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I'm raising money for my friend Jenna's treatment that will cure her debilitating condition, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Jenna is as good a window into the injustice of the medical system as anyone I know—she’s spent years in pain for lack of $2,600, the cost of two rounds of antibiotics that would cure her condition.
Jenna is Sick
On its own, SIBO causes lethargy, confusion, and pain. But Jenna also has a suite of other inflammatory conditions. Doctors, for instance, have told her to live as if she has lupus, although the disorder may ultimately be something more obscure. Immune conditions exacerbate one another in myriad ways; Jenna’s SIBO provokes numerous painful and medically serious inflammatory responses, resulting in kidney issues, nausea, disorientation, debilitating chronic pain, and lots of emergency room visits.
2 rounds of Rifaximin can cure SIBO
Two rounds of Rifaximin can cure Jenna. It’s an expensive treatment that people notoriously have a difficult time getting their insurance to pay for. Jenna is insured through Kaiser and they pay 35% of the treatment bringing each round to $1300 ($1300 x 2 treatments = $2600). Jenna has worked through endless bouts of negotiation with insurance providers and even tried living in her car for a stint to negate rent. Last year Jenna was insured through the Oregon Health Plan and they would not cover it. She also applied for a grant that helps low income people pay for it, but she was denied. Most people get denied. It's awful.
For years Jenna has been treating the symptoms of SIBO with a rigorous carbohydrate specific diet. This route has a 75% - 84% success rate but only in cases where malabsorption and leaky gut is not present. In severe cases like Jenna’s the only hope at relief is two rounds of Rifaximin, a non absorbent, semi synthetic antibiotic that stays in your gut killing the bacteria that causes SIBO. This treatment has a 91% rate of success.
Jenna is a full time Activist
One of the primary reasons these antibiotics are hard for Jenna to afford is that she uses so much of her functional energy to protect life on this planet and diminish suffering. She is an example of a passionate, hyper intelligent, hard working, studied activist who has forgone the enrichments more standard career developments afford. She’s low income. She drives for Lyft and works seasonally in an Amazon warehouse while she works more than full-time advancing the campaigns that are holding the “thin green line”.
In the summer of 2016 when an oil train derailed and burned outside of Mosier, Oregon near a kindergarten, Jenna dropped everything to help solidify the community response. She traveled to Standing Rock and organized in high-intensity conflict situations while also silently suffering a panoply of symptoms. When she returned home, to meet the demands of the influx of new faces to the climate movement post Standing Rock, Jenna developed free training materials to help bring new activists into the fold. I’ve never seen her cite simple exhaustion or lack of funds as a reason to stop working. In fact, I’ve seen her lend money to her fellow activists to help advance a project or keep them fed, knowing she’d have to find another way to save for her medicine.
We in the PNW are standing between the largest fossil fuel deposits in interior North America - Powder River Basin coal, Bakken shale oil, Alberta tar sands, and remote natural gas fields - and the international energy markets who if successful will unleash the carbon equivalent of roughly five Keystone XL Pipelines. The Climate Movement is working to prevent the pipelines and new terminals needed to export this energy and we’re making gains. Last week two Grandmas were found NOT GUILTY of charges brought against them for locking down to construction equipment at Tacoma’s unpermitted Liquid Natural Gas plant.
Resistance like the type that Jenna has bottomlined for years is one of the reasons why less than eight out of 70 proposed fossil fuel expansion projects have been allowed to proceed in the Pacific Northwest. It is truly due to the remarkable work of people like Jenna that we don’t have millions of barrels of oil flowing in pipelines under our sidewalks, or oil trains derailing near even more of our communities and fracking in our backyards. Furthermore, people like Jenna are the reason that oil and natural gas from Canada and the Arctic is staying in the ground, instead of leaking into our atmosphere to poison our children - because Jenna and others are willing to dedicate their lives to community resistance projects to shut down avenues of export and transport for those fossil fuels.
What are you doing this holiday?
Would that we were out drinking and loving together we'd drop thirty bucks enjoying the freedom of our livers. Give Jenna the cost of an appetizer, a few coffees, a cocktail this holiday season. Because she’s deserving, yes. Because humans should have access to life changing medical cures… sure. But also because Jenna is one of the key organizers who makes up the thin green line of resistance. A network of people we’ll look on with historical perspective and understand them as the heroes that kept throwing themselves against the machinations of the fossil fuel industry with eyes wide open. And we gotta take care of these people because it’s the right thing to do - and also for ourselves and our mutual futures.
My name is Nicky Bradford, I live in Seattle, WA and Jenna is a friend of mine. We ,met through climate organizing communities. She will use the money specifically to buy the two rounds of antibiotics outlined above. I am giving the credentials to "liberate" the GoFundMe funds directly to Jenna.
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