Therapy & Transportation for Danny

On October 17, the Gilroy family was changed forever. That morning, Danny, my sweet and devoted husband, father of our four children, and pastor of The Way Church in Pace, Florida (formally Wesley Memorial UMC), woke up as usual, but within five minutes felt a strange tightness in across his torso.  Thinking he was having a heart attack, we rushed to West Florida Hospital.  Within hours of arriving, Danny was paralyzed from the mid chest down.  Within a few more hours, he was paralyzed in his arms too.  He was rushed to the ICU to be monitored fearing the paralysis would soon impact his breathing.  Danny was initially diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder where you body attacks the periphery nerves causing paralysis.  Once stable, he was moved out of ICU and treatment quickly began; unfortunately, Danny developed a catastrophic bleed in his GI tract. He was rushed back to the ICU in critical condition, intubated, and placed in a drug induced coma, and given seven units of blood over the next 24 hours.  During the next week, and after many, MANY tests, four MRIs, multiple x-rays, two lumbar punctures, and time, the doctors determined that Danny was actually suffering from Transverse Myelitis, not Guillain-Barre.  Basically, Danny contracted some kind of virus that caused his body to attack his spinal cord causing it to swell.  The swelling was from his C3 to his T7 vertebrae.  He finally stabilized over the next week and was extubated almost exactly a week from his crash. He finally stabilized enough to move to rehab on Nov. 7 where he will stay until insurance runs out on Dec. 8. Then, Danny will come home hopefully having regained some use of his arms and hands and stability in his torso, but essentially a quadriplegic. 

Transverse Myelitis is an auto-immune condition that has no cure. It only has three treatments that address the inflammation in the spinal cord: IVIG (IV Immunoglobulins) infusions, heavy steroid infusions, and plasma exchange treatments.  During his 20 days in ICU, Danny had all three. Now we wait and rehab, and rehab, and rehab, and rehab.  All research shows that aggressive rehab, after all treatments, is the only way to determine if Danny will regain the use of his legs, arms, and hands.  If he does not, then rehab will teach us how to deal with this new possible normal and continue to work with Danny to regain whatever strength he can.

Here is where you can help:

Medical Expenses: Danny needs months and months and months of rehab. Danny’s insurance is good, but it only covers a fraction of the rehab Danny will need if he hopes to recover.  As a matter of fact, insurance will only cover his rehab through January. After that, we will have to pay out of pocket. There are also costly equipment and medical supplies that will be needed for his care not covered. Danny is now on disability and I have had to go on leave from work to care for him. With our income now cut by 2/3, the costs of Danny’s care will be catastrophic to our family.  

Transportation: We need a handicap accessible van to bring Danny home on Dec. 8 and then to transport him to and from the many future doctor appointments and rehab sessions.  A van will also allow our family to have some sense of normalcy allowing Danny the ability to continue to  participate in our children’s activities.  My heart breaks at the thought of him having to sit home and miss Maggie’s choir or drama productions, Aidan’s baseball and football games, and Rory’s 5K & 10K road races simply because we must rely on community transportation to get him around.  A van will allow him to go back to work preaching God’s word at The Way church in Pace where his is the senior pastor. A van will allow him to travel to visit our son, DJ, who lives in Atlanta, and other family members in Georgia and Alabama. With transportation, life will have some sense of normal for us all even though everything else around it is not.

Thank you so much for your consideration. Please know that any assistance you provide that is left unused will be donated to others in need suffering from transverse myelitis or other spinal injuries. We will pass the blessing. That includes the van if a time comes we no longer need it.  Thank you again and God bless!
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Elizabeth Gilroy 
Milton, FL
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