Get Jill to Italia!

Mom has been recovering from her recent surgery; her hand strength is almost back to normal and she started physical therapy about a month ago to work on her balance, strength, and neck range of motion. We're so happy she's moving back towards her normal self. However, that still means she has chronic pain, and has reduced neck mobility which causes a lot of discomfort. On top of that PT is exhausting for her! Thanks for everyone who has been praying for her, and please continue to do so as she continues to work towards recovery. 

I surprised mom recently with telling her about this campaign. She was overwhelmed by the generosity everyone has demonstrated and is touched to know that there are so many that care about her, or at least her because they know/care about me. We've started tentatively planning to make this dream come true! However, due to her back, it's going to cost a lot more for her to be comfortable during this trip. I'm picking up extra jobs to try to save up for this trip so I don't go into massive debt, lol. If you or anyone you know is still willing to give, it would mean the world to me! I have enough to afford one plane ticket over there (have to take business class due to mom's back pain). My new goal is to raise enough to cover the price of the other plane ticket. Thank you for your generosity! My mom and I are so touched to have such kind and caring people in our lives :) 

Original Campaign: 

For those of you who know me, you know that my mom, Jill, has struggled with Degenerative Disc Disease for practically my whole life, so 20 years at this point. Almost every year she has had to have a spinal fusion due to the cushioning between her spinal discs breaking down and causing chronic pain. As she has gotten older, she has had to have other surgeries to fix the rods or screws that are in her back. For example, at my high school graduation, she was incapable of walking, and wheelchair bound. These surgeries have gotten riskier and risker and can take up to 20 hours to complete, with her having to remain on a ventilator overnight after the surgeries. My mom has tried to be a trooper through it all, relying upon her faith to get her through these surgeries and the resulting limited functional mobility. 

We recently found out that her cervical disks (her neck) are collapsing on each other, causing her neck to lean much farther further than the rest of her spine, which is fused up to her neck. This has resulted in an increased loss of balance and increased neck and shoulder pain. Her doctor predicts that she will likely have to have her neck fused to her skull. She already has difficulty moving her head side to side, and following this kind of procedure, she will have limited ability to move here head up and down. This will affect her ability to participate in functional activities such as driving (which I already have to help her with more often) and hobbies that bring her joy, such as quilting. 

My mom is a caring and loving individual who has a lot to bring to this world. If she did not have degenerative disc disease, she would be a great nurse, bringing love and laugher to her patients. She would be an active volunteer through our church and community, spreading God's love to others through service. She would have close friends that she would able to visit/go out with on a regular basis. 

However, her chronic pain, repetitive surgeries, and subsequent recovery time needed for bedrest and PT for 3-6 months following each surgery, has limited her ability to go out with friends, become an active part of social and volunteering groups, etc. She is an extrovert who suffers a lot of isolation due to her condition. As I said above, she has been strong for so many years, but it is getting harder and harder for her to do so.  She is scared, frustrated, and overall feeling defeated. My mom had a tough life before these back issues, and now her back issues have ruined her adult life. She is almost 60, but already needs a level of assistance as if she was approaching her 80s. Her future mobility and ability to participate in daily activities appears grim. It is easy to see how one can lose hope in this situation. 

All that said, I want to do something for my mom to help her feel hopeful, and to feel as if she does have a life that is worthwhile. She and my dad have both sacrificed a lot for my brother and I; catholic schools, studying abroad, etc, all the while juggling the medical expenses for my mom's surgeries. My mom has never had the opportunity to fulfill a lot of her dreams, and I want to at least make one dream of hers come true; take her on a trip to Italy, where her mom's side of the family is from. My mom deserves so much for all the pain she endures while being an excellent and supportive mother, and I want to do something to bring some joy back to her life. However, this is an expensive trip to take and my dad is already overwhelmed from working night shift to pay off our bills. I work as a speech-therapist in a school, which is a good job, but not the most lucrative pay. 

So I'm turning to my friends at this time to ask for your support to make this dream come true for my mom. Any amount, even $5 would mean the world to me! Any funds raise will cover airline tickets to get over there and possibly hotel stays, which is a big bulk of the expenses. If her health progresses to be too poor for such a trip to happen, then any funds raised will be put towards her surgery bills. If you cannot financially contribute at this time, then please keep my mom in your prayers, that her spirits will be lifted and that she can find strength and hope. 

Thank you all- please feel free to share this page if you feel it is appropriate.


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Mary Holt 
West Chester, OH
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