My name is Katie and I am starting this fundraiser for someone very special to us who is fighting extremely hard for her life right now. Let me start by telling you a little about Jennifer and Michael, my loving father in law and “step” mother in law - also known as Grammy and Papa to not only our children but to Sam’s siblings, Brenda, Craig and Dom’s kids as well (their other grown kiddos). They also have a high schooler and 20-something year old at home (Daniel and Anthony) so needless to say they keep very busy. Jennifer is a very important part of our lives and since the day I met my wife, Jennifer has done everything she could to include me and my daughters in her family. She has yet to miss a single birthday, holiday or special event for my daughters even though they were new to the family - sending gifts and cards to remind them they are thought of and loved by her and Michael. Recently I was so heartbroken when she said her and my father in law couldn’t make it to our baby shower... Yet a few hours into the day a knock on the door revealed them standing there grinning ear to ear having flown from Boston to spend just one evening with us to celebrate their newest grand baby coming soon. I hope I painted the picture well but if I haven’t, the point is she is special. She loves without boundaries or limits. She has treated me and my kids like members of her own tribe since the day I entered this family and she deserves so much love in return.
So here’s why this fundraiser is even happening... Doing what Jennifer does best she booked a beautiful Alaskan cruise for Michael’s birthday. On the night of his birthday, as far from home as they could get in Alaska, she grabbed Michael’s hand at dinner and said, “something is wrong.” And began to seize. The seizure went from bad to worse and before they knew it she was being air lifted to an ICU in Seattle. It was discovered very quickly she had suffered from a major brain aneurism rupture resulting in a massive brain bleed. Things continued to decline as she required 2 procedures to relieve the pressure in her brain through holes being drilled in her skull. During her now THIRTEEN day stay in the icu she has had a lung collapse requiring a chest tube, required intubation 3 times, and 2 more brain procedures rushing her to surgery to stop the vasospasms (causing the blood supply to stop to areas of the brain which if left untreated would result in more strokes). Every day seems to yield a new hurdle for her overly tired body to jump through. And through every second of this - her devoted husband has yet to leave that icu room. He spends his days holding her hand, kissing her forehead and begging her to just say something, having not even left long enough to change the clothes he wore the night his life changed. All he had is what was in his pockets that night on the cruise, they couldn’t even take their luggage with them in the helicopter. Luckily my wife was able to get a care package to him where he excitedly threw away that reminder of the worst night of his life and put on new clothes, brushed his hair and felt like the handsome man he truly is.
We feel unbelievably blessed that the staff in this icu has adopted our dad as one of their own keeping his water pitcher filled and clean sheets every night for his pull out chair/bed. They encourage him and her to not lose hope and to keep fighting.
As of today Jennifer had made wonderful strides since her most recent procedure yesterday and was able to tell Michael she loved him. She is breathing on her own. She isn’t moving all extremities but the doctors are hopeful she will continue to improve but this type of bleed can take weeks if not months to improve. Her prognosis is unknown but we do know WHEN she pulls through this there will be weeks, months maybe years of work ahead to recover what she may have lost in function. We hope as she becomes more stable eventually we can get her back to Boston where all of their family and support live. As an icu nurse I know what this type of hospital stay can cost. I know it’s bad enough to fight for your life but to walk out to bills high enough to bankrupt you - it’s like your life is in jeopardy all over again.
We have been unbelievably fortunate that Alaskan Airlines were so kind and waived all change fees for their tickets and have credited their account for the tickets for when they are ready to come home - with no questions asked. Which by the way, Michael isn’t leaving his wife’s side until he gets to bring her with him.
So aside from hospital, rehab, transportation bills (and so on) I hope this fundraiser will help him with rising costs associated with being thousands of miles from home - having to at the bare minimum buy food to eat every day, pay for laundry to be done and just basically living. So if you are still reading this through, I appreciate you even taking the time to do that. We could use every prayer, positive hopes, vibes, thoughts - anything you can send in the universe for Jennifer’s healing, for her care team’s strength, determination and persistence and for Michael to stay positive, hopeful and sane through this wild ride that no one should have to be on.If you are able, donating money would be an incredible help for them. And if you can’t, simply sharing this will go a long way and get more people to see this.Thank you for all you are putting in the world, thank you for even considering helping, thank you for being a friend and taking the time to read this.
All our love,
Katie, Sam, Dom, Brenda, Craig, Anthony & Daniel
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