Frank Maldonado of Hesperia and his family are hoping to add days to his life, one pancake at a time.


On Sunday, March 27 from 8 to 10 a.m., the Maldonados and their friends will hold a "flapjack fundraiser" at Applebee's Neighborhood Grill in Apple Valley. Proceeds from the all-you-can-eat hotcake event will help make a dent in the $50,000 or so the family must raise for his kidney transplant.


The total cost of the procedure is about $250,000, but Maldonado, 39, needs to come up with 20 percent before he gets approval, according to his wife Irene Maldonado.


"Frank does get Medicare," she said. "We cover 20 percent out of pocket. We don't qualify for Medi-Cal, and the co-pay would be $1,400 a month."


Frank Maldonado currently receives Social Security benefits but previously was a teacher's aide for children with behavioral issues.


Irene, who works as a garden department supervisor at Home Depot, has been by her husband's side since the two were teenagers, when they started dating. Even then she was aware that her husband-to-be was battling type-1 diabetes, which eventually contributed to kidney failure. Maldonaldo went into kidney failure in 2008 when he began three-day-a-week dialysis treatments.


"I've been with Frank since I was 15 years old. We're childhood sweethearts. It's very hard to see someone you love suffer every day."


But the Maldonados have received encouragement from the National Foundation for Transplants, a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds for transplant-related expenses.


"They've helped us very much by giving us ideas."


Previously, they held a fundraiser in La Habra, and the NFT helped with flapjack fundraiser at Applebee's, which regularly holds community fundraising events.


While the upcoming event won't likely generate the necessary funds to get the green light, it does demonstrate to Loma Linda University Medical Center that the Maldonados are doing everything they can to raise money toward the surgery.


"They needed to see we were really going to try our hardest," she said.


A kidney transplant also would enable the Maldonado family, which includes the couple's 17-year-old son, "Little" Frank, to pursue their passion for the Oakland Raiders football team.


"My husband and son are very into sports," she said.


The Maldonados were among the founding members of a local Oakland Raiders booster club known as The Pirates of the High Desert. The group meets to watch Raider games at Kids Planet in Hesperia, but the Maldonados were regular season ticket holders and traveled to Oakland for home games.


"That's Frank's No. 1 hobby Raider football."


The Maldonado's are hoping the fundraiser also will give them a much-needed dose of encouragement.


"It's frustrating," Irene Maldonado said. "It's been a long time. We're honest people. We're hard working people, and we can't seem to get any help."


Meanwhile the clock the ticking.


"He's waiting."


Frank Maldonado's flapjack fundraiser will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 27 at Applebee's, 19201 Bear Valley Road, Apple Valley. Donation is $10 per person with children 10 and under free. For tickets and more information, call Irene Maldonado at (760) 956-3951.