Kim Marie is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Darlene Velez.
Who knew a late summer evening chance encounter between two teens in 1994 would lead them here? Darlene and Ray fell in love hard and fast and their first baby came in 1997. A year and a half later, they were off to Florida in search of a better upbringing for their son, Rene. A year later, they were blessed with their second son, Xavier. Darlene and Ray both worked hard, while raising a family, and going to college. It wasn't easy for them, but they were content with how far they had come from their very humble beginnings in the Bronx. They wanted one more child to complete their family, but experienced many lost pregnancies and then infertility issues. So they decided to adopt a child from foster care. After a year of classes, background searches, and home inspections, Darlene and Ray were approved and began their search for their child. Buuuuut.... not a month after their approval from DVD, Darlene and Ray did the impossible and got pregnant. Obviously, this changed the situation and they put their adoption search on hold. Darlene had some complications during the pregnancy, but everything was looking good. Other than extreme exhaustion and a lot of asthma flare ups, she felt great. Giovanni was born on 1/26/12 A beautiful healthy baby boy. Their family was complete and life was good. The next day, the doctor comes in and said that they wanted to consult a cardiologist for Darlene because of a very rapid heart rate. Probably nothing, just have to be careful.After a few days, Darlene and Ray heard words they never expected to hear. She had something called Post Partum Cardiomyopathy (heart failure caused by pregnancy). That extreme exhaustion was Darlene's heart working ferociously to sustain the lives of her and Giovanni. Those asthma flare ups were a combination of fluid around the heart and low oxygen. While they were stunned, they were assured that after 9 months of taking a few medications she would be fine. She wasn't. Darlene had to have a Defribulator implanted in August of 2014 which has brought her back 11 times now. Let me repeat, she has had to have her heart shocked back to life 11 TIMES!Due to complications with the device, the same implant procedure had to be done 3 times. The Heart can only handle so many shocks...It is now a little over 5 years later and Darlene's only hope of survival is a heart transplant, and if her kidneys continue to be damaged by the heart failure, she may need one before long. She meets every criteria for the transplant, but she can't get one in the state of Florida because she uses medical marijuana to help control the symptoms of her illness and the side effects of her 14 medications. Without it Darlene's quality of life is very poor and leaves her unable to properly care for her energetic 5 yr old. It means she too sick to get out of bed and cant keep down her food or meds. Not medicating is not an option for her. However there is some hope!!! If they move to Arizona where state law protects her from being discriminated against. So this is the plan to keep their family alive!!! They are leaving everything behind to move to Arizona with no job, no home, and no friends or family for over a thousand miles. The psychological and emotional toll this is taking on their family is immense. The financial toll is impossible and time is running out.Please help in anyway you can to provide support to this amazing couple and their children.