My sister and I are setting up this page to try to help raise funds for the life saving liver and kidney Transplant surgery our mother needs. Mom, Carmella Rutella, but known to all as “Cookie”, was diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Streatohepatitis (NASH) and Acute Kidney Disease. As a result of these illnesses she has developed Stage 4 Cirrhosis of the Liver and Stage 4 Kidney Disease and requires both a liver and kidney transplant.
Mom and the family have been working with the amazing Transplant Team at Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC where she has been on transplant list for the past 4 years. Our doctors have told us that she most likely will not live long enough to receive a transplant here in NY. The Mt. Sinai team, always making her life a priority, encouraged us to pursue other regional transplant lists. On their recommendation, we applied and underwent two rounds of testing and have gratefully been accepted at Duke University Medical Center in Durham North Carolina. The best part (if there is any good parts to this) is that with her current MELD score she will be near the top of the list there!!!
Mom will need to temporarily relocate to North Carolina to await her surgery and stay for the initial recovery period. Since we do not know how long the wait will be for the organ donations, we don’t know how long she will need to stay there. Mom, thank God, has medical insurance which will thankfully cover the transplant; however there are many other aspects of care and her recovery that are not covered by the insurance such as: co-pays, medication, food, transportation, maintaining housing in NC and still paying her mortgage here in NY so she does not lose her home, and of course the cost of keeping her health insurance which is paying for the transplant itself! It was explained that in the initial period and first year after a transplant risk of rejection runs high and so does the expense of monitoring and guarding against this. That is why we are creating this page, to humbly, unabashedly / shamelessly ask for financial assistance to help cover these costs and I’m sure so many more we haven’t even realized or thought of.
Mom, “Cookie”, is known by all in town. If you refer to “Cookie” everyone knows who you are talking about. She is the person that has always been involved and giving of herself since we were children. Mom became one of the lunch ladies when we were in Elementary school, she was my sister’s Girl Scout Leader, assisted with my Cub Scout activities, volunteered for community functions and activities, taught CCD at our local Church for over 30 years, and sings in the Church Choir when she is healthy enough, and until she became too ill to continue, worked at the local library. As of this date she continues to work for the Salvation Army Northeast Territorial Headquarters and has done so for the past 28 years.
I know this may seem selfish, but given the opportunity to fight to keep your mother alive, I’d like to think all of us would do whatever it takes to have more time with the person who brought life to us and made our lives that much better by just being in it.
I would like to acknowledge now that this journey has not been an easy, nor a solitary one… It is with great gratitude and humility that I wish to thank all of those that have been here for this long and difficult time and continue to do so. I also wish to thank all of those that are joining us at this point and will continue this journey with us.
Thank you again and we will post updates as life and events unfold. Please give if you can and share this page with others.
Humbly and Respectfully,
A Grateful Son and Daughter
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