Matthew's Mommy & Grandma need help

This request for help is to assist the Blackman Family of Bradenton, Florida. The household consists of widowed matriarch Mary, her adult daughter Leana, and 9-year old grandson Matthew. Matthew was adopted at birth by single mother Leana. Matthew is disabled. In addition to numerous physical challenges, he is non-verbal and developmentally delayed due to a progressive, life-shortening neuromuscular disease that has no cure. Mary and Leana have worked together to care for Matthew’s health and well-being, taking him to regular (and ever-ongoing) doctor appointments, medical tests, and physical therapy sessions.

 The Blackman family has always been very loving and generous to people - helping friends, neighbors, and strangers as they are able. Because of unexpected and near-catastrophic medical circumstances, they now find themselves in the position of desperately needing assistance from others.

Five weeks ago, Mary was admitted to the hospital for routine open heart surgery. Her friends and family expected her to return home within 5 days of her successful procedure. However, there were a few complications when she was in the recovery room. Mary was very slow to wake up and remained in a mostly sleeping state. She remained intubated and on a ventilator for 2 weeks. As she became a little more awake, it was discovered that she was unable to move her limbs. The doctors performed a tracheotomy, in addition to a feeding tube port. Mary was again very slow in waking from the anesthesia, unable to move, or respond to questions. As she became more stable, Mary was transferred to a special hospital for complex, monitored medical care, where it is expected she will need for at least a month. After that, she will be placed in a different facility for extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation.

 Up until her unexpected medical complications, Mary had been grandson Matthew's caretaker—picking him up from school, bringing him to his various physical therapy sessions each week, and minding him until Leana came home from work each night. Mary also kept the house and did the cooking for their little family. It is hoped that Mary will be recovered enough to be home by the end of the year. However, it is not known what her condition/abilities will be then.

In the meantime, sole breadwinner Leana is unable to work her full-time job, in order to care for Matthew when he is not in school, as well as visiting Mary in the hospital and assisting in her care and recovery process. Leana’s employers are as understanding and accommodating as they can be, and allowing her to work part-time for now. However, with less than half her usual salary coming in, it is impossible for Leana to meet the family's regular bills and basic living expenses...and the medical bills are already arriving. It is an overwhelming burden on Leana, as she tries to balance the care of both her mother and son, while trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Will you please help the Blackman family? Donations of any amount would help and would certainly be so appreciated. We ask for your prayers for them, as well.

Thank you so much for your kind attention, consideration, and generosity. God bless you.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Traci Coulter Vafeas 
Bradenton, FL
Leana Blackman 
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