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Help with cancer and dialysis expenses.

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My name is Brian Malenke, I've had a rough life.  I don't really know how to even write this but here goes... Back in 2004 I had just graduated college and had my first real adult job.  I was in sales working for a company that sold copy machines to area small businesses.  I was doing well and things were seemingly working out.  I remember thinking, I have a lot to be thankful for.  While I was working one day, my fortunes changed.  I was in a meeting with a potential client when I remember not being able to see the person in front of me clearly.  I could see to the side but head-on I could not see anymore.  I knew something was wrong.  After work, I went to the eye doctor to get examined.   They put a dye into my eyes and had a look.  The doctor then told me that he saw extensive retinal hemmoraging and that the eye doctor could not fix this problem.   It was something much more serious.   I was told to go immediately to the emergency room and get examined.  So I did just that.  I was waiting in triage, having just given the nurses a blood draw, for the doctors to tell me how to fix my eyes.  I was alone and I wasn't prepared for the news that was about to come my way.  The doctors asked me if I've ever had past problems with my kidneys to which I replied no.  They then told me that their review of my blood draw revealed that my kidneys were functioning at less than 4%.  I was floored and scared.  I was wheeled up to a surgical procedure room where they froze the small of my back and performed my first in a long line of future biopsies on my kidney.  The results revealed very little other than severe scar tissue throughout.  I was then taken to another room to have a 2-Line vascular cathether placed into my chest so that I could be immediately dialysed in the intensive care unit.   My parents and loved ones were notified and my life has never been the same since.  I spent that summer on dialysis while my incredible family got tested for a transplant match.  My father, lovingly, agreed to selflessly donate his kidney to me.   Things were looking up.  I adjusted to my new life, ever thankful to the gift that I received and hopeful for the future.  3 years passed and then things took a turn for the worse.  Biopsy after biopsy revealed a problem with the transplanted organ which lead to full rejection of the kidney.  At the time this occurred I was working a new sales job, doing very well at it, and life was very enjoyable.  Consequently, I had to stop working and become a full-time patient once again.  This time around I had to undergo an extensive period of chemotherapy as well as plasmapheresis to rid my body of toxic antibodies.  Once again my family stepped up to save my life.  This time my sister was a match and we began the process of having another transplant with the sincere hope that this time would be different than the last.  It was around this time that tragedy struck.  My mom was coming home from a bible study in Lisle around thanksgiving.   She was making a left turn on a green arrow when she was struck by a heavily impaired driver, traveling at high speed.  It was devastating but remarkably she survived the accident and we pulled together through prayer and love to facilitate her recovery.  The next year was one of the most difficult of my life.  I had to be strong for my mom and be strong for myself and at times I was overwhelmed.  As we prepared for my next surgery I received a phone call from Northwestern Memorial telling me the date and time of the procedure.  We were scheduled for April, 10, 2009.  April 10th is my mother's birthday.  She was still recovering from the accident having a Halo to stabilize her neck.  Her memory had returned and I remember her going from one room to the other to see her daughter save her son.  It had to be the best birthday present she's ever received.  The surgery was a success and I was once again on the right path ready to live a full respectful life.  My mom was transferred to the Alden rehabilitation center in Naperville and I enjoyed visiting her and her new friends.  Many months went by and she was making progress.  I remember throwing a softball with her and watching her dance the hula during a planned function.  I miss her so so much.  One morning I arrived at Alden to visit when they stopped me in the lobby and informed me that overnight they had found her motionless on the floor near her bed.  She was gone.  I don't know why she was given a full year to come so far in her recovery only to not reach the finish line but even though I spent most of that year in tremendous pain, it was the best year of my life.  I don't think I ever recovered from the sudden loss of my mom and to be honest I don't really want to.  She was laid to rest across from where she lived and next to where she worked and life without her started.  My brother had been living with her at the time so we had to get him setup with a special needs home called Little Friends which has fortunately been such a blessing to my family.  I began to work again and my new kidney was functioning well.  I was a busy guy once again.  I was working in sales, I was also teaching sports to 2-5 years old and well as coaching club volleyball to high school freshman girls.  I had a purpose in my life and I felt like I was making a real impact.  8.5 years went by with my new kidney when things once again took a turn for the worse.  In the winter of 2016 I came down with a the flu as well as norovirus at the same time.  This resulted in a week long hospital stay as doctors tried to figure out how to get me feeling better.  The immunosuppression medication I was on served to prevent my immune system to fight off the flu and norovirus.  As a result, I was losing core electrolytes at an alarming rate resulting in numerous hospital stays and troubling lab results.  In June of 2017 I was admitted into Northwestern for 10 days while we setup long term dialysis due to chronic kidney rejection.  This leads me to the present day.  I'm a patient at the Fresenius Kidney Care center in Naperville, IL where I receive dialysis 3 days a week.  I've done my very best to continue working but I've had to scale back considerably due to my overall health and new schedule.  Fortunately I still am able to coach volleyball and my passion still burns bright.  Unfortunately, I'm not making as much money as I used to and paying everyday living and medical expenses has become an incredible challenge.  I need help at this time to get me on a more solid footing.   I feel bad asking for help in this way because I'm used to providing for myself and feel ashamed that I'm unable to do so in the same way I used to.  If you can help me out, even a little, I would be so thankful.  I'm 36 and I have a full life ahead on me, I truly believe that.  I look forward to the day I can look back at all this and know that I got through it and things are going to be OK.  Until that day comes, I will show up to dialysis with a smile on my face and the hope of better things to come.


  • Anonymous
    • $100 
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  • Laura Beaulaurier
    • $60 
    • 2 mos
  • Tracy Pace
    • $25 
    • 5 mos
  • Robert Mandell
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
  • Tracy Pace
    • $20 
    • 6 mos


Brian Malenke
Naperville, IL

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