Saving Verdugo

One of Las Vegas nightlife’s founding fathers, Tony Verdugo, is in the hospital and fighting for his life in the wake of severe E. Coli poisoning earlier this summer. After meeting a friend for dinner, he didn’t feel well and was rushed to the hospital later that night, where he was diagnosed with a severe case of E. Coli. Ultimately, the pathogen was responsible for massive organ failure — everything except Verdugo’s brain and heart had seized. Since then, Verdugo has been in a fight for his life and while awaiting a kidney transplant, and requires dialysis every 48 hours.

Verdugo, who played a monumental role in the early stages of Las Vegas after-hours nightlife, is facing mounting medical bills and has been left so weak from the dialysis that he has lost 50 pounds and is unable to get around without the help of others. His sister, Shauna, has volunteered to donate a kidney to Verdugo, and as he works to get healthy enough to accept the kidney, he must continue his regimen of dialysis and expensive prescriptions. Like many in the nightlife industry, Verdugo does not have medical insurance, and as his bills continue to mount, a committee of other longtime Las Vegas nightlife veterans is raising money to save his life.

Last week, a party took place at Cherry Nightclub at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas and included a silent auction of donated products with all proceeds going toward Verdugo’s medical fund. Although the event is over, you can still make donations through his web site,, as well as get up-to-date information on his status. The site also has heart-tugging videos of a bed-ridden Tony hanging with his young son Chaz.

The money being raised goes to two places: first, to continue to pay for the ongoing dialysis treatment, and secondly, to pay for the transplant itself. Even with Shauna donating her kidney, the surgery and transplant itself is an extremely expensive procedure.  In total, Verdugo is expected to accumulate over $300,000 in medical bills, so help from any and all is greatly appreciated. For anyone who has attended an after-hours party in Las Vegas, here’s a chance to give back to the man who started it all. Stay strong Tony — you are in our thoughts and prayers.

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