Lung Transplant Recipient Pays it Forward

Tent Event: Aug. 27

Palmer's Steakhouse
122 E. Capitol Drive
Hartland, WI
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Tony Arenas and his familyFor more than 30 years, Tony Arenas and his family have sponsored a large fundraiser at their restaurant to raise money for cystic fibrosis (CF) research. This year, a little more than a year after Tony received a double-lung transplant, they decided to contribute a portion of their proceeds to UW Health Transplant and UW Organ and Tissue Donation, two groups of people who helped save Tony’s life.


Tony’s parents, Jerry and Marie Arenas, own Palmer’s Steakhouse, an upscale eatery in Hartland, Wisconsin. Over the past three decades, their August Tent Event has raised more than $2.1 million for CF research. This year, Tony himself penned the letter to prospective sponsors, asking for their support in the fight against the debilitating disease. Proceeds will benefit the Hope, meet Gratitude Research Fund at UW Health; UW Organ and Tissue Donation; Donate Life Wisconsin; and the CF Foundation. “Together, these four organizations saved my life, and I want to extend their ability to save even more lives,” writes Tony.


Since his transplant, Tony has been able to breathe more easily and no longer requires oxygen or around-the-clock intravenous antibiotics. “Life post-transplant has been amazing!” he writes. But he still suffers from other debilitating symptoms related to his disease, and he knows that the five-year survival rate after a lung transplant is 50 percent. That is why he and his family are supporting the organizations that are fighting CF and providing life-saving lung transplants. “We have pledged to never stop fundraising until a cure is found for CF,” he writes.


The Tent Event takes place on Sunday, August 27 outside Palmer’s Steakhouse, 122 E. Capitol Drive in Hartland from 1 to 6 pm. It will include games, a live auction, food, beer and live music by local rock band Room to Move. “For those that find themselves heading for transplant,” Tony writes, “we want to give them hope and confidence that they too can have a long, healthy life.”