His name is Hassan Allen. Many of his friends know him for his great zest for life and larger than life personality. Despite his gregarious nature and upbeat personality, Hassan has been quietly facing the crisis of his life – end-stage renal failure due to his long and personal battle with diabetes. This battle has now cost him both of his legs and has stalled his blossoming legal career. Now more than ever, Hassan needs the love and support of friends. This may be his story, but each and every one of us now has the opportunity to write the next chapter. Please help me ensure that Hassan’s story becomes our story, of how we all helped save the life of our friend and brother.
Like many of you, I was not aware that Hassan had been diagnosed with diabetes in his late teens. His active lifestyle as a football player had masked his symptoms for years. That all changed in 1998 when Hassan began to experience chronic fatigue, muscle pain, and deteriorating vision. In the pre-Obama Care era, obtaining adequate insurance was almost impossible due to a pre-existing condition. Like so many others facing this life threatening condition, Hassan was forced to rely on the support of friends and family for basic necessities. He was often forced to pay out-of-pocket for sporadic physician’s visits, tests, surgeries and treatments.
Despite these challenges, Hassan became a father and received his law degree from one of the top law schools in the country, the Univesity of Wisconsin. In 2002 he accepted a position at the prestigious law firm of Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Hassan honed his skills as a bright, up and coming lawyer. Unfortunately, his career was derailed as his health took a turn for the worse. He moved back to California to be close to family after he began to suffer from diabetic retinopathy, a condition that required two retinal surgeries. The pain in his legs also affected his ability to walk long distances. Things finally came to a head when Hassan collapsed at home. This event triggered frequent and lengthy hospitalizations, which added to his financial burdens. The reality had set in: Hassan’s kidneys had failed. He was placed on dialysis treatment three times per week, a procedure that lasts almost five hours for each treatment. Hassan could no longer beat this on his own as the diabetes began to take its toll on other parts of his body. He soon suffered a compound fracture in his left leg, which left him wheelchair-bound and placed in a cast for five months. He then received the devastating news that an infection had formed in his bone. You see, to be eligible for a transplant, you have to wait 5-years and be infection free. Always the fighter, Hassan fought through eight surgeries over several years, but unfortunately, it was not successful. In order to save his life, Hassan was forced to suffer his first below the knee amputation of his left leg. Sadly, Hassan’s right leg would also have to be amputated six months later due to an infection caused by an ulcer that had formed from the ankle weights he wore during physical therapy.
What Hassan Needs Now
Hassan cannot wait anymore. Because the transplant waitlist is longest in California (as long as 10 years), he relocated to Virginia where he has been placed on the “Top 20 Patient Readiness List” to receive a new kidney. Notwithstanding the silent suffering Hassan has endured since 2011, his spirits remain high.
As of this writing, Hassan is largely dependent on others for assistance for things like cooking, cleaning, and transportation. Medicare will not fully cover the over $200,000.00 transplant procedure, and he is not eligible for other benefits like transportation assistance to get him to his daily appointments—an absolute necessity that costs $240 per month. Full-time employment has become impossible, while the expenses of daily living continue to mount. These burdens are made even more difficult due to his being separated from his family support system back in California.
Hassan came to Virginia to save his life so he can be there for his daughter, who as a senior in high school made some tough sacrifices to assist with her father's care. Now her father wants to live so that he can help her fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor so she can use her talents to one day to help people like her father.
It is for this reason Hassan’s friends are reaching out in hopes that you will find it in your heart to contribute what you can to help him complete this next chapter in his life. His daughter and family need him, but right now Hassan needs all of his friends to rally around him. He needs all of us to help complete his story. With the love and support of friends, family and strangers who care, I know we can make a difference. I am calling on all of my friends and extended network to help me support my dear friend, and know that in doing so, you are saving a life that has touched us all. God bless.
Aniya, Darius & Juan
- Sarah Walkenhorst Barber
- Susan Beverly
Organizer and beneficiary
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