Helpful Hearts for Cristen

Hello, my name is Jessica Schuler and my partner, Cristen McGonigle has had a very tough go in life.  At the age of 37 and after many years of fighting to be healthy, she is being evaluated for a life-saving heart transplant at Temple Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. She was previously listed for a heart transplant, but recovered enough for them to give her more time with her own heart and temporarily removed her from the list in 2014. Cristen was born with congenital ASD, VSD, and Mitral Valve Prolapse (two holes in her heart and a bad valve) and grew up living part time at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia due to frequent episodes apnea because her heart could not keep up with her body’s needs. At age 18, Cristen was told she needed open heart surgery to repair her damaged Mitral Valve. The surgery didn’t go well and she had a massive heart attack when they tried to remove the bypass machine. She once again survived. However, the damage to her heart has left her unable to work throughout her adult life. When we met 12 years ago, she was semi healthy or at least holding her own. But in the last 4 years things have deteriorated dramatically. She now has an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator in her chest to keep her alive from the periodic bouts of Ventricular Tachicardia. Recently, her heart has weakened more to the point that she is experiencing Congestive Heart Failure which has precipitated her doctors to discuss transplantation again.

Why do I explain all this and not just ask for your simple donation?? Because we have tried very hard to stay afloat with our bills and the oncoming storm of medical expenses. It is important to us that those who choose to donate recognize that we have made every effort to stay on top of our finances as this is a very difficult place to be in and ask for help. It is also important to us that people know we are authentic with our story.

As her partner in life, I have been with her now for almost 12 years. We own a home together and two furry children and a bird. I am an Interfaith Minister, Massage Therapist, and Energy Healer. My goal in life is not only my own spiritual growth and deepening my relationship with our Divine Creator, but teach what that means to all that I come in contact with through unconditional love. My schedule allows me freedom to take care of Cristen, but not to keep up with the onslaught of bills. My work maybe Divine, but that doesn’t equal financial wealth. Right now, we are in jeopardy of losing our home because I have been unable to pay enough towards our property taxes. I have faith that we will be supported, but one of my lessons is learning to ask for help. We have supported others in the past and offered a room in our small home to those in need, but never have needed to ask for ourselves.

So this is a heart-felt call to those who are moved by our story to support us, support Cristen. I would like to say that there is an end goal, but the initial amount I posted was only the beginning. We have been told by Cristen’s transplant team in the past that most patients will need to fundraise upwards of $100k, regardless of the insurance, to include all sorts of expenses including income lost from care of the patient. So we are starting now, before things become too extreme. We believe we are all children of God and are here for a reason. Cristen wants to truly live her life, but will need the help of her friends, family and community. We have love for you all and are thankful for those who are guided to help. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

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    • $20 
    • 57 mos
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    • $100 
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  • Leanne Hays 
    • $100 
    • 62 mos
  • T W 
    • $100 
    • 62 mos
  • Jennifer McGonigle  
    • $20 
    • 62 mos
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Organizer

Jessica Schuler 
Organizer
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