Thanks so much for visiting Sara’s page and reading a bit about why she’s going to The Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org)! After almost a year of mentioning the idea, Sara and her family have finally allowed me to offer some help by creating this page for her—their humility is a testament to their character and if any family deserves this support it’s them! I’m excited to share a glimpse of Sara’s journey with you below and get this fundraising powerhouse going—every little bit is an enormous help! ☺
My cousin began having severe flu like symptoms about 6 years ago in 2008 when she was a freshman in college. She had intense pain throughout her body, especially her stomach, severe joint pain, and would sleep for 20 hour periods at a time without attaining any sensation of rest. She also developed severe pain in her limbs, which has become debilitating. She began seeing doctors every week to figure out what was causing these symptoms, constantly taking blood tests, which were inconclusive for diagnostic purposes. Although she fought very hard to manage the schedule of a full-time student plus constant medical appointments, her symptoms of pain and exhaustion only worsened and she had to take a leave from school to come home in 2011. My heart broke for her when this happened because Sara has always been an extremely passionate and dedicated student with hopes of becoming a surgeon. Since then she’s been essentially bedridden other than to go to medical appointments. While many of her symptoms have yet to be diagnosed, some results have come back over the years: they discovered that Sara has a rare diagnosis of Narcolepsy with Cataplexy as well as Celiac’s Disease (though eating a gluten-free diet has not helped lessen her stomach pain due to the non-refractory type.) She’s had several lab results come back that her doctors feel point to something possibly rare. Due to the Celiac, her intestinal track isn’t able to absorb nutrients, which has left her bones nearly osteoporosis and her body is depleted of vital minerals. Her kidneys drop Potassium and electrolytes, which causes her to pass out and spend hours in the Emergency Rooms for IV infusions. The narcolepsy leaves her dealing with extreme exhaustion, sleep paralysis, hallucinations and cataplexy (a medical condition that causes you to collapse because your body thinks it’s in REM sleep and therefore paralyzes you as if you were asleep even though you are conscious). Of course, Sara still has several symptoms that are unexplained and she deals with severe debilitating pain and exhaustion every day, which is why her case was submitted and accepted to The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and we’re all so excited to know she will start her journey there on August 19th! Our hope is that the Mayo doctors can figure out what has been going on these last 6 years and get Sara on a treatment plan so she can manage her symptoms and get back to the life of a 24 year old—including her dream of returning to school!
As you can imagine, 6 years of doctors appointments, blood work, MRIs, CT scans, bone density scans, prescriptions and so on adds up to A LOT of very expensive medical bills, which drained the family Savings Account. Not only this, but the Mayo Clinic expenses will be adding up as well! My Aunt Judy has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and the fatigue from working full time in addition to caring full time for Sara has left her unable to work (plus she has to take Sara to all her appointments as Sara cannot risk driving with narcolepsy) leaving the financial burden to fall solely onto my Uncle Tim’s shoulders. Sara and my Aunt are two of the most incredible women I know, always finding the strength to remain so positive and warm despite the tolls on their health over the last 6+ years—they’re the kind of people you hear this about and think, “How is this fair, they don’t deserve this at all.” I’m so proud that they and my Uncle Tim have the courage to let me share this glimpse of their life with you all and I know how incredibly grateful they will be for any support offered! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and please keep Sara in your thoughts as she and my Aunt Judy go to the Mayo Clinic to try and figure out once and for all how Sara can get her life back!
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