Gretchen Coleman-Thomas has waited a long time for a kidney transplant and it appears the moment is almost here. Three days a week, every week, for the past five years the Oak Bluffs woman has undergone dialysis treatment, while keeping up with her wedding and events planning business and most of the rest of her active life. Without dialysis, her doctors told her, she would live only about five days.

“I just want to get off dialysis,” Ms. Coleman-Thomas said. “At one point I was ready to quit. I talked to my family and I told them I couldn’t do it any more. It was grueling, it was wearing me down. I didn’t have a life. I didn’t want my life to be dialysis.”

Now, because of an unusual twist of fate, she is awaiting a call from her doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

“I’m at the top of the list, so I could get a call at any time for a transplant,” she said.

There are two options for a transplant. If a living donor volunteers to donate one of their kidneys, the surgery can be scheduled at a convenient time for Ms. Coleman-Thomas, the donor, and the doctors.

If a kidney becomes available from a person who has died, the logistics of living on an Island become considerably more difficult. She will have only a short time to get to Mass General. With the help of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the Oak Bluffs police and ambulance departments, and the U.S. Coast Guard, extensive plans are in place.

“If it’s conducive to fly they’ll call the helicopter and med-evac me up,” Ms. Coleman-Thomas said. “If the weather is not conducive to fly they’ll have the Coast Guard meet me at the Vineyard Haven Steamship Authority and there will be an ambulance waiting for me in Woods Hole. You have a two hour window, so you’ve got to get there as soon as possible.”

Until this summer, Ms. Coleman-Thomas worked with doctors at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston as she awaited a transplant, But after developing a heart ailment, doctors at Beth Israel reluctantly dropped her from the transplant program because they don’t accept patients who have a secondary health issue.

It was difficult news for her to hear. The doctors gave her three options: continue with dialysis for the rest of her life, apply to the transplant program at Mass General, or enter palliative care in preparation for death. She wasn’t happy about any of the choices.

“I walked on the beach, I threw stones, I prayed, I cried,” she said. “Finally I decided I have nothing to lose going to Mass General.”

Her new doctors evaluated her in an extensive series of tests, and accepted her into the transplant program. Because she has already been on dialysis for so long, and because of other criteria that determine the order in which patients get donor organs, she was put at the top of the hospital’s list for the next compatible donor organ.

But there was a hitch. Mass General requires transplant patients to have a large amount of money in reserve to pay for anti-rejection drugs following transplant surgery. Ms. Coleman-Thomas said the drugs will cost about $9,000 each month, and insurance will cover only about one-third of the cost.

That is when her friend Carleen Cordwell stepped in to organize a fundraising event to help defray the cost of the drugs. An accomplished group of singers, including Vivian Male, Michele Holland, Suesan Stovall, Alli Frazier and Cleo Wilkins are scheduled to perform at the Portuguese-American Club on Thursday, August 31, in a program dubbed Songs for a Sister. The event is from 8 p.m. to midnight.

“Gretchen is more like family to me than a friend,” Ms. Cordwell said. “We’ll be sisters celebrating the health and wellness of our sister. Just a real fellowship of being there when one of us or any of us are in need.”

“Gretchen is one of my closest, dearest friends,” said Ms. Holland, who will perform at the benefit. “Love her dearly. She is in need, and that’s what friends are for. We would do anything for Gretchen. This is a fight for life.”

“Songs for a Sister,” Ms. Coleman-Thomas said. “I start to cry when I say it. People are just coming out of the woodwork. It’s so great to be cared about by so many people. I’m overwhelmed by the support. I’m so blessed.”

About 93,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for kidney transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The organization keeps the list and matches patients to donors based on a national computer system and strict standards that ensure ethical and fair distribution of organs.

Because of a shortage of organs, most patients wait three to five years for a transplant, though the wait can be longer in certain regions of the country.