Scleroderma is a very rare autoimmune disease that strikes mostly women in the prime of their lives. It is a debilitating, and often deadly disease, that turns skin to stone and internal organs to leather. It strikes everything that is healthy...joints, skin, esophagus, intestinal tract, kidneys, heart, and lungs. The most deadly form is diffuse systemic scleroderma, which Erika has.
Erika was one of the best teachers I have ever taught with, but this debilitating disease forced her to end her teaching career. Her physical and internal features have changed since her diagnosis. She has damage to her esophagus, intestinal tract, lungs, joints, skin, hands, knees, but despite all of that, she remains one of the most positive individuals I have ever known. Erika’s faith keeps her strong and she believes everything is going to be okay.
Erika’s disease has started to progress even more and all treatment options have been exhausted. However, there is now a successful stem cell transplant (HSCT) being done at Northwestern Medical in Chicago, Illinois. The stem cell transplants have been proven to stop the progression of the disease, loosen the skin, and reverse damage done to the joints and some internal organs. This process utilizes Erika’s own stem cells which is a grueling process that is not without risks. Chemotherapy is used to kill off the immune system completely before Erika’s harvested stem cells are given back to her. This procedure is done in two phases for approximately 30 days divided into two travel times. Phase I begins this December 2017.
Although insurance covers the procedure, there is still a copay, two flights back and forth from Albuquerque to Chicago for Erika and her husband (a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s officer); hotel, food, and other traveling expenses. In all, there is about $15,000 that will be needed for expenses.
Erika created a Facebook page entitled, “Faith is Greater Than Fear”, and she thanks God for all that she has. Your generosity in this fundraiser will help Erika and her family with expenses associated with this medical procedure. Thank you for helping Erika, her husband, and two kids.
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