on Jan. 13 after being diagnosed with nonalcoholic hepatitis in 2012.
The transplant was performed at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, and she has been recovering at Greenfield’s Golden Living Center Brandywine, friends say.
Though Baker, 62, came through the procedure well, her recovery will keep her out of work for at least two months, said friend Linda Dunkin, co-organizer of a fundraising campaign to meet Baker’s unpaid medical bills and living expenses.
“She’s going to have significant medical bills plus her daily living expenses,” Dunkin said. “One of the first things they tell you when you’re getting ready for a transplant is get your fundraising ready.”
The extent of Baker’s medical expenses are presently unknown, as “we haven’t gotten any bills yet,” Dunkin said.
To help defray those costs when they come, however, supporters have set up an account with HelpHopeLive.org, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that specializes in helping patients with transplants or catastrophic injury bridge the gap between insurance payments and outstanding medical bills.
To make an online donation, go to www.helphopelive.org, type in Baker’s first and last name and indicate “liver” on the search menu. Visitors will be taken to Baker’s page where they can click on the “Donate Now” tab and contribute, a company spokesperson said.
Donations can also be made by check, payable to the organization by sending them “in honor of Linda Baker” in the memo section to HelpHopeLive, 2 Radnor Corporate Center, 100 Matsonford Road, Suite 100, Radnor, PA 19087, Dunkin said.
To help Baker meet her monthly living expenses, tax-deductible donations can be made at any Greenfield Banking Co. location by simply asking to make a contribution on her behalf, a bank spokesperson said.
In addition to her work at the WEARhouse, Baker has been an integral cog in Hancock County’s Special Olympics machine for nearly two decades as coordinator and executive director.
Baker has also been an avid peddler of Girl Scout cookies, helping girls sell thousands of boxes over the years, as well as instrumental in creating the “Dinosaur Discovery” program that identified children who would benefit from early preschool to develop skills for kindergarten, Dunkin said.
For further information, or to find out how else area residents can help, contact either Linda Dunkin at (317) 433-7444 or Virginia Harrell at (765) 738-6736.