Hi! Many of you know I have a brother named Jack, aka "Happy Jack". He's been called this since he was a child, and it remains true. He continues to find the bright side of things despite incredible difficulties. He has climbed mountains of change. He lives Murphy's Law daily, and as they say "if it wasn't for bad luck, he'd have no luck at all". Appropriately, he loves country music.
Jack is 46 years old and has crazy, off-the-charts osteoporosis. There is no known cause for his condition, and it is disabling. Six years ago, Jack was 6ft, 200lbs. He trimmed trees for a living. He is now 5'2" and 135 on a good day. This physical change has occurred over the past 5 years, and he is now faced with quitting his job to save his life - literally!
Jack is a truck driver, delivering everything from toilet paper to cheese across the United States. He wanted to be a truck driver since he was a kid and "Smokey and the Bandit" came out along with the song "Convoy" in the mid-70's. He achieved that dream about 5 years ago and became an over-the-road truck driver. He typically spends 4-8 weeks on the road, comes into town for a few nights and heads back out. It's a rough life, but he likes it. Plus, the scenery changes every day!
He is now at a point however that he has to give up this job he loves to focus on his health. All of his vertebrae have been fractured, resulting in him losing 10 inches in his torso, and it is squishing his organs. It is difficult to eat and breathe adequately. He lives in a constant state of pain, pretty bad on most days. He has to use canes and crutches to walk. His doctor has wanted him to sign up for Disability and get off the road for the past two years. Most recently, his doctor is concerned because JP's stomach and internal organs are compromised. He's ordered JP to force himself to eat so that he doesn't succumb to malnutrition. His longevity is unknown. JP has wanted to keep working to make money to pay off past debts. After a car accident on New Years Eve, he has finally determined he cannot continue working after all.
He loves his job, and his frequent saying is "I'm like a puppy dog, I just want to go!". He can't keep going right now. He needs consistent exercise, rest and nutrition. His body cannot get stronger if he continues to drive for long hauls with minimal rest to meet delivery deadlines. He feels compelled to work so hard to keep current on his payments for past bills, but getting back in the truck will kill him. He is currently on medical leave from his job, has no income and is applying for assistance through social security disability and medicaid.
JP has medical bills that have resulted from this condition - severe osteoporosis. He needs an annual IV Reclast transfusion to strengthen his bones. It is due again in March 2013 and costs $5000. He's still paying off his 50% from last year when he had insurance from his employer. He was in the hospital with severe anemia last Spring and even with insurance he has a $5000 bill he's struggling to pay off. His doctor wants him to quit work as quickly as possible and go on Disability. He can't quit without insurance or some kind of support, and he has to pay his bills to keep receiving care. I only hope Medicaid will pay for medical needs going forward.
To enable him to get out of the truck, pay off his bills and survive until Social Security Disability and Medicaid kick in, I anticipate we need to raise about $25,000. He is paying child support of $850/mo to the mother of his two great kids. He has medical bills from before he was a truck driver and before he had health insurance (he was a tree trimmer and fell out a few times over the years without insurance - ER's and broken bones are expensive!) Altogether, these medical bills total about $13,000. He takes pain medication daily that costs $50/mo or more. The amount I've requested is the amount I think it will take to pay off his existing medical bills, keep him current on utilities, pay for cell phone (necessary for communication), gasoline and medical expenses until benefits (SSD, medicaid) kick in.
It's a lonely life on the road. Truckers deliver every single thing you purchase at your local grocery or Wal-Mart. I'd prefer to see Jack on the road so he can 'keep on truckin', but his body says otherwise.
They say "it takes a village". Can you help Jack while he goes from the road to the next chapter in his life?
All funds raised will go directly to pay off medical bills and current living expenses for Jack. Any remaining funds will be put into a supplemental trust designated to pay for medical and necessary living expenses not covered by medicaid and his disability.
Jack currently lives in a small community in Steedman, Missouri. This is his first home in many years after life on the road and living in trucks. A minimalist, Jack's home is very small and compact. It is also paid for, thankfully. With his increasing physical disabilities, he would benefit from some improvements to make the place more handicapped accessible. He has learned to crochet in the past year and makes lovely custom afghans and scarves. He'll make one for you! It makes him happy.....Happy Jack!