Ali's hopeful medical miracle

My name is Alicia but I go by "Ali." I developed psoriasis at the age of 7 and likely the autoimmune arthritis that goes along with it at the same time. I was told for over 15 years by various doctors that it was only growing pains and I'd get over it. Therefore,  I went all that time not being treated. I am now 39 years old.

At the age of 31 I had my left knee replaced but the replacment does not work. It often hurts worse than the knee that's bone on bone. The artificial knee neither bends nor straightens so it is fused at an angle. I had my left hip replaced at the age of 35 and the right hip replaced at the age of 36.

I've done a lot of research on my own about stem cell transplants and their ability to regenerate cartilage. There has not been much, if any, research done on this being done in a knee as bad as mine. However, I found another woman around my age with a VERY similar story (including having to use crutches for several years, as well as, develping psoriatic arthritis in childhood).  She had the procedure done and within 6 months to a year she was nearly back to normal and able ambulate without any assistive devices.  The cost to have just the right knee done is just under $3,000.

I would also like to have stem cells injected into my right elbow which has definitive signs of arthritis. I originally was going to just go for hyaluronic acid injections in the elbow as unlike cortisone injections these help slow down the progression of the disease. Cortisone can be a temporary fix but often breaks down the tissue surrounding the joint, as well as, accelarates the degradation of the bone itself. Insurance DOES NOT cover EITHER procedure. Elbows are considered an off market use of hyaluronic acid and thus not covered. Further, while the stem cells procedure IS FDA approved and regulated, insurance considers it to be "cosmetic surgery" and does not cover it. The hyaluronic acid injections into my elbow alone would end up being close to $1,500 and for twice that I can go ahead and get the stem cells injected as well in attempts to regrow the cartilage itself. 

I would greatly appreciate any and all assistance in reaching my goal. If I don't raise enough for both the knee and the elbow I will use any raised above the $3,000 to cover cost of my iron infusions ($500 AFTER insurance) and/or the cost of my wisdom teeth removal that I'm still paying on from late March. If anyone donating would like a copy of the medical bills (sans personal identifying information other than my name) as proof to what the money went to I would gladly provide this.

In spite of my disability I do my best to give back to the community as much as I’m physically capable. I’ve been an active member of my local Lions Club for the past four years having served/serving in various functions including 1st Vice Chair Elect, Communications, Peace Poster Chair, and Leo Advisor for the district. I’ve been an active member of the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) for the past 12 years and have served in various functions both on the district and state level. Currently helping to rewrite the operations manual among other things. I also volunteer at a local church that I attend with such things as greeting people as they arrive, helping with the pennies for the poor, and creating art projects for VBS. There are days I can’t do as much as others but I do my best to do my part in each organization I’m a part of, even if it requires help from others on occasion to do it correctly.

In the future I’d love to be able to find a local part time job with no set hours but a set amount of work to do within a specified timeframe since I never know for sure how well I’ll be able to function on a day to day basis. I work well with reasonable deadlines that allow for down days or the need for the occasional nap.

Finally please only donate IF (and only if) you can truly afford to do so. I do not want anyone putting themselves in an uncomfortable position trying to help me. Thank you in advance to all those that have read my message and/or also donated.
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Alicia 'Ali' Baucom 
Monroe, NC
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