Hi! My name is Sam and I’m a 26-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee.
Those who know me know I have a long and complicated medical history: I was born with spina bifida, but I’ve also been diagnosed with lupus, ulcerative colitis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. As a result, I have undergone many surgeries and live with multiple medical issues.
Complications of ulcerative colitis have lead to me having my colon removed, which is why I now have an ostomy (an artifical opening in an organ of the body). I also have a neurogenic bladder because of the spina bifida, so I have to have a chronic foley catheter now that I’m immobile. Complications of spina bifida has resulted in my having over 30 surgeries and spending months of my life in the hospital. Because of all of this, I suffer from chronic pain that is debilitating and extremely tiring.
In 2019, I underwent an unsuccessful spinal surgery that left me permanently in a wheelchair and unable to exercise. Since then, my weight has gotten bad enough that it’s worsened my existing medical issues.
I was also recently diagnosed with osteomyelitis, which resulted in me going into sepsis - a life-threatening condition where the body’s response to an infection harms its own tissue. This is because of pressure wounds on my thighs that got deep enough to infect the bone and happened solely because of my weight.
My doctors have all agreed that if I do not have gastric sleeve surgery, my health will continue to become worse. Gastric sleeve surgery will remove 80% of my stomach and help me lose the weight I currently cannot lose.
I’ve already had some close calls with complications due to my weight and have tried for YEARS to get insurance to cover this surgery, but they still refuse. This costs $16,000 up front and although I’ve completed all the pre-op requirements for the surgery, the fee is standing in my way.
This surgery will not just allow me to live easier than I do now - it will keep me alive, period. I almost died a couple of months ago from a pressure wound infection, and I can’t keep hoping the next time won’t be it. Please consider contributing anything you can, because to me, it literally means life or death.
Organizer and beneficiary
Olive Branch, MS