Meeting John you soon learn that he is one of the most clean-cut kind of guys out there. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t swear, and he does not do illegal drugs. As his friends would say, he brings joy to everyone he meets. He can give you an array of one-liners from The Three Stooges, Christmas Vacation, Joe Dirt, and many other hilarious movies while laughing along with you. But in the fall of 2017, life drastically changed for John and his whole family.
After becoming significantly ill with shortness of breath, coughing, and swelling in his legs, John was misdiagnosed with one thing after another without ever improving. He underwent extensive testing, which included a coronary angiogram and a heart muscle biopsy. Nothing could be determined. Most doctors assumed it was heart failure.
It was by the grace of God that one doctor realized what it really was, but it was also some of the worst news the family could have received.
At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN John’s diagnosis was confirmed as amyloidosis of the heart muscle. Amyloidosis is a big word for an abnormal protein that has been deposited in John's heart muscle. These protein deposits cause the heart muscle to stiffen and restrict the hearts ability to pump fluid forward. This lack of forward movement of fluid causes congestive heart failure.
There are only 2,000-2,500 cases of amyloidosis diagnosed yearly. Of those, only 5% of cardiac amyloidosis patients survive past 10 years.
But John was not going to give in easily, and his family took the diagnosis and immediately started looking for cures. John’s wife began driving them to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN from Cary, IL (a 5 hour drive each way) every two weeks for evaluation and treatment. John was put on multiple cardiac medications to control the symptoms of the heart failure (shortness of breath, coughing, leg swelling, chest discomfort, etc.) and given chemotherapy medication to stop the growth of the abnormal cells which produce the amyloid. Not only is the medication expensive, but it has deteriorated his energy so that he isn’t able to work the way he used to.
John has been very lucky though. The chemotherapy seems to be helping. But he has a long way to go with his treatment, and he’s about to start one of the riskiest procedures in his long road to recovery.
On July 15th, John will be undergoing a Stem Cell Transplant in Milwaukee, WI. Hope is high that this treatment will work and get John back to feeling more like his happy go lucky self, but the treatment will be rough, and the recovery time will be long. The family members are all helping to keep Brankin Design going as John recovers, but they are all working their own full-time jobs as well and unable to provide for everything that John will be losing during this time.
As you can imagine, the past couple of years have been very hard on the Brankin family both emotionally and financially. We are asking family, friends, clients, and all of you amazing supporters for help. Anything that you are able to donate to support the families costs for travel to the clinic, staying in hotels out of state, medical expenses not covered by insurance, and lost income due to treatment would be appreciated beyond words. Even $5 helps them to cover costs they never expected they would have to face.
If you are not able to help financially, please help with your prayers? Pray for recovery. Pray for his family, giving them emotional strength to continue to hold John’s spirits high. And Pray for John to feel and see God's kindness and beauty all around him during this time of great need.
John 9:5--"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
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