Area residents and students rallied to raise money to buy Gary Arnold a new liver, but their efforts were dashed when the Durrant Elementary School principal died Monday morning at LDS Hospital.
Among other donations, Durrant Elementary students contributed $5,000 from a two-day read-a-thon for Arnold's operation.Tom Anderson, owner of radio station KOAL, marshaled community contributions, establishing plans for a "Gary Arnold Day" where businesses agreed to contribute a portion of the day's receipts to Arnold's operation.
Funds were established at the Zions First National Bank in Price and at the LDS Hospital Deseret Foundation.
Arnold, 58, was rushed to the hospital about a month ago with a mysterious illness. Doctors determined he needed a liver transplant.
A recent surgery to divert part of his blood supply from his liver proved unsuccessful at controlling his internal bleeding.
Arnold's insurance wouldn't pay for the transplant, which could cost as much as $500,000.
He needed $100,000 immediately just to be put on the organ transplant waiting list, so the contribution effort was begun.
But Arnold didn't live long enough to receive the surgery. He died at 9:25 a.m. Monday, an LDS Hospital spokeswoman said.
His doctors said his illness could have been linked to an attack of hepatitis that Arnold suffered at age 14.
They were surprised by the sudden onset of his symptoms, as many patients have up to a two-year warning before a transplant operation is needed.