My name is Taron Pounds and on July 7, 2012, I was at my cousin's wedding reception when the left side of my face was blown off in a commercial grade firework accident. The firework struck me in the face and exploded with the force of four sticks of dynamite, shattering my skull, blinding my left eye, and breaking almost all of my teeth. Luckily, two of my cousin's groomsmen are paramedics and they were able to immediately call LifeFlight out to Inola, OK and get me stable.
After that night, I was in a coma for two months. I had to re-learn how to walk, talk, and eat on my own. It was another month of physical therapy before I was able to go home. Then, the surgeons started planning a laundry list of dozens of experimental surgeries that has taken five years to get to where I am today. I have been fortunate enough to get medical coverage for my costs through Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield for most of the 30+ surgeries. However, we have hit a major snag in keeping the process going when it came to dental coverage.
Over the last two years we have been working on replacing my teeth. As you can tell by my MRIs and Xrays, they suffered major damage in the accident:
We were put into contact with a prosthodontist and a maxillofacial surgeon who constructed the "blueprints" for my new mouth and we started on the surgeries. We had initially been told that Blue Cross Blue Shield would cover the costs of the dental work as medical due to it being a result of an accident, so we went ahead with the procedures believing every doctor was being paid as we had thought.
Cut to a year later and we started getting collection calls. Due to a filing error, my third insurance didn't pay the remaining debt that BCBS left on the balance and we have accrued several thousands of dollars worth of medical bills as a result. Then, the prosthodontist who was initially working on my case suddenly left town without notice, leaving us high and dry and without a plan. We have since met with a new prosthodontist who has agreed to take on my case, but he requires a down payment on my new teeth before he is willing to move forward with the procedure.
This is where I am today. We have tried to pay on this debt over the last year, but I'm stuck on disability with a fixed income until we can finish the procedures. I lose my BCBS coverage if I get off of disability, so it's a vicious cycle and I could really use some serious help here.
With $20,000, I could completely erase my existing medical debt and pay on all my procedures to finish my treatment debt free. It has felt like I've been running this crazy marathon and now I'm stuck right at the finish line. I know this is a lot to ask for (I get phone calls from collectors asking me for it nearly every day) but I have seen the kindness, support, and generousity of my friends and community in the past and I'm asking for one final helping hand.
Thank you all so much for your continued support,
- Alyssa Bulbes
- Chase Marta
- Megan Dunn
- Marilyn Morris-Pierson
- Susan Goldman-Moore