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Golf Tournament to Benefit Toddler in Need of Kidney Transplant

Golfers are needed for the Oct. 14 tournament at Bloomingdale Golfers Club.

Family and friends of 16-month-old Evan Ranieri are inviting golfers to participate in a fundraising tournament Oct. 14 to benefit the little boy in need of a kidney transplant.

The son of Paul and Melissa Ranieri, who live off Bloomingdale Avenue, Evan was born with hypoplasia of the kidneys, meaning his kidneys are underdeveloped and operate at 30 percent of normal kidneys. As a result, the little boy will require a life-saving kidney transplant during the coming year.

Until he has a transplant, he is being kept alive with the help of a feeding tube inserted into his stomach.

If tests show she's a match, Melissa Ranieri plans to sacrifice one of her own kidneys to save her son.

"I would be the best candidate, so I will be tested first," she said.

On top of their constant concern for their son's health, the Ranieris have the added burden of knowing he faces a transplant surgery that could devastate the family financially.

Although the Ranieris have private health insurance, it won't cover the entire cost of the $500,000 kidney transplant.

They are now registered with the national Children's Organ Transplant Association, an organization providing fundraising assistance to families facing a life-saving transplant.

Evan has his own page on the COTA website that includes a button to make online donations, 100 percent of which goes to Evan's medical needs, as well as other fundraising activities on behalf of Evan and a personal blog on Evan's progress written by his mother.

Friends are hoping to offset the costs of the surgery with the fundraising golf tournament Oct. 14 at the Bloomingdale Golfers Club, 4113 Great Golfers Place, Valrico, starting with an 8:15 a.m. shotgun scramble. Registration begins at 7 a.m.

With a sponsorship from Bright House Networks and USAmeriBank, and thousands of dollars worth of prizes and raffle items, organizers would like to attract at least 100 golfers. The cost is $80 per player and includes a continental breakfast, lunch sponsored by Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, prizes, raffles, contests and a live auction. To register, visit the tournament's website or contact EvansOrganizers@yahoo.com or call 727-460-4734.

The Ranieris are looking for other fundraising opportunities as well. Anyone wishing to help can contact Diane and Frank Ranieri at 727-786-3079 or ranieri1@tampabay.rr.com.

To find out more about Evan, read Friends Raise Funds for Riverview Boy in Need of Kidney Transplant.

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