I want to begin by thanking you for taking the time to read this story and willingness to contribute to this very special campaign. Many of you will be introduced to the Bell Family for the first time without knowing their story or why we have created this financial campaign for them. I am grateful to introduce you to the Bell Family.
John and Colleen are without a doubt, the most loving couple, strong in their faith, and devoted to their family, friends, and community. They have been blessed with four incredibly loving children. Kylie, their oldest, a swimmer and water polo player at Beckman High School and servant to her family and God. John, second in command, member of the Socal Water Polo Club, gentle spirit and fearless fighter. Taylor, 12U Socal Water Polo Club player, spunky and full of energy, admirer of his older brother. Little Holland, youngest of the four, connected deeply to every sibling.
For the Love of the Game
I met John (dad) just like most of you did. He has volunteered to coach for Socal Water Polo Club because of his love for children and the sport. He first entered my life when we coached Splash Ball together. He then helped the club and community launch Water Polo Lite which helps transition older kids into our 12's and 14's who have limited experience in age group polo. He literally helped build Socal's youth program! The last few years he worked directly with the 10 & 12 under boys, providing those young minds with strong fundamentals and a balance between the desire to win and a beautiful thing called "life."
Why we are here
2 years ago, John and his family were enjoying the highs of a great season of water polo up in Palo Alto for Junior Olympics when his oldest boy, John, began to not feel well for the first time. He started having chest and abdominal pains in August. After all testing, he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in October. Doctor's tried 2 different drugs from November to January that didn't help at all. He continued to lose weight, miss school, and his stomach issues increased dropping his weight to 93lbs. He was then hospitalized at CHOC for 10 days and started him on his 3rd drug. They experienced their first remission until the following August. At the end of JO's, it came back and with a vengance. Doctors retested him and came up with a more specific diagnosis of Uclerated Pacreatic Coloitis. He began infusion drugs in September and those drugs were unable to help him because his body is not absorbing nutrients. This is a big part of the battle. He has tried many diets to see if they can help, but it's been a challenge to keep the weight on and keep the healthiest environment to reduce inflammation. Currently, the biolgics haven't been a match for John. He has tried them but his system isn't responding to them. This week, he will be trying the last biologic available to him where they will give it for 8 weeks to see if this drug works for him. If it doesn't, he will need surgery to remove the colon and intestines, trying to give his body rest. At that point they will try to rebuild those important parts to his system. Our hope is they can get the inflammation under control so that our John can get back to school, back to the pool, and back to being able to just be a kid.
At the same time, their beautiful daughter, Kylie, had a Grand Mal seizure. No one can be certain the cause, but she will be treated until she is 18 and will continue to be monitored. While the cause is unknown, if we can relieve any stress for this family, we know that will help with everything.
The only gift they really want is the healing of their son. They are in wonderful hands at Cedars in LA and in their trusting Lord. However, this beautiful family needs immediate relief so they can use all of their energy for their children. I feel that if we can free up the financial burden, that is the second best gift out there! John is the insurance carrier for the family and has 18 months of Cobra left. His insurance is a great program that allows for his son to see any specialist, but his monthly cost for this policy is 2k a month. In addition to that, they have a 12k deductible for the year. That means he pays a minimum of 36k out of pocket for the year. They also have a challenge with their prescription coverage because the policy is written to be flexible. They can be charged as few as $5 for a prescription or up to 30%. Unfortunately, they did just receive a 50k bill that they think should be covered under their medical policy, but it may fall under the prescription policy because it was an infusion. As you can see, these numbers can make any person feel overwhelmed at the thought of paying this. The most overwhelming feeling comes from the fact that their deductible restarts on January 1st. This is why we must all have a sense of urgency to help this family. John is about to embark upon a very costly and risky course in his journey. With one drug left and possible surgery, both of these options are currently staring this family in the face for the 2018 year. They have made this work so far but at a serious cost to the family.
We know that this journey will be a long one, a rough one, one that challenges your soul and rocks you to your core, . I don't worry about them because their love is fierce, but I don't want them to do this alone!
Please, consider supporting the Bell Family this holiday season. We are looking to give the Gift of Financial Relief this Christmas. We would greatly appreciate showing them how NOT alone they are.
Thank you again for learning about this special family. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Socal Water Polo & Swim Parent
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