While coaching an area baseball team this winter and early spring, I was introduced to Chris Wheeler, father of one of the sons on the U13 Hanks Yanks. He volunteered as an assistant coach, rarely missing a practice or workout. There was something about his presense and his son Nick's personality and politness. No one has ever called me "Sir" before but Nick did. I grew fond of this father/son team and then learned about their daughter and sister Chelsea.
Chelsea has experiened health related issues since birth. Over the past 12 years, Chelsea has went through 30+ surgeries and spent more time at various hospitals then any child should have to.
Chelsea has been diagnosed with Pseudo Obstruction, it has caused her to go into irreversible intestinal failure. In result she is in need of a life saving small intestine transplant.
Since October 2012, Chelsea has been TPN dependent (Total Parenteral Nutrition) meaning she has not been able to eat anything for almost 3 years and relies on IV feedings to receive the proper nutrients to live. This is not a long-term option since TPN is very harsh on other organs in the body.
Currently Chelsea is listed on the National Organ Transplant waiting list. There are hurdles infront of the Wheeler family and we pray once they are cleared, Chelsea will be moved to a status 1. Once they receive the call, Chelsea and the Wheeler family need to act quickly and fly to Children's Hospital of Pittsburg.
Surgery is a lengthy procedure and Chelsea will need to stay in the hospital for another 1-2 months, following a stay in the Pittsburg area for an additional 6-8 months for post-transplant care. Chelsea will require life long medications and follow up care. The total estimated cost of the procedure and post care is $500,000.
That is an eye popping figure. When I learned about Chelsea's story, I could not stop thinking about the Wheeler family. How could Chris and his wife Linda work a 40+ hour work week, attend every game and practice, put food on the table, pay the mortgage, be great parents to 5 wonderful kids and sleep at night knowing the medical expenses could be devastating? I thought about my own friends, some with 2 children, some with newborns. What if this happened to them? What if something like this happened to my sister and brother in-law who are expecting a baby boy in August? No amount of money should come in the way of saving your child's life.
This is why I will be running the Faxon Law Fairfield Half Marathon on June 28th, 2015 here in Fairfield, CT. I have never ran 13.1 miles before but it's not about me, I'll finish just like Chelsea will successfully complete her transplant and live a life without pain and suffering.
I am asking everyone to please donate to help Chelsea and the Wheeler family with any medical expenses they will incur. Please share this with your friends and family. Any donation amount will help especially if we got 381 individuals to donate $13.10 each, but the more the better.
Thank you, I look forward to making a difference for the Wheeler family.