Bob Shantz (Big Dog) needs big help

A little bit about Bob and his family…
28384718_15213132230_r.jpegBob Shantz, who also answers to “Big Dog” (a nickname picked up from his business name as well as loyalty and unconditional love for his friends and family), is possibly a little rough looking on the outside -- but a huge teddy bear on the inside!  He is a 54 yr old US Navy veteran, fiercely proud of his service and his country.  He is kind, gentle, respectful, supportive, and loving…and an awesome dad! 

Our parents just celebrated their 30th anniversary (yes, they were high school sweethearts)! 
He’s the type of man that would literally give anyone the shirt off his back without a second thought, even if it meant he would go without.  He’s a man without pretense – what you see is what you get, and he always gives everything he’s got!

The brief history of the challenges Bob has already faced and the new one yet to come:

On 8-16-2016, he went in for radial nerve release surgery at the VA hospital on his right (dominant) arm due to a prior injury.  Prior to the surgery, although he had severe pain in his arm and elbow, he also had full use of his hand and wrist (relieving this pain was the goal of the surgery).  It was supposed to be a fairly simple surgery with a relatively short recovery time.  However, the surgery went very wrong and he suffered severe nerve damage that cost him 99% of the use of his hand.  What little functional movement he has now is only with the aid of a brace that reopens his fingers once contracted and he has almost no fine motor abilities.  Without his brace, his hand contracts in a fist and that constant muscle contraction, as well as the nerve damage itself, is highly painful. 

After 19 months of intensive daily therapy, he has been told that there will be no further progress with therapy alone and that in fact, his condition is beginning to deteriorate.  His only hope of regaining any limited use at all is tendon reassignment surgery and this surgery will require an additional 4-6 months of recovery with no option to work at all during that time.  There’s great hope for, but no guaranty on the degree of dexterity from this surgery, but it should at least provide some pain relief which will greatly improve his quality of life.  The new surgery is scheduled for April 2018 and cannot be postponed due to how quickly the muscles and tendons are now deteriorating.

As the owner of a small handyman company, the loss of use of his dominant hand has taken away everything he worked 18 years to build.  Prior to the surgery, he and his business had a great reputation in the community and he had enough work to keep him busy all the time.  But at this point, he’s lost almost all his clients not only due to his new limitations that greatly restrict the types of tasks he can accomplish, but also due to the amount of time spent in therapy and doctor’s appointments. 

He filed for disability, which was initially denied, and he is currently waiting on the appeal process to be completed (unfortunately, this can take quite a while and does not appear to be near a resolution at this time).  The company our mother worked for closed in August 2017, and she has had to take a job in another city to make ends meet in the meantime.  However, her salary will not cover all their bills during his recovery time.  To add insult to injury, during Hurricane Harvey - in typical “Big Dog” fashion, he braved the storm to go help his mother resolve a problem with her generator to ensure she had her oxygen concentrator.  Unfortunately, he was caught in a flash flood on the way back home.  Luckily, he escaped physically unharmed, but their only vehicle (also his work vehicle) and many tools spent 2 days completely submerged in flood waters and were a total loss.  He’s been running small jobs out of a borrowed vehicle since that time.

A note from our mom: 
“The most heart wrenching and devastating part for me has been to watch this completely self sufficient, highly talented, confident and capable 54 year old man slip further and further into serious depression, fight the feelings of anger and betrayal and loss, struggle to win a losing battle regarding trying to save his business, lose his self-esteem and self-worth, and fight constant anxiety while we struggle financially without any end in sight...all as a direct result of this “simple surgery” that went so terribly wrong.  He has hit rock bottom (more than a few times) but continues to fight through the pain and the loss daily…however, this consumes both of our lives now – both emotionally and financially.”

How can you help?

Our father is a proud man, and he does not like to ask for help.  So, we are asking on his behalf… Our parents have been very blessed to have found a way to “weather the storm”, so to speak, for the last 19 months, but this additional financial strain would simply be too much.  They have exhausted their resources and have nothing more to fall back on…..without assistance, the “effects” of the recovery time for this new surgery would be financially catastrophic.  We only have one month before the surgery. 

Please consider donating to this campaign and sharing it with your friends and family on Facebook, email, Twitter and text message.  Your donations can truly be the difference during his recovery by allowing him to focus on the path back to health, instead of the daily stresses of the financial struggle they’re facing.  (… as well as restore a little hope in their lives in the meantime!)  Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your consideration.


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Robert Shantz 
Montgomery, TX
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