My name is Cyrus Vachha. I am a junior at Mission San Jose High School. In September of 2016, I fell chronically ill and after numerous ER visits and consultations with specialists, I was diagnosed with Dysautonomia/POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome ).
However, this campaign is not about me. It is about Zachariah Otto, a wonderful young man from Southern California who also has been diagnosed with Dysautonomia/POTS. Before I share Zachariah's story, please allow me to tell you more about Dysautonomia.
Dysautonomia is dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS); the ANS is part of the central nervous system that controls bodily functions that operate automatically, such as breathing, swallowing, blood circulation, digestion. Due to the complexity involved in a dysfunctional autonomic nervous system, a wide constellation of debilitating symptoms can occur. I have spent countless days and nights dealing with rapid heart-rates leaving me breathless, constantly dizzy, extremely fatigued at all times with no hope in sight for any relief until my first consultation with Dr. Brent Goodman at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale AZ. I consider myself extremely blessed and fortunate to have been able to get timely treatment at Mayo Clinic, at the hands of Dr. Brent Goodman, one of the best neurologists who specializes in this relatively unknown condition. Under his medical care and treatment, I have been able to gradually start attending school for one hour daily starting this academic year, and am hopeful of attending full-time school next year, while continuing to manage my condition.
It is my sincere hope that Zachariah too would be able to get the best possible treatment at the Mayo Clinic so that the underlying cause of POTS is treated and he gets the requisite treatment plan needed to manage his condition.
Zachariah was an 18-year-old working full-time college student when he was suddenly struck ill without warning. In a very short period of time, he was unable to attend school or work. He lost significant mobility in his lower extremities. Zachariah has spent the past year in aquatic therapy relearning how to walk, but the road for him is still very long. Even after a year, his Global Assessment Functioning is only at 31/80 and is still considered a “land failure,” so it is time for him to receive more aggressive treatment. Zachariah has seen a number of doctors and specialists over these last 3 years, but they have been unable to treat him because, while they have basic knowledge of this particular condition, specialists in this field are few and far between and travel for adequate care, therefore, becomes a necessity. In addition to this, Zachariah learned in March 2017 that he has also developed advanced osteoporosis for which he also requires treatment; to date, his current doctors have been unable to identify the cause and have ruled out both metabolic and genetic causations. My hope is that under Dr. Goodman’s treatment plan, extensive knowledge and collaboration with other specialists at the Mayo Clinic, Zachariah’s quality of life will significantly improve allowing him to regain his ability to pursue his life’s ambitions.
Based on my experience, I am anticipating Zachariah may require several visits to the Mayo Clinic in 2018 for diagnostic tests, evaluation by multiple specialists, and get additional PT. He will also need to buy a secondary insurance. The estimated cost of insurance premiums, travel expenses, and medical co-pays is prohibitively expensive for Zachariah’s mother to bear as a single parent on a public school teacher's income. POTS is a debilitating condition, but with the right, timely treatment managed by a proper medical specialist team, there is tremendous hope.
With the help of my family members, I am able to fund Zachariah’s travel expenses and first month's insurance premium for his very first consultation visit to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale AZ in February 2018. However, this is a multi-year treatment program and hence I sincerely urge you to help fund it based on the cost estimates outlined below.
Based on my own experiences, I anticipate a multi-year treatment plan for at least 2 years and hence have a target of 26,800 USD ( Annual cost of 13,400 * 2 years)
As a recovering POTS patient myself, I sincerely appeal to the community to help Zacharia so that he is able to avail of the same opportunity I was given to improve the quality of my life.
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