Tag Archives: marine

HelpHOPELive Clients In The News March 2016

Spring is a season of hope, renewal and rebirth. For these three clients, spring represents a chance to enjoy a healthier, happier future with help from community fundraising.

Scott Truran: Veteran Sets Sights On Treatment For Debilitating MS

Thirty-nine-year-old Scott Truran was diagnosed with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis in 2011. Before the diagnosis, the former Marine was very active and prioritized staying in shape. Today, he has to rely on a cane to walk and his right side feels like it’s been “dipped in concrete,” he explained.

Scott Truran HelpHOPELive veteran MS

Scott will continue to lose mobility as his MS progresses

Scott will continue to lose mobility as his MS progresses. It’s likely he will eventually need a wheelchair to get around. Scott and his family learned about a treatment option for MS that may help to limit Scott’s mobility losses. The treatment involves wiping out his immune system with low-dose chemotherapy, then using stem cells, previously harvested from his blood, to rebuild a new immune system. This treatment option is only available as a clinical trial in the United States. Scott and his family will need to raise $80,000 to receive the treatment in Mexico as well as additional funds to offset the out-of-pocket costs of travel and temporary relocation for Scott and a caregiver.

Scott Truran HelpHOPELive veteran MS

Scott is appealing to his community for support for his treatment goals

“The money is the biggest obstacle,” Scott explained, “but it’s a small price to pay for a chance to slow [the] disease or stop it entirely.” Scott will fundraise with HelpHOPELive to maximize his chances of securing the funds he needs to potentially halt or reverse the progression of his MS. (Veteran’s family asking for help with progressive form of multiple sclerosis)

Theo St. Francis: Young Man With Spinal Cord Injury Plans “His Comeback”

In 2013 while taking part in a pre-orientation at MIT, Theo broke his C6 vertebra in a diving accident. Theo became paralyzed from the chest down with some shoulder and arm movement and limited finger dexterity. Doctors told Theo he would likely never walk again.

Theo St. Francis HelpHOPELive

“I am done managing. I am overcoming.”

As the Sonoma Index-Tribune reported, Theo “set his brilliant mind toward devising a plan for his comeback.” In December 2015, Theo reached a major milestone when he was able to sit on a barstool during a celebration with friends. He tries to spend time away from his manual wheelchair, pursuing activities that “align with what my goals are,” from driving an adaptive car to biking, skiing, surfing, kayaking and traveling.

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Fundraising with HelpHOPELive is allowing Theo to pursue the intensive spinal cord injury therapies he credits with helping him improve his mobility over time. Theo emphasizes the word “recovery” and spends his days looking forward. “I put the impossible in quotes,” he explained. “I am done managing. I am overcoming.” (Theo St. Francis overcoming odds to regain mobility)

Michael Mahan: Community Supports Man Facing Intestine Transplant

In 2012, what Michael Mahan and his family believed to be an upset stomach turned out to be a dangerously twisted small intestine. Since doctors removed the failing organ, every 6-8 weeks, Michael ends up back in the hospital with septic blood. With no small intestine to help his body process food, the husband and father of three relies entirely on intravenous nutrition as he waits for an intestine transplant.

Michael’s priority today is raising funds to cover the out-of-pocket expenses associated with an intestine transplant and follow-up care. He may need to spend up to 10 months in a transplant center after the procedure, and the cost must be paid up front before he can be put on the transplant waiting list.

Michael Mahan HelpHOPELive

Michael is a husband and father of three

Fundraising with HelpHOPELive is helping Michael to secure the funds he needs to get the transplant, but it’s also connecting his family with their supportive community. “We’re just so excited to do everything we can to help him out,” said local resident Jon Rosenlund. “He is a wonderful man and a great father. It’s an honor to help him, but we need a lot of help.” (Fundraiser to benefit man awaiting intestinal transplant)

Get your campaign in the news! If you need help with press releases and media outreach, contact your HelpHOPELive Fundraising Coordinator today.

HelpHOPELive Clients In The News October 2015

October brought us falling leaves, pumpkin spice indulgence and autumn fundraising milestones! Here are three compelling client stories featured in the news this month.

Matt Collura: Annual 5K Provides Financial And Emotional Benefits

Matt Collura 5K Run/Walk

In March of 2011, the Collura family, of Monroe Township, N.J. was rocked by a shocking accident: a snowboarding injury left then-28-year-old Matt Collura reliant on a wheelchair for mobility as he coped with a life-threatening traumatic brain injury. From acquiring specialized accessibility equipment that would keep him safe in his home to pursuing intensive rehabilitative therapy, Matt was facing a long emotionally and financially draining road to recovery. His friends and family members turned to HelpHOPELive for support. With Matt’s passion for athletics and running, a friend suggested planning a 5K fundraiser in his honor to rally community members to help cover the uninsured expenses as a result of injury.

Matt Collura 5K Run/Walk 2015

The Matt Collura 5K Run/Walk celebrated its 5th anniversary on October 11, 2015. The event draws hundreds of supporters who enjoy the opportunity to give back to their friend and neighbor as he continues to pursue recovery with dedication. For Matt and his family, the event is far more than an opportunity to offset vital medical expenses; the run provides a powerful dose of emotional support that keeps him striving forward. “This is a chance for [us] to participate in a day that Matt refers to as the best day of the year,” his supporters wrote on his HelpHOPELive Campaign Page. Since the accident, funds raised from the Matt Collura 5K Run/Walk have helped Matt to pursue the rehabilitation he needs to speak, walk with minimal assistance and pursue a greater degree of independence by moving out of his parent’s house and into a group home. (5K supports Monroe man’s recovery from accident)

Patrice Penny-Henderson: ‘Angel’ Aids Music Teacher With Rare Disease

Patrice Penny-Henderson Elkhart kidney transplant

A rare blood cell disease severely reduced Patrice Penny-Henderson’s kidney function, forcing the elementary school music teacher to receive dialysis three times each week to stay healthy. Despite Medicare coverage, out-of-pocket costs of $20,000 or more made a kidney transplant seem out-of-reach for Patrice. That is, until a chance encounter blossomed into an unexpected lifeline.

In 2015, seven years after she was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure, Patrice reconnected with a former co-worker, Susan Law, who was stunned to hear about her medical ailments. Susan sprang into action, connecting Patrice with HelpHOPELive and helping her to plan community fundraisers to cover her medical bills. Susan and Patrice “chose HelpHOPELive over other popular sites like GoFundMe” in order to secure a tax-exempt donation option for her contributors and expert insights from a HelpHOPELive Fundraising Coordinator. Patrice calls Susan “an angel” for stepping in to support her efforts to secure a lifesaving transplant. (Longtime Elkhart music teacher…needs kidney transplant due to rare disease)

Michael Carns: Military Vet Puts Difficulties On Display To Fundraise For MS

Michael Carns veteran MS multiple sclerosis Marine National Guard

After dedicating himself to years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard, Michael Carns was attacked by an enemy of a different kind: multiple sclerosis (MS). The 46-year-old father of three began to rapidly losing his independence and his mobility, struggling to provide for his three children as daily tasks like cooking and using the bathroom became formidable obstacles.

That’s when Michael learned about a treatment trial in Chicago that offered hope for potentially halting the progression of his MS in its tracks. He would need to raise $150,000 to be eligible for the potentially life-changing course of treatment. Michael knew he had to do something to show his community why he needed their emotional and financial support. He reached out to a local news station and offered them a chance to film the impact of MS on his daily life.

In a video interview, Michael shows viewers what life with MS really looks and feels like, from painstakingly transporting himself to his son’s football games to coping with fears that he will not be there to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. For Michael and his children, fundraising with HelpHOPELive has come to represent a second chance – an opportunity for Michael to pursue advanced treatment that could give him back his independence. “Believe that there is hope, still, because there always will be,” affirmed his son Mikey. (Military veteran hoping for treatment to fight MS)

Get your campaign in the news! If you need help with press releases and media outreach, contact your HelpHOPELive Fundraising Coordinator today.


How A Marine and Father of Three Fights Multiple Sclerosis

Michael Carns is a Marine and National Guard member and a single father with three children. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013. He experienced rapid physical deterioration. Within two years, he has gone from independence to relying on a cane, a walker and finally a scooter to get around. Mike is fundraising for HSCT (hematopoietic stem cell transplantation), a course of treatment that is not covered by insurance. We spoke to Mike about the daily struggles, setbacks and victories that define his life with MS.

MS multiple sclerosis Michael Carns Mike Carns Marine National Guard

Mike is fundraising for treatment for multiple sclerosis.

How much did you know about MS before you were diagnosed?

I had never been personally affected by MS and neither had anyone in my family. Since my diagnosis, I’ve learned that parents of friends and some of my own friends growing up had or have MS. I share the information I find with them and they do the same for me. To defeat this disease, you need to fully understand it.

Where do you find MS information?

I typically find MS information online. I am a member of several different MS groups on social media, many that specifically relate to HSCT treatment for MS. I have been able to connect with doctors, researchers and others with MS through social media. We share a common enemy, so it makes sense for us to talk to each other about it.

Does MS disrupt your daily life?

My days are very limited. The first hurdle I face is memory: when I wake up, will I even remember what I need to get done that day? Most days, I get out of bed, watch TV, play games with my children, make meals for them and go back to bed. With MS, you learn how to manage your time carefully. I plan ONE thing to check off my list per day – anything else is a bonus. By the end of the day, even though I feel exhausted and worn out, I’ve exerted virtually no physical energy.

Has your diagnosis affected your family?

My youngest son wants to be a Navy SEAL. My daughter wants to work in the music industry, and she would love for me to walk her down the aisle. My eldest plays football and is going into high school this year. He wants to play for the NFL one day, of course, and join the Marines once he’s graduated from college. I used to coach him in football when he was younger, but today, I can’t get to his games without my scooter and I can’t stand the heat long enough to go and see him practice.

Michael Carns Mike Carns Mikey Carns

Mike with his girlfriend Kelly and son Mikey.

It’s disheartening. I want my kids to have the childhood that I got to have. I didn’t have to worry about Mom or Dad, but they have to spend their time thinking, ‘Is Dad okay? Do I need to do laundry or dishes for him?’ My kids understand that I have new limitations now. I want them to be able to be kids again. I feel like I’m taking time and life away from them as I’m battling this disease. I want to be there for my family again.

How has MS affected your financial situation?

The cost of potential treatment options emerged immediately as a barrier when I began researching. If the HSCT treatment is successful, the hope is that I won’t need more treatment in the future, so this is one big cost that needs to be overcome as quickly as possible. I spend a lot of my time each day trying to fundraise successfully so my father doesn’t have to give up his house to get me treatment. Even small bills can be difficult to keep up with as so other daily expenses add up. I’ve had to cut down my food bill and make other sacrifices to keep up with expenses.

Michael Carns marine uniform service veteran

Mike in uniform.

Will reaching your fundraising goal and pursuing treatment change your life?

I think a lot of stress will be taken off. We will all be able to live with what I can and can’t do definitively. I’d be able to return to work and be a part of society, making money instead of just receiving it to get by every month. I’ll be able to do simple things like answering phones and take care of household activities without pain or exhaustion.

Michael Carns Mike Carns Marine National Guard veteran

Mike served as a Marine and National Guard member.

It would be wonderful to experience my body healing itself. I want to be able to enjoy watching my kids grow up. Anyone who has or had MS knows that feeling – it’s awful to feel that loss of independence. I want to be able to be active and independent again. Even if I can stay where I am now, I can learn to live with it. I just hate feeling like things are getting worse.

Ideally I’d like to get back to coaching sports and go to school to choose a new career path. I’ve always wanted to be a chef, and there are so many other paths that attract me, including teaching. Right now, I can’t make plans for the future — there’s no roadmap with MS. As a society, our technology has come so far – we need to come up with a way to provide effective MS treatment to the people who need it. I don’t want to slow down or manage MS – I want to beat it.

What keeps you positive while you battle MS symptoms?

My perspective is that if it wasn’t me diagnosed, it would have been someone else. With everything I have gone through and done in my life, including fighting in three wars and living an active and adventurous life, I’m still here. Maybe I have this condition because someone else would not have been able to handle it or would have caused harm to themselves or their families because of it. That train of thought keeps me focused.

USMC United States Marine Corps Marines Michael Carns Mike Carns veteran MS multiple sclerosis

Mike served as a United States Marine.

Humor is important, too – you learn to laugh at yourself when you can’t button a button or you slide off the bed as you’re leaning on it for support. If you can’t laugh and continue to live your life, MS will get the best of you.

It’s amazing that it takes a diagnosis or a negative event like this to change your outlook. When you start to lose abilities and time, you look back and think, I took it all for granted. You become a lot more empathetic – now, when I see someone in a handicapped spot who doesn’t look disabled, I understand that their battle might be on the inside.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who was just diagnosed with MS?

Connect with other people who share this condition. Connect with me! Find reliable resources online. Start looking around, and if you have questions, ask them all. Make your own decisions about management and treatment based on the information you find. You are the best advocate you’ll ever have. Doctors, friends and family members can support you, but it’s important to take this process into your own hands. Reach out – don’t ever be afraid to ask for help or advice.

Visit https://helphopelive.org/campaign/6491 to follow his journey or donate to HelpHOPELive in his honor. HelpHOPELive does not endorse any specific treatment facilities or courses of treatment.