Dads Healthy Heart Fund

Hello all, again..

Today is Thursday, March 28th, 2019. 3 days before my father’s (Jonathan D. Meeks Sr.) birthday. He is soon to be 60 years old. If you are reading this now, it is because has just gone in for his awaited heart transplant. Just under 18 months ago he went under open heart surgery to have an LVAD implanted into his heart. That was what he required at the time to survive this long period until a heart became available. Yesterday morning he received the great news, that he had a heart waiting for him. A blessing, yet terrifying. Having had gone through already one very intense and life changing surgery, I simply cannot begin to imagine having to go through a second one. However, that was only the bridge to get him to where he is now. It was a long recovery. Over a month in the hospital and over a month having to be in close proximity to the Santa Clara Kaiser was a challenging run. Having made several visits to see my dad and my mother (who was his primary caregiver through the duration of all of this), I must say that they are the definition of power couple. All they wanted to do was to come home. When they finally did, it was hospital visit after hospital visit. The hospital visits became fewer and fewer but should a problem with his LVAD implant arise, they would be back in the hospital to adjust as needed to keep dad on his feet and maintaining good health.

It has been almost 18 months since his LVAD implant. 18 months of knowing that at anytime, he could receive a call with the news of an awaiting heart. No matter what he may be doing and anytime of the day, that he would have to drop everything and go in for the transplant.

It touches my own heart knowing how weary he was to agree with having to miss my wedding in last October, should he have gotten the call. I told him, the we are going to need him for the his grandchildren of the future, and that his heart is the priority now. Getting a new heart may be the difference of getting to see those future little ones, and not. Literally the best day of my life was my wedding, and him being there is one of the reasons why.

https://youtu.be/dNxYz1qabWI 

The link above is a video of the toast my dad gave at our wedding, taken by my cousin April. (You can type into a youtube search: John Meeks wedding toast).

I am reviving this campaign because I know how much it helped my parents the first time around.

Getting a compatible heart is an entire separate ordeal with very similar waiting and recovery obligations that the LVAD procedure would entail. 

This fundraiser is meant solely for housing, and transportation to and from "home and hospitals" in Santa Clara. My father's permanent address is about 53 miles away, through bay area traffic. This would mean he will have to temporarily relocate a second time while undergoing his second very life changing procedure within the course of hopefully not more than a 6 months.

If anyone has anything to offer, no matter how small, it would be greatly appreciated by my family and I, as well as my dad.

This is something my dad and our family has known would happen, but no matter how prepared you try to be for the call that a new heart awaits you. You just can’t believe that this is the moment you’ve put all this time and effort to get to. But, he has made it this far with uncountable support from immediate family, distance family, best friends, coworkers, and those that he has touched the lives of in some way. I speak not only for my father, but for my mother who's life that changed due to this. She jumped in with both feet to caring for her partner of over 30 years in his biggest time of need. There are some crazy specifics that I will omit, but she is the key component of why my father has survived to this point.

I appreciate you all for taking the time to at least read this. The prayers, positive vibes and comments are 100% appreciated. 

You’ve all been a huge support group in the last year and a half. Dad is not giving up, nor am I on him. We visited him in the hospital just last night, and he was in that hammer mentality.

I appreciate you all for taking the time to at least read this. The prayers, positive vibes and comments are 100% appreciated. 

You’ve all been a huge support group in the last year and a half. Dad is not giving up, nor am I on him. We visited him in the hospital just last night as he awaited his late morning surgery, and he was in full hammer mentality.

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#teamhammer       We love you dad.






















(I am leaving up this original story just incase nobody has read it.)

Hello all..
I am Jonathan D. Meeks Jr. (son of the beneficiary) and I am from Richmond Ca.

In 2002-2003, my father (Jonathan D. Meeks Sr.)discovered he had cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart) and high blood pressure.. With cardiomyopathy, one may suffer from: weight gain often in the midsection, swollen legs, constant tiredness, skipped heartbeats, and shortness of breath/ inability to breathe while laying flat or sleeping. Unfortunately he suffered from all of these symptoms. 

He was 43 at the time.

After being hospitalized for some weeks, he remained on temporary disability until being able to go back to work. He was fortunate to have been prescribed a lengthy list of medications to combat his condition, along with a strict diet, a mild exercise regime and of course a wife to enforce it all. 

For the last 14 years, my father has gone to the hospital for blood work, miscellaneous tests, and at least 4 emergency visits pertaining specifically to his heart condition. It is amazing that he has been able to hang in there as long as he has in this minimally invasive fashion. 

He has had some health scares in these 14 years, and the most recent one being 6 months ago. 

He had pneumonia in both lungs, along with some kidney and liver failures due to that. All putting further strain on his heart and its functions. It was recommended by his doctors that he have implanted into his chest: a defibrillator. A precautionary measure in the event that his heart had dire palpitations or suddenly stopped due to heart failures. This device becomes alerted in times of the heart stopping, zapping it to revive a patient. Similarly to movie scenes where a doctor zaps a patient back to life. 

For those of you who may know my dad (also know as Hammer), know that the lengths he would go to for his family, friends and loved ones. Fearless and intolerable to hostilities towards those he loves and cherishes and yet, a gentle giant. Beyond kind and beyond fair. And, a scaredy cat when it comes to himself and unforeseeable outcomes. 

I know that I cannot blame him, I would be also!

With the support and push of his doctors and family, he underwent the procedure to get a defibrillator implanted in him. He recovered from his pneumonia and eventually went home and resumed his day to day after a few months. All seemed okay, and his family remained reassured. 

Recently, he had been acting different: short of breath, sluggish appetite, and an endless tired streak. 

Some days ago I sat to dinner with both of my parents at home. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, just dinner on a Monday night prepared by mom. 

I sat on the love seat while they sat on the main couch watching Family Feud. Talking, joking, and laughing. Until out of nowhere dad completely went limp, and just flailed back lifeless against the couch cushions. I ran to his side thinking he may have been choking, but he didn't respond to my mother or me. My mom yelled for me to call 911, and I did. And threw her the phone. Only seconds after that, he sprang forward. Fully conscious, coherent and oblivious to the fact that he had just undergone a revival from his defibrillator. 

I will never forget that night. The most scared I had ever been in my entire life. The only thing that calmed my mother and I, was that (if anyone knows my dad, knows that he knows "everyone" or at least someone from "everywhere" [in Cali or not] ) after 3 paramedics and 2 fire fighters entered our house, the 3rd fire fighter saw my dad and called him by name as if they were buddies from high school. Immediate laughter and sarcasm filled the room. In my head I said "of course he knows him"! We breathed a sigh of relief when dad finally agreed to go to the hospital after ranting about feeling fine. My mom, sister and I cried together big that night. After being in the ER for a couple of hours the doctors said he was okay to go home for the night. Later that week my dad allowed himself to be taken by ambulance to Kaiser in Santa Clara where his heart doctors/specialists from 2002-2003 were stationed. Unfortunately the following Saturday, he experienced his second revival from his defibrillator, only this time his family was not nearby, but his doctors and nurses were. 

As I type this, it is now 8 days since his last revival. I can tell you, my dad has gone from a tube down his throat while unconscious, to walking through Kaiser Santa Clara hallways joking and talking about his kids and his favorite teams. He is now awaiting surgery to get an LVAD implanted into his chest to assist his heart functions. This is the step he will take that will allow him to survive until a compatible heart donor is available to him (bodily size, age and blood type). Thankfully, he has health coverage to undergo these procedures. 

However, in order to undergo these procedures, certain requirements (financial and otherwise) must be met. 

The big one is housing. After he has an LVAD implanted into him, he will spend up to 3-4 weeks in the hospital and housed for up to 2-3 months within 30 miles of the hospital, should emergencies arise due to his condition/surgery and treatment. 

Getting a compatible heart will be an entire separate ordeal with very similar waiting and recovery obligations that the LVAD procedure would entail. 

This fundraiser is meant solely for housing, and transportation to and from "home and hospitals" in Santa Clara. My father's permanent address is about 53 miles away, through bay area traffic. This would mean he and my mother Marian (who would act as his primary caregiver) will have to temporarily relocate at least twice while undergoing 2 very life changing procedures within the course of hopefully not more than a year and a half. 

If anyone has anything to offer, no matter how small, it would be greatly appreciated by my family and I, as well as my dad. 100% of the funds raised will go directly to my father and mother’s transportation expenses as well as temporary housing in Santa Clara, California during his recovery after his LVAD implantation, and after his heart transplant. The housing will more than likely be paid in full after each individual procedure is completed and transportation will be used as needed.

This is something our family has known would be likely to occur in my dad’s life at some point, but no matter how prepared you try to be, it never seems like you can be entirely ready for something like this.

I appreciate you all for taking the time to at least read this. The prayers, positive vibes and comments are 100% appreciated. 

Thank you all for hearing me.

My thoughts ands prayers go out to any and all those who may have experienced anything of this sort, on either side of the equation.. 

This is the last photo taken of my father while in adequate health. Here he is 58 while holding his Great Grandson. Here he is some 3 weeks later, before regaining some strength while awaiting his first of two very game changing life procedures.
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Organizer

Jonathan David Meeks Jr. 
Organizer
Richmond, CA
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