Hello, my name is Mitch Hunter, and I am the recipient of the world's third full face transplant that was funded by the Department of Defense. The surgery/transplant happened back in April 2011 and was an amazing gift and a second chance at a more normal life. I can't thank my donor and his family enough and words wouldn't even be able to express the gratitude I feel, only the tears of happiness that have been cried over the whole situation.
I'm writing this while being so embarassed for having to ask for help, but it's the only option I have left. To make a long story short, I had a laspe of insurance after my medicare and medicaid was cut off because the federal goverment ruled me no longer disabled, while still missing part of my left leg. They based my disability status based off my income.
Back between March and April, I was hospitalized three times. The first time I was being screened for cancer, the second time I was back in getting screened for cancer again because the growth in my mouth grew substantially. Both times I had biopsies done and a lot of blood work. Thank god it came back non-malignant. The immunosuppression meds I take do put me at a very high risk of developing various forms of cancer i.g. skin cancer and lymphoma which are the most common.
The third time was because I went into rejection of the face transplant. That was a four day stay while getting IV methylprednisolone to reverse the rejection, which it did, thank god for that. There are 4 stages of rejection with the fourth stage not being able to be reversed, which would mean I would lose the transplant. I was in stage three, but like I said, it was reversed before it got too serious.
All three visits were very expensive. The two stays while being screened for cancer was a little over $7,000. The stay for organ rejection was $27,340. And the total costs falls on me. Even though The Department of Defense covered the multimillion dollar cost to make the surgery/transplant possible, they feel that it's not their responsibility to cover any of the aftercare unlesss I'm at the hospital they gave the grant to. But if something happens in my home state of Indiana that involves the face, I am fincially responsible for the cost of the aftercare. You would think after spending so much money on this still experimental surgery, they would cover my aftercare for the transplant regardless of what hospital I use or what state I am in. I don't expect them to cover my regualr medical bills like if I get sick or break my good leg, I just think they should cover the aftercare costs of the face transplant itself. I know some of you may wonder why I don't just move to Boston, which I have thought about, but my kids, family, and friends - basicallly my support group live here Indiana. That would be hard for me to move away from, these are the people who are there for me when I'm depressed, lonely, sometimes (not recently) suicidal. I have PTSD so I do go through peaks and valleys. They are the bricks to my solid foundation and I would be lost without them.
It's taking me to drop a lot of pride to even make this gofundme but I feel it's for a good cause and many people have said I should make one because of the circumstances.
I also owe ssdi $16,397 since they ruled me no longer disabled.
Any and all help will be greatly appreciated and after doing the math, if each of my friends and followers from my personal profile and verified page donated just $5, I would meet my goal, but there is a big difference between reality and expectation so I'm hoping some of the strangers who are new to my story can help tremendously and through their generosity. I'll post links to all my pages as well as some of the media coverage through it all to verify that I am who I say I am.
Any help will be greatly appreciated!
Bills - http://imgur.com/a/Dzbxf
Again, thank you for any help recieved, whether it's a cash donation or a share of this Gofundme.
- Kayla Reyna
- Ivette Santiago
- Laura Earnest
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