Medical Fund Past and Future

My name is Felice, Gary's wife. I'm writing on his behalf, because he's too proud to ask for help. He's always been the type of person who would be the first to help someone in need, but never asked anyone if he needed something. We've  been together for ten wonderful years, and my only regret is seeing him struggle with this incredible chronic pain, and not being able to help it stop! In 1999, he was in a horrific automobile accident where he was flown to Penn State Hershey where he spent 6 1/2 hours in the trauma unit. Thankfully I wasn't around for that, but during the past 10 years I've waited for him to come out of recovery for at least 12 of his surgeries. The scariest one was 10/13, when his back surgeon came out after 2hrs., when the procedure was supposed to take 9hrs. I almost fainted, he told me they had to abort the procedure because his iliac vein tore, and  Dr. DiMarco was repairing it, but it was touch and go. He said it was to dangerous to proceed with the back surgery. He had to go back a month later to complete the surgery.  Gary has had a total of 29 surgeries, not all related to the MVA or his current condition, SPS (Stiff Person Syndrome) a rare (1 in a million) neurological/auto immune condition; however, several of his back conditions, which required surgery may have been a result of his current condition. In 2009, Gary went back to school to become a Physical Therapist Assistant. He wanted to give back, because of all those in the medical profession that helped him. He graduated was employed right after passing the boards and started helping people, which he truly loved. Unfortunately, during his two years working he ended up having three more surgeries including two back fusions. After the last back surgery, the one I described earlier, when he almost died, things went down hill. He was forced to go on disability. He was also a youth football coach for six years, and after last year he decided to give up one of his life's passions because the pain was too much, and the kids could see it. After seeing numerous neurologists in the area, it was suggested that he visit the Mayo Clinic. He spent seventeen days, seeing a number of specialists and received countless tests. They narrowed it down to SPS, but unfortunately, the last specialist needed to confirm the diagnoses, wasn't available for several months. Going back out wasn't an option seeing that we were out of money. Serveral friends and church members were generous with donations or he wouldn't have been able to stay as long as he did. Fortunately, Gary found a wonderful doctor at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Scott Newsome who specializes in SPS. He ran a number of tests, examined him clinically, and diagnosed him with SPS last May. Gary is on six different medications, and once a month he has IV infusions of IVIG, five days a week for 6 1/2 hrs. Dr. Newsome is trying to get the insurance  to approve a second IV drug. Gary currently uses Loftstrand crutches to walk and to keep from him from falling.  Through the generous donations so far, Gary was able to secure a mobilitby device, which he is very grateful for. I've updated the amount to include outstanding medical bills, and expected future out of pocket costs. He just received a pre-authorization denial for the 2nd infusion drug, rituxin.  His Dr. has had some success with this drug for SPS, but because the disease is so rare there are not enough studies being done. His Dr. is appealing the decision. 

Thank you in advance for your generosity,
Felice C. Zimmerman
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Gary Michael Zimmerman 
Harrisburg, PA
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