Tag Archives: medication

My Life As A Father And Grandfather Who Needs A Transplant

Kappy Pease is a father and grandfather living with a severe lung disease. He is on the waiting list for a lifesaving double lung transplant. We asked Kappy about his perspective on balancing fatherhood and the challenges of life on the transplant waiting list.


Why Fundraising Works For Us


Since my first visit to the hospital where a social worker suggested we begin a fundraiser to help us with the costs of transplantation, my family has come together and has been very helpful in their efforts to work with HelpHOPELive. So far, because of their dedication, we have been very successful.

Each of my kids has taken time out of their busy life to take some of the burden off of my wife, Theresa, and I, both physically and emotionally. They have each stepped up in their own way and have been very supportive. I know I could not do this without all of them.

Kappy Pease HelpHOPELive

“I could not do this without all of them.”

Although my insurance will cover most of the transplant procedure, there are many hidden and unexpected costs not covered. The expenses begin long before the procedure takes place and they last a lifetime, including travel, lodging, parking and food during countless hospital visits and the unpaid time off that my wife will take in order to care for me after the procedure. Most of all, fundraising will help contribute to the cost of the (antirejection) medications I will need to take for the rest of my life after the transplant.

I have found that much of the support I receive comes from old friends who have learned about my time of need through social media and our HelpHOPELive campaign. Working with HelpHOPELive has been a very positive experience. Their knowledge and support has been very helpful to someone who had no prior experience with fundraising.

Kappy Pease HelpHOPELive

HelpHOPELive provided custom fundraising materials and more.


How My Family Supports Me


It has been very rewarding to watch my kids grow and begin to start their own families. I am very proud to say that they have each become very successful in their own way. I’m humbled by the compliments I have received about my kids. The way they have stepped up for me during this time makes me feel like my wife and I raised an amazing family.

Kappy Pease HelpHOPELive

Family members “have stepped up for me during this time.”

At this point in my life, I feel closer to my kids than ever before. Before my diagnosis, I worked very long hours that caused me to miss out on a lot of my five kids’ daily lives and activities. I especially missed getting to watch their sports games, because sports are something that are very special to both me and my kids.

I feel that the physical limitations of my disease have been more challenging as a grandfather than as a father. My kids are adults now, and they need me more as an advisor and a part of their emotional support system.

Kappy Pease HelpHOPELive

A transplant will help Kappy spend more quality time with his grandkids.

Since my diagnosis, I have been given the chance to spend more time with all of them and grow closer to them; however, because of my disease, there are also many things we still cannot do together. The hardest part is my limited ability to play with my very young grandchildren. Once I get the transplant, I will hopefully be able to do many things that I have missed doing for the last 10 years. That includes golfing, hunting, fishing, playing with my grandkids and taking long walks with my wife.

My advice for a new father is, enjoy every moment because they grow up way too fast.

Kappy Pease HelpHOPELive

“Enjoy every moment” Kappy advises new fathers.


Learn more about Kappy or donate in his honor at helphopelive.org. If you know a father who needs help fundraising for a transplant, reach out to us today to learn how you can help.

How You Can Step Up To Support A Family Facing A Medial Crisis

Donating to HelpHOPELive isn’t the only way to support a family facing the financial and emotional burdens associated with a transplant. Just ask Danielle Bailey, who has helped three HelpHOPELive clients plan bingo and poker fundraisers using her event planning experience. Learn why Danielle pours her time, energy and expertise into helping these families, and you’ll be inspired to do the same!

Danielle Bailey HelpHOPELive

Danielle, left, supports multiple HelpHOPELive families


How did you get involved in fundraising?


My first event was to help fundraise for a little girl with a double cochlear implant who was having trouble securing state funds to attend a school for children with hearing loss. I helped to plan a bingo event, since everyone has fun playing bingo and it’s a great way to raise money and have fun. We were able to raise $400 for her.

Since then, I have been involved with events raising funds for several causes, including autism awareness, cancer awareness, canine companions, and kids’ medical needs. As an AVON representative, in addition to helping plan fundraisers, I typically reserve a table at each fundraising event to show support and advertise my services and I donate raffle prizes.

Danielle Bailey HelpHOPELive

Danielle has engaged in fundraising for several nonprofit causes


How are you connected to the HelpHOPELive families you help?


[Former HelpHOPELive client] Mary Jo Lovely is my mother. She made the decision to donate my stepfather (Stephen Boyes)’ organs in 1998 when he suddenly passed away. She was diagnosed with COPD and was put on 24/7 oxygen at 42. She was put on the transplant waiting list and she received her first single lung transplant in July 2007. A year and a half later, swine flu hit our family and the disease immediately put my mother’s body into a state of rejection. She received her second lung transplant in June 2015.

Danielle Bailey HelpHOPELive

Danielle’s mother “received her second lung transplant in June 2015”

I met [HelpHOPELive client] Karlene Novotny in 1998 when she did my taxes. We clicked right away. She opened her own business which I followed for a few years before she became sick. I saw her name in a news article shared on Facebook and we got back in contact. I was shocked to learn how sick she was and how much she had gone through since we lost contact.

I first met Natalie Meyers in person on March 12, 2016 while I was hosting the bingo fundraiser in honor of Karlene. She had just started fundraising with HelpHOPELive a few days before the event. A co-worker shared her story with me and I reached out to her, contacted the local fire company and started the planning process to help her with a fundraising event. I invited her to the bingo fundraiser in honor of Karlene so that she could see how events were managed to better prepare herself for the event in her honor later this year.

Danielle Bailey HelpHOPELive

Flyer designed by HelpHOPELive for the upcoming event


What’s the hardest part about planning a fundraiser?


I give myself a good six months to plan everything to limit hurdles along the way. I send donation requests to local businesses, find vendors to set up at the event, make sure there is advertising via social media and flyers in local groceries stories where permitted, and so much more. The hardest part is waiting for the event to happen!

Danielle Bailey HelpHOPELive

This year, Danielle is expanding her wheelhouse to include poker events


What is the most satisfying part of planning a fundraiser?


There is so much that is fulfilling about fundraising. Being able to help someone in need gives you such an amazing feeling. The most satisfying part is seeing a room full of 200 people pulling together to help a single person. Seeing local businesses helping the community also makes you proud to be a part of it.

Danielle Bailey HelpHOPELive

Danielle loves ” seeing a room full of…people pulling together to help”

Knowing I helped make it all happen for a great cause gives me such a sense of accomplishment! I love helping where I am needed. The actual amount raised may not be like winning the lottery, but for these families, it’s close because of the tremendous impact. Every little bit counts.


Do you help because you expect these families to pay you back in the future?


No way. I do not expect anything from anyone that I help. I just do it to get the feeling of being able to help, and that is enough for me.


Can fundraising be both emotionally and financially significant?


After my mom had her first transplant, I realized how much everything related to the transplant was going to cost. When your family is stressing out about how they are going to pay for the transplant and the medications that will keep them alive, it can honestly tear them apart. That stress can affect the entire family and fundraising can make a difference.

I have referred people to HelpHOPELive for years. I love that the funds raised go directly to the individual’s medical needs and not into some CEO’s pocket!


What does the word HOPE mean to you?


HOPE is life! Every day we take advantage of the things we’re given. We were all dealt a certain hand in life; it is who we are and what will make us stronger. Help those who are less fortune, because someday you may be the one who needs help.

Danielle Bailey HelpHOPELive

“Someday you may be the one who needs help,” said Danielle


Like Danielle, you can make a difference for a family facing a medical crisis. Start a fundraising campaign with our nonprofit today at helphopelive.org. Learn how to help an existing HelpHOPELive family by calling 800.642.8399.

Life On The Heart Transplant Waiting List

Patrick McEntee was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 1996. By 2008, he had experienced two strokes and a non-obstructive heart attack. He received an LVAD in 2014 and began fundraising with HelpHOPELive six months after being listed for transplant. In honor of Heart Month, here are Patrick’s observations after a year and a half on the transplant waiting list.

pat1

Pat received an LVAD in 2014


The Physical Impact


I was evaluated for transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in August 2014 and again in September 2014. I was admitted to the hospital immediately upon completion of that second evaluation and was officially listed for transplant that month. My LVAD was put in two days later. It was strange because I had walked – struggling to do so, but still walking on my own – to appointments all over the Clinic’s campus that Friday, and doctors thought I would be listed as a low-priority Level 2 on the waiting list. By Monday, they wouldn’t allow me to get out of bed. I didn’t feel any different, but I went with what they told me. Things escalated very quickly.

The LVAD knocked me for a loop. I didn’t quite know what I was in for. I was sedated for three days after the procedure and I spent a few more days in the ICU. I was in the hospital for a month total. I knew I was going for transplant evaluations, but I really had no idea that I would be there for a month. I thought I’d be returning home the same day. I got the LVAD and it was clear I wasn’t going to be able to continue working and living. I had to apply for disability and prepare for transplant.


Financial Challenges


When you go for a heart transplant evaluation, you don’t just see a transplant coordinator. You also see a cardiologist, a bone doctor, a dentist, a dermatologist and more–and there are expenses associated with each. It’s $30 every time I walk up to a doctor’s desk, plus parking and travel: it’s a 3.5-hour drive to Cleveland and 3.5 hours back home every time I have an appointment. I’m there at least once a month, and I’ve been admitted to the hospital twice during regular appointments since the LVAD was put in to help prepare my body for transplant.

Pat makes a 3.5-hour drive to his transplant center.

Pat faces a 3.5-hour drive to his transplant center


The Role of Fundraising


I’m honestly overwhelmed at the support I’ve been receiving. I’ve had family members, friends, and even friends-of-friends and anonymous donors make significant donations. Most of my fundraising has happened through online sharing and word-of-mouth. The most unnerving thing financially is not really knowing what medications I’ll be on and how much they will cost. Thanks to fundraising, even if I’m looking at $1,000 per month out-of-pocket with prescriptions, I have enough built up that I would be able to cover it for quite a while.


Finding Gratitude


The realization that there are certain things I can’t do is a challenge. Seventy- and 80-year-olds say that, but here I am at 41 saying that myself. But overall, I’m very thankful for the situation that I’m in. I’d love to be completely healthy, obviously, but it is what it is. I’m happy to be able to come and go and do what I want and still have a decent level of independence at this stage.

My wife has been tremendous. She has helped me take it day by day and roll with the changes. She has to be careful now about scheduling her travel for work in case I get ‘the call’ or need her help. It’s a toll that she’s happy to deal with, but it does get in the way of her being able to do what she wants or needs to do at times. For me it’s about staying positive, because I’m surrounded by my wife, my family, my friends and even strangers who are willing to jump in and help out. If you’re a positive person, I think people around you will often respond in that way.

I am grateful for the prayers from thousands of people from all over the country – many people, including strangers, have told me they pray for me daily. It’s truly humbling. My faith has taught me to be grateful for the extra time I have been given in this life, no matter how much more I get. I could easily be dead by now, but I am alive, which I take to mean that God has more for me to learn and accomplish in this life.


Unexpected Benefits


My sister has had similar heart-related issues within the past year. One of the benefits of not being able to work was being able to look out for her and take her to appointments. Beyond that, I’ve started to volunteer with some of the medical centers, talking to patients who are considering an LVAD or have just received one. I explain my experience to them. I’ve really appreciated being able to do that. I see it as almost a ministry, talking to these patients to give them my take on it.


Getting (Too) Comfortable


It’s one thing to say, okay, I’m used to this and this is the new normal. But I have to keep reminding myself that I could get the call at any time. There was a time after the LVAD that I didn’t feel like I was ready to get the call. Today, I still try to imagine what I’ll be doing when I get the call and how I’ll react. Am I going to be able to drop everything and go? If I got the call right now, I’d have to grab a bag and be out the door and tell my wife to meet me up there. It’s a fine line: I want to continue with life and not end up sitting there doing nothing, just waiting.

pat3

Pat describes the “fine line” between preparing for transplant and continuing to live life


The Role Of Humor


Some might see my wife and my sense of humor as a bit morbid, but I find that laughing about our situation is helpful. For Christmas, my wife gave me an anatomically-correct plush heart and said, “Until the real thing comes along.” She also gave me a pair of socks with gold hearts and “heart of gold” stitched on them. Friends on Facebook helped me create a cardioversion playlist with songs like “Electric Avenue,” “Kickstart My Heart,” and “We Got The Beat.” A sense of humor is mandatory in dealing with the unknown of the process of waiting for a transplant.

"Until the real thing comes along..."

“Until the real thing comes along…”


What To Do While You’re Waiting


The important thing is to keep living your life and doing as much as you can. While I’m not working, I wake up and ask, what is my purpose today? Some days my purpose is to sit on the couch and watch TV. But other days I’ll say, today I’m going to do some writing. Today I’m going to read a book. Today I’m going to the grocery store. Whatever it is that you’re able to do, do it.

Get involved in whatever ways you can in life. For example, through volunteering. I found that very rewarding and helpful. Be willing to give of yourself. A lot of people would agree with me that when you give, you receive. It’s nice to tell your story and hear the stories of others.

Lastly, I would add, stay active. It’s not unusual to gain weight with the LVAD, so exercising as much as possible is incredibly important. I know it’s difficult when you are in heart failure but it’s a way to ensure you can be as strong as possible when the call comes.


Follow Patrick’s story or make a donation in his honor on his HelpHOPELive Campaign Page. Have your own transplant story to tell? Reach out to us on Facebook.

Mending A Broken Heart: Love And Transplantation

Rick Brittell was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2011. In April 2014, Rick and his wife, Susie, moved from their home in Boise, Idaho to a trailer in Salt Lake City, Utah for 2 ½ months so that Rick could receive a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) as a bridge to a heart transplant—his only option for a healthy life. Rick and Susie returned home to Boise but left their home once again in April 2015 to move into a Salt Lake City apartment. Rick received his transplant in September 2015. Rick and Susie will finally be able to return home in March 2016 after a full year spent away from home. They have been fundraising with HelpHOPELive since January 2015.

Rick and Susie Brittell HelpHOPELive

Rick and Susie Brittell.


Why did you make the decision to wait before getting Rick listed for a transplant?


Rick: I could have been listed for transplant right after I received the LVAD but I chose to wait until April 2015 when my Medicare took effect. Had I proceeded right away with being listed, the procedure would have been covered but not the post-transplant medications, leaving me to cover $7,000 to $14,000 out-of-pocket each month. Once Medicare took effect, the surgery and the medications were both covered and the post-transplant monthly medication costs dropped to $400 to $600 per month.

Once listed, multiple factors influence how long a candidate waits for a transplant, including the candidate’s health and the number of organs available in a particular region. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, “you may receive an organ that day, or you may wait many years.”

LVAD heart transplant

Rick lived with an LVAD until his transplant.


How did you feel when you found out you would have to relocate?


Rick: It was a shocker. When we skyped with our 3-year-old grandson, he would ask, ‘Why did you leave me?’ I couldn’t even talk to him because it tore me up. We were suddenly cut off from our family and friends and we had to make a whole new life for ourselves.

Transplant candidates must be able to leave home and come to a specific medical facility as soon as they receive word from their medical team that an organ is available. That’s why some candidates are asked to relocate close to that medical facility while they wait for “the call.”


How has the waiting process affected you emotionally?


Rick: I couldn’t drive for 2 years after I got the LVAD. I became completely dependent on my wife to take me everywhere for everything from a medical appointment to a simple trip to the store. After 40 years of employment, I had to stop working cold turkey. I had to deal with feelings of guilt and worthlessness associated with that. My freedoms were being taken away.

Susie: It was a sobering experience to discover who our true friends were and how our family would support us. We had to learn to do it on our own and figure out how to make it work with little support.

Rick: It’s stressful, but we have chosen not to hold onto animosity. But now when I tell someone, ‘I’ll be there for you,’ I take it very seriously.

The average wait time to receive a heart transplant is six months to one year. A transplant candidate can be removed from the waiting list if his or her health significantly improves or deteriorates.

 

Pie Night HelpHOPELive fundraiser

Support groups helped Rick and Susie find solace and community.


What advice would you give to another family waiting for a transplant?


Rick: Talk to someone who has gone through it. Learn about the procedure, the medications you’ll be taking and the side effects, and prepare for them. Don’t think that life will be perfect after the transplant. My body was torn up for weeks as I adjusted to the medication, and I pushed people away from me and felt mentally foggy. When you get that call, you will go from sky-high feeling lucky to get a heart to rock-bottom feeling guilty, sad or angry that someone had to pass away for you to get the transplant. You will swing back and forth, but you WILL level out again.

Rick Brittell heart transplant

Rick after his lifesaving transplant.

Susie: Do not think that you can shoulder the burden alone. As a caregiver, be patient and know that the person you love might get belligerent, angry or moody, but that is not the same person you love. The person you love will be back after a while. Find someone to unload onto so you don’t take out your frustrations on your loved one.

72 percent of American adults experience financial stress at least some of the time, and 26 percent experience financial stress most or all of the time. Start fundraising for a transplant as soon as possible to reduce the amount of financial stress you’ll have to deal with as you prepare for transplant.


What is life like after transplant?


Susie: I’m just so glad the waiting part is over. We are different people from when we first left for Salt Lake City. It has made us less self-absorbed and has opened our eyes to how narrow-minded you can become.

Rick: Hot dog, I’ve got a new lease on life now. I can look forward to seeing my family and my grandkids again. Before the LVAD, I could walk about 50 feet per day on oxygen before I was exhausted. Now I can walk 2 to 3 miles. I have realized that I can do this, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The journey is not over but there’s a lot more hope than there used to be.


Rick and Susie continue to fundraise with HelpHOPELive for post-transplant expenses including relocation, medical appointment co-pays and a lifetime of immunosuppressants.

 

An Injectable Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Drug?

Researchers are working on a medication that can be injected immediately after an accident to limit or prevent spinal cord injury damage.

spinal cord injury drug sci prevention medication drug injection new zealand research science

What You Need To Know:

  • The project was started in 2011
  • The medication could stop inflammation and limit spinal injury by up to 50 percent
  • The injection could be carried by EMTs as well as specialized responders
  • Clinical trials are difficult to carry out because of the traumatic nature of the injuries

Key Quotes:

“Previously we were delivering [the medication] to the cord…now we know that we can deliver it into the bloodstream and still see the same effects.”

“It would be no different than delivering any other kind of drug [via injection].”

–Dr. Simon O’Carroll, researcher at the University of Auckland

 Read the article at Radio New Zealand