Help a Dear Friend and Her Family

Dena Heavyside is a 5th grade teacher in Pleasant Hill, California. She has a true passion for teaching and taking excellent care of her students, along with her beautiful family; her husband Eryk, and her young sons Colton and Dylan.

Tuesday, February 21, Dena arrived to work on what she believed to be another ordinary day. Having gone to bed the night before with a sore back, the pain turned debilitating and upon arriving at her school in the morning, immediately drove herself to the emergency room. By the time she was laying in the ER bed, she had lost complete use of her legs, and is now paralyzed from the waist down.  She has been seen by numerous specialists and endured endless tests and procedures.  The doctors have diagnosed her with Transverse Myelitis, a rare condition that causes extreme inflammation in her spinal column. Though doctors are hopeful her state is not permanent, much is still unknown; what triggered the inflammation, what the fate of her future movement will be, the continued length of her hospital stay and overall recovery time.

Dena remains in the hospital waiting for answers, and hoping that various treatments will start to bring her movement and strength back. With two young boys at home, Eryk is working hard to keep things running smoothly and also be with Dena during this scary and uncertain time. 

As one can imagine, financial costs continue to rise, as Dena and Eryk have both run out of sick leave and medical bills continue to pile high.

She is a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Her “ordinary day” has now changed the course of her life forever. Beyond the usual daily financial challenges families face, they will now need to balance a single income household (once Eryk is able to return to work) with insurmountable hospital bills, extra childcare costs, and  possibly long rehabilitation therapies.  One of the hardest things in life to do is ask for help when in need, and we feel this family is in true need.  Any funds that have been collected that go unused will be donated to The Transverse Myelitis Association to help further research on this mysterious disease.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness and generosity.

Donations (0)

  • John Kyllonen 
    • $25 
    • 26 mos
  • Rob & Katie Stagnitta 
    • $1,500 
    • 30 mos
  • Debbie Mitchell 
    • $25 
    • 30 mos
  • Michele Ternes 
    • $200 
    • 30 mos
  • Trevor Hetrick 
    • $25 
    • 30 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Janelle Downey 
Organizer
Benicia, CA
Eryk Ian Heavyside 
Beneficiary
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more