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Stem Cells for Emily

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Dear Readers,

Whether you're a new follower of Thriving Forward or a longtime reader, I'm sure you've already become endeared to Emily through her wisdom, wit, and tenacity. Additionally, you've also probably come to find out that Emily lives with an extremely severe case of Crohn's disease and that it has repeatedly threatened her life. She has a laundry list of its comorbidities to boot, many of which severely limit her quality of life. Crohn's took over her body as a direct result of the abuse and trauma she has so boldly spoken up about in these last few years. Over the last two decades, Em has received the best medical care and treatments the globe has to offer. From experimental treatments to drugs to naturopathy, she's tried it all. She is incredibly astute, reading medical papers and researching her condition and possible new treatments; she is an expert on her own body and its complexities. She has had countless surgeries and procedures and suffered more than anyone will ever know.

A couple of years ago, as a last-ditch effort before a permanent surgery to remove her colon, Emily began receiving a stem cell treatment that is not yet FDA approved. The results began to show almost immediately. Em's quality of life improved and her symptoms lessened, dramatically helping manage her ravaging illness. With a medical cost-sharing program covering the treatment, she began receiving stem cells every 3 months.

Just as she finally was able to experience the best health she's had in 20 years, about six weeks ago, the cost-sharing company yanked the rug out from under her and informed her they wouldn’t be able to cover future treatments. Traditional insurance (which Emily has as well) won't even consider covering these treatments, and other cost-sharing programs don’t cover pre-existing conditions for at least the first one-two years.

Emily's quarterly stem cell treatments cost five-thousand dollars apiece- a staggering sum. Emily and her husband, Josh, have to come up with an extra $20,000 per year to maintain her treatments and health for the forseeable future.

With Emily physically unable to work outside of her writing for Thriving Forward, Josh is carrying an immense load as he runs their family business and works 80+ hour weeks. While Josh is working, Emily is taking classes for her coaching certification and beginning to offer classes through Thriving Forward. Her hope is to coach in the future to cover the cost of her medical needs but right now, times are really tough and they can't seem to catch a break with a new crisis showing up on their doorstep seemingly every day. The economy is in bad shape and it is affecting their livelihood deeply. Coming up with an extra $5000 per quarter is impossible right now. Additionally, they just received a massive hospital bill for a recent ER visit.

All options exhausted, I offered to begin a Go-Fund-Me. Emily immediately declined, strong and gritty as ever. She called me back two days later in a flood of tears after another catastrophy hit, and with a little laugh said, "I'll take you up on that, now!"

So here I am, writing to you all- her dear friends, loyal readers, and brothers and sisters in the faith. Emily desperately needs this community to rally around and support her. Without stem cells, Emily's body rapidly declines and the effects are devastating; she witnessed that steep decline last month as her next treatment was long-overdue. As her closest friend, little terrifies me more than when I get a call in the middle of the night and I hear the words "emergency surgery", "last resort", and "not make it". There are no words for that kind of dead end panic- especially on Emily's part.

Friends, she's been there before and that's where she's headed again without these stem cells. And on her behalf, I'm begging for your help. Would you help raise enough money to fund Emily’s stem cells for the next year, giving her and Josh the breathing room to focus on their daily needs and the other aspects of her care?

I know that many like to give anonymously, but please consider leaving your name and a few words of love and encouragement for Emily with your donation. No matter if you are able to give $2 or $200, your generosity is beautiful and it is an extra blessing for her to be able to put names and faces to your love! So many of you readers are going through exceptionally difficult times yourselves; any amount you want to give will be accepted with the deepest gratitude.

Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you for caring for someone who has risked a whole lot to protect, be a voice for the oppressed, and care for people who need to see light and hope in the darkness that trauma leaves.

Ellie, for Emily and Josh


  • Janet Strozyk
    • $50 
    • 13 d
  • Kathleen King
    • $25 
    • 1 mo
  • Kyra Carter
    • $7 
    • 2 mos
  • Clarke Robertson
    • $10 
    • 4 mos
  • ruth valentine
    • $10 
    • 5 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Ellie Peterson
Apple Valley, MN
EmilyAnderson Anderson

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