It was back in 1994 (age 14) when I was first diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). I got it from my dad.
HCM is the leading cause of sudden death among young people. Most times, when you hear about a kid dropping dead on the basketball court or football field, it's because they had HCM and didn't know about it. So, all sports had to stop. All gym classes had to stop. As an athletic kid, this was heartbreaking and I soon fell into a depression that hasn't left me to this day.
Hi, my name's Coz or "Carl" if you want to be formal about it. I'm 40 years old now. I'll be 41 in January of 2021. I'm an artist, singer, songwriter, actor, photographer, web developer, and lover of animals. Two years ago, I was told the news I had been waiting for most of my life. I was in need of a heart transplant.
Without getting too much in the weeds, here, HCM essentially stiffens the cells in the heart. After enough time, the cells become so tightly brought together, the heart can no longer pump appropriately. And there's only so much medication and surgery can do. I've been through it all -- and now, the only solution is a new heart.
The Penn Medicine Transplant Team and I are now closely and quickly working together to get me on the Transplant list. I've taken a number of tests and had tons of bloodwork done but there's still work that needs to be done before they can even consider me as a recipient. Once they do, and I'm put on the list and then it's just a matter of time. As soon as they find a matching donor for me, they call me to come in right away; not unlike when a woman's water breaks and they need to be ready and packed and head to the hospital immediately. This has proven to be very hard for me to wrap my head around. I thought I had another 10 years. But the 10 years has actually boiled down to now.
But here's where my story gets complicated:
I don't have a wife or someone close to rely on for money. I don't have any rich family members or friends. I don't have much to my name and I virtually have no where to go but to stay in the condo which I own, but still owe on.
I have spent 4 out of the last 5 months in the hospital this year (2020) and lost my contracting job because of it. I can no longer work. I haven't had income since May (I'm writing this in November 2020). I've finally been out of the hospital long enough to apply for SSDI (Disability) and Medicaid but that can take upwards of a year or more to get approved.
I don't want to take up more of your time. The bottom line is, I'm seeking assistance from people to help get me through the time between now and when I can start pulling in government-issued assistance.
As mentioned at the top of this story, I did have a campaign set up before which had to be shut down because of GoFundMe's operations changing -- and the fact that I could no longer revise my story so it more accurately reflects what I'm going through now. Frustrating, to say the least, at a time like this. So I had to create a new campaign.
Please consider giving to -- or at least sharing -- my fundraising campaign. I have medical bills and expensive co-pays on top of my regular mortgage, food, cat supplies, and other basic necessities to pay for in the near future and the funds from my last campaign are quickly draining. I. Need. Your. Help.
Thank you very much.
If you're unable to donate through GoFundMe, you can use PayPal (http://www.paypal.me/cozbaldwin) or Venmo: @cozbaldwin.
Now, please enjoy this rendition of me singing and playing Jolene by Dolly Parton. It's the last thing I was able to record before having a cardiac ablation in May of 2020 which ended up taking away most of my voice due to a prolonged and perhaps injury-inducing intubation. But that's another story...
- Tradley Sasser
- Maria Uribe
- DaiQuan Harper
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more