Jason vs. The Kidney II

Hello. Welcome. Come in, grab a seat. Make yourself at home. Ummm, not that at home. Put your pants back on! (Weirdo.)

Anyway, hi! So glad you stopped by. Just wanted to quickly say thank you for taking the time to check out our friend Jason’s GoFundMe page. Some of you are fully up to date with his situation, others have a very vague idea of what’s going on, and the rest of you accidently clicked this link and are trying desperately to close the window but your computer keeps freezing so you’re kind of just reading this while waiting for IT. Well, for the latter group, may we take this opportunity to ask you to sit tight, give this a thorough once-over, and then if your laptop still isn’t responding, maybe try restarting it? I don’t know. Seems like a reasonable next step.

Ok, so now the story. There’s always a story, right? Well, Jason’s begins way back in 1976. December to be exact. December 8th to be exactly exact. That’s when Jason was born. And that’s when everything started. Soon after Jason’s birth, his parents were informed that only one of his kidneys was functioning. Which is normally NBD, since you really only need one kidney to live a normal, healthy life. However, Jason’s second kidney was sort of tapping out, too. It was semi-functioning at best, and like that weird Uncle Jimmy we all have, it would basically get lazier and lazier as time went on until eventually it would just give up and with, like, ZERO notice, take the next Greyhound to San Diego to live what he calls his “last few months as a resident of planet earth” in a hostel with one of his shroomed-out hippie buddies.

Ok, so that’s not exactly what’s happening with Jason’s second kidney. I mean, sort of, but not really. In all seriousness, Jason’s “working” kidney was legit starting to fail. In his twenties (which was, like, a month ago, right?), he was experiencing frequent headaches and high blood pressure. At this time, it was determined that his kidney was only functioning at 35%. He was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease called FSGS. And then, even more recently, Jason went to the doctor’s after he noticed his legs were severely swollen. Testing concluded that his kidneys were functioning at less than 10%. TEN PERCENT! Think about that. Most of us have a kidney that functions at 100%. And then ANOTHER one that can function at 100%. That’s, like, 200% worth of kidneys! TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! Like when you go to buy a package of Thomas’s English Muffins at the grocery store, and when you get to the register, the cashier is like, “Hey, do you want to grab another pack? They’re buy one, get one free.” And you were totally cool with just six English muffins BUT NOW YOU HAVE TWELVE!! Well, for Jason, he only gets that old expired pack in the bottom corner that the mice got to, with half a stale English muffin inside. (We’re still talking about kidneys here…stick with me.)

Anyway, so this was two years ago. Jason was immediately put on dialysis (for his kidney…not English muffin…kidney). He was also put on a waiting list for a kidney donor. And this is where, in the toughest of times for Jason and his family, they couldn’t have felt more #blessed. Jason, the best goddamn worker his company has, being unable to work and his WIFE (!!!!) Stephanie having to cut back her hours to help take care of Jason, they felt trapped financially. But you guys came to the rescue. Friends, family…and strangers Jason and Steph know only from the internet pitched in to help them out of this very shitty situation. They couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who has helped in one way or another.

And the biggest donation of all happened on April 14th! Jason’s very own aunt, Nancy, had herself tested and guess what—she was a damn near perfect match!! So on April 14th, she flew in from Ohio (and boy were her arms tired from high fiving!) to join Jason in surgery at Tampa General to make the switch.

Guys, Jason has a full pack of Thomas’s English Muffins! And he even gets to keep the shitty, stale half English muffin. It’ll kinda just dangle there miserably for the rest of Jason’s long, healthy life.

This is great. This is so, so great.

But (there’s always a but, right?) things are about to get tough for Jason and his family once again. As amazing as it is that they have been given this gift, the surgery also means more time where Jason cannot work AT ALL. His recovery will take 2–3 months. Which means they are down to only one income again. And we all know women make 30% less than men and make 100% more sandwiches.

A couple things you might be wondering:

1. Does insurance help cover anything?
Yes, the doctor’s visits and the surgery. It will also cover his med copays. However, as soon as his surgery takes place, the Kidney Foundation will stop paying Jason’s monthly Medicare copay of $700. So instantly, he will be out of work and have an additional $700 monthly bill to pay.

2. What about short-term disability?
Glad you asked. Jason will be getting that. $2000 a month. So far they're getting a run-around on that.

So with all of the above, we are here again asking for your help. It is not something Jason or Steph are proud to do—it does not come easy to them. But the fact is that they simply will not be able to manage without assistance. Anything you might be able to do would mean the world to them. And for anyone who knows these two, they are some of the kindest, coolest, most selfless people you will ever encounter. If any of us were ever in the corner that they’ve been in TWICE, we’d definitely want them on our side.

So come on, what do you say? Let’s help this asshole out one more time. More English muffins for everyone!
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Jason Barber 
St. Petersburg, FL
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