My sweet friend Erin could use some support. I met Erin during my first few months on Maui and we connected instantly. She has the kindest heart of anyone I know. She has also long had a goal of owning her own bakery and, in 2014, had everything that she needed to start her business…but something kept stopping her from pursuing her dream.
Erin has been a Type 1 Diabetic for 23 years. She has to take insulin shots and check her blood sugars multiple times a day. Complications from diabetes include: kidney failure, blindness, gastroparesis (a stomach/digestive problem that makes it hard to eat (a complication that Erin has…she has nausea and vomiting 2-3 days a week), Autonomic and peripheral Neuropathy (a nerve problem she has that causes low blood pressure to the point of passing out), excruciating pain mostly in her feet, temperature control problem making her constantly freezing, and the potential for heart disease and stroke.
Erin also has end stage renal disease–meaning her kidneys don’t work at all. Dialysis, which she began in May of 2016, is the only thing that keeps her alive. While dialysis cleanses her blood of toxins, it also is the only way to remove fluid from her body. Excess fluid causes pericarditis, fluid in the lungs which makes it hard to breathe, and can stretch out her heart muscle that can cause heart attack, leading to death.
In 2016, Erin got extremely sick and simultaneously lost all of her belongings–her apartment along with everything in it, her KitchenAid mixer, and her beloved dog. She found herself with no possessions, a feeling of being completely alone, and failing health…her kidneys had failed, she lost the ability to walk, lost most of her muscle mass, and couldn’t even eat for a month. She had severe pancreatitis and was in stage 5 kidney failure, and underwent a couple of surgeries to get ready for dialysis. Finally, after three months of three different horrific hospital stays, and three different ICUs, she started her dialysis journey…..4 days a week for 4 hours at a time. It takes up a lot of her time, exhausts her, and causes her to feel sick.
Erin is in need of a kidney and pancreas transplant. Because diabetes causes so many complications, a kidney transplant alone would only last Erin five years. Unfortunately, Queens Transplant Center in Hawaii does not do kidney and pancreas transplants, meaning she will need to go to the mainland. Her medical insurance won’t cover all the costs out-of-state, and due to a demanding schedule of dialysis, physical therapy, and other appointments she is not able to work as much as she would like. A new pancreas will mean that Erin won’t be diabetic anymore! Erin has a consultation for her transplant in San Francisco in December, and after she receives the transplant she will need to stay in S.F. for 3 more months in case of complications, and then will need to go to S.F. for follow-up appointments every two months for a year after that.
All donations received go directly toward costs that Erin will face: housing, air travel, food, and medical bills including the actual transplant. Erin's insurance only covers 80% of the actual transplant. Erin will then need to stay in the San Francisco area for 3 months after the transplant and will be unable to work during that time.
If you don’t know Erin, she would give you the shirt off her back, even though she would be extra cold; just one of the many side effects of diabetes. Let’s rally around her and help make this transplant possible so she can finally live the life a 34-year old deserves to live!
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- Myles and Joyce Kawakami
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