Giles was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in his 20's, a disease for which there is no cure. It's ugly progression has left him with a severe stoop and the inability to turn his head left or right. Bone spurs along his neck and spine have effectively fused his vertebrae. This is complicated by the chronic pain which accompanies his AS. His physical status today is such that if he were to stand on a basketball court at the free throw line he couldn't lift his head high enough to see the rim, let alone stand up straight enough to shoot a basket. This makes most daily activities difficult to perform and painful to endure yet he doesn't complain and often will get annoyed if he thinks I'm trying to help him, lol ! The reality is that his condition will likely never improve and probably get worse in the future but this is only part of the story.
Poor choices in his past have also played a part in Giles getting to this point. Eventually a series of mistakes led to a brief incarceration last year which ultimately resulted in him being clean and drug-free for the last 14 months ! What happened during his time away though forseeable was devastating nonetheless . His home in Ft Worth, already in disrepair, was vandalized leaving thousands of dollars in additional repairs. Everything he owned of value was stolen, including his vehicles,clothes,furniture and appliances as well as copper wiring and plumbing. Though I would drive over to check on it periodically, one weekend was all it took for thieves to wipe him out. Of course there was no insurance and although neighbors provided a description of a truck and a plate # the police haven't been able to make any progress and it's doubtful we'll see any resolution in this matter. This brings us to the final hurdle for Giles, Social Security SSI Disability.
Being disabled is an emotionally difficult situation at best but the government requirements to recieve assistance are unbelievable. Years ago Giles applied for and recieved a disability exemption from the city to avoid a tax foreclosure on his home. What was not explained to him at the time was that if he applied for SSI but wasn't living in the home, he would be ineligible. The home was purchased on a lease to own basis over 5 yrs for $30,000. The city appraised it for tax purposes at $70,000. Roughly $14,000 in back taxes translates into $28,000 in penalties and interest. The damage done to the home makes it uninhabitable but in order to walk away and let the city foreclose, the court requires him to renounce his disability exemption. Doing this will be viewed by the SSA as evidence that he's not disabled ! The other option is to sell it but the SSA requires he sell it for 66% of the tax appraisal or face the possibility of being ineligible for up to 3 yrs ! Honestly the house wouldn't bring $20,000 in its current condition. We're currently trying to figure something out but the government isn't helping at all.
If you've read to this point, thanks for your interest and concern. I was hospitalized twice last year for pulmonary embolisms ( blood clots in my lungs ) . The initial CT scan on my second stay revealed lesions to my pelvis and leg and I was told I probably have cancer. It took 3 weeks for the biopsy to come back negative but it was worth the wait.The extended hospital stays and loss of work took its toll but thanks to my boss Bear a place for me in his office at Atlas Contractors was made till I could get back in the field. We've been best friends for over 40 yrs and he has been amazing through this time. The blood thinners I have to take from now on made for a gradual return but I'm almost there and everything looks promising. I've learned 1st hand how uplifting personal support can be through generous actions and unexpected kindness. Words alone can't express how grateful I am for having Bear in my life and I'd like to provide my brother with the same type of encouragment. Here's my plan......
I've been renting a room for Giles from a family friend for several months in Ft Worth. That and alittle money each week for food etc. is all I can afford at the moment. Hopefully I'll be getting him over here in Dallas with me in a month or so and I'll be able to see him on a daily basis instead of weekends. My finances should improve now that I'm getting back in the field selling roofs and consulting. This may take time but eventually I'll be able to provide him with more support and options. In the meantime however I'd like to raise enough money to send Giles to Florida for a few weeks to see London. He's missed her last 2 birthdays and I don't want their reunion to take any longer than it has too. His inability to work and lack of transportation only adds to his depression. It also makes it harder for me to convince him that we'll find a way. He spends most days withdrawn, in his room alone and the trip would not only give his spirit a boost, I know it would re-enforce his determination to get out there to his daughter on a permanent basis. If this becomes my lifes focus I gladly accept it and am confident I can, in time, get it done. Giles was resistant to this idea and isn't aware I'm doing this so I'll catch flak for some of the details but I didn't think just saying " Help me send my brother to Florida, he needs my help " adequately described what we're facing. If anyone has any suggestions for me or questions about how to contact Giles you can reach me at [phone redacted]. I'm just alittle overwhelmed and thought this would be the quickest way to get my message to everyone.Upon his return from visiting his daughter he's going to be faced with financial and health related difficulties for along time so all donations of any amount would be greatly appreciated ! If all this does is put some of his friends back in touch with him I'll have done some good but my hope is that we can establish a small fund to help him through all of this. Emotionally he battles on a day to day basis and sadly, it takes its toll on him. My brother has always been there for me and I want to be there for him any way I can.
Thanks for reading,
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