Don's Medical Fundraiser

If you know Don Stempek, you know he is the definition of a fighter, and if that was ever in question, he has proven it fact throughout the last year.

In October 2015, after complaining of a stomach ache, Don was rushed to emergency. After being misdiagnosed several times and enduring many surgeries, eventually his entire small intestine was removed and he was diagnosed with Portal Vein Thrombosis. This meant that one of the major veins in his abdomen was completely clotted, therefore cutting off blood flow to his small intestine and liver. The doctors told Don and his family that there was no hope, and that he wasn't going to make it more than a few weeks, but he didn't stop fighting and his family didn't stop trying to find a cure.

For over seven months Don was unable to eat and given only artificial nutrition through an IV, which contributed to a significant loss of weight and physical strength. For seven months, he lived in the hospital. Throughout that time, his family researched various doctors and surgery options, and finally, Henry Ford Hospital offered him an option: a multivisceral transplant. Before receiving a transplant, he had to complete extensive testing, both physically and mentally, and his family had to take part in aftercare training and therapy to assure that Don had a strong support system. We were told that the next year would be very challenging, but we knew that we would do everything we could to help him through this. After many months had passed, and many ups, downs, our prayers were answered and he received a transplant on May 17, 2016. It was a very difficult, 14-hour surgery, followed by two additional surgeries in the following days, but Don received a new stomach, small intestine, liver, pancreas, and portal vein.

We knew journey would not be easy, but we could have never known how difficult it would be for Don and his family. Although Don has overcome the most challenging part, having survived seven months in a hospital and such a high-risk surgery, each day carries new obstacles. Since the transplant, Don has encountered additional surgeries and a rare infection that his body has not been able to fight off. This infection requires in-home IV treatments several times each day in order to prevent it from spreading. In addition to that, he takes over 20 pills each day, has to go to the doctors at least twice per/week, and is working tirelessly on gaining weight and physical strength back through physical therapy. It has not been easy, but he has not given up.

Most recently, on January 13th, Don went through, yet again, another operation, which will hopefully be the last. Again this operation has presented challenges, but with your prayers, we are hopeful that he will recover from this as well. We appreciate all of your support and prayers throughout the last year, and we ask you to please continue praying for Don's recovery.

As his wife, Kathleen, took on the role of a full-time caregiver, it grew increasingly more difficult for her to maintain her job while Don transitioned from the hospital back to his home. With the loss of two incomes, we are asking family and friends of Don to help raise money for medical and home expenses at this time of need. All donations and continued prayers are appreciated not only by Don, but his family as well.

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 43 mos
  • Tom Tanzella 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
  • Shirley Adams 
    • $30 
    • 43 mos
  • Ellen Dana 
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
  • D'Adamo and Joshua family 
    • $150 
    • 43 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Becca Lee 
Organizer
South Lyon, MI
Kathleen Stempek 
Beneficiary
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