After retiring from the fire service in 2005, Fred was able to pursue his other passion: commercial truck driving. Fred's new adventure was a challenging one, requiring long hours and extended time away from his family, though he was always ensured a warm and happy reception upon his return.
In May of 2012, Fred began experiencing unusual medical symptoms, including fatigue, fevers, constant skin bruising, loss of appetite, and sporadic infections. After being taken to Monmouth Medical Center following an extremely high fever, Fred was informed that he most likely had Leukemia, and would require immediate evaluation by an oncologist.
Fred was soon transferred to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where hid diagnosis of Leukemia was confirmed. Not being one to back down from a challenging fight, Fred was immediately admitted and began a series of intense chemotherapy treatments to rid him of cancer. The treatments were quickly effective, and Fred seemed on his way to a speedy recovery.
When Fred's career as a fire fighter ended, so to unfortunately ended his municipal benefits, including health insurance. In order to cover the extremely high cost of his treatments, Fred applied for and was given insurance coverage through COBRA. Fred was also granted disability status from the State and Federal government, as his doctors indicated it was extremely improbable that he would be able to return to work.
After several months of receiving inpatient treatments at RWJ, Fred's case seemed to be improving remarkably well. All blood tests indicated that Fred's Leukemia had gone into remission. Several bone marrow biopsies were performed and confirmed that there was no longer any indication of cancer cells in Fred's body. Fred was discharged from RWJ in the Fall of 2012, with strict oversight maintained on his case by his treatment team.
The holiday season of 2012 arrived and passed without any indication of the cancer's return, and Fred was in good spirits. He was receiving regular blood tests every month to keep a watchful eye over his condition, though all indications were that his cancer had been successfully beaten. The mood continued to be celebratory through the new year and into the spring of 2013.
In early April of 2013, Fred's doctors were becoming concerned about his blood work; his numbers of blood cells and platelets were declining at a rate too fast for a normal individual. Fred's doctor ordered an immediate bone marrow biopsy. Upon receiving the latest biopsy results the news was painfully clear: Fred's Leukemia had returned after an all too short remission of just 4 months.
Fred's doctors are insistent that a bone marrow transplant is the best treatment option at this point to treat Fred's cancer.
Unfortunately, Fred's COBRA insurance is due to expire in November of this year. The transplant team at RWJ has stated that they will not perform the transplant unless we are able to obtain insurance coverage for Fred beyond that time, as he will require extremely expensive life-long medication and treatment after the transplant. Hackensack Medical Center has agreed to perform the transplant regardless of Fred's insurance situation. While this news is good, Fred's family will still be required to cover the cost of Fred's post-transplant care.
The money raised here will be used to cover the shorfall between what Fred's insurance will cover, and the cost of his post-transplant medications and treatments.
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