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Help us recover from the Widow Maker

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Hi, my name is Chrispian Burks and I recently had a month-long heart attack and survived! Now I need some help dealing with all the medical expenses that are piling up. I've spent my whole life helping other people and I rarely ask for help for myself, but my wife, son, and I could use a little help right now if you are able. We would truly appreciate it! Please read our story below to learn why we are in need of help and if you can't help out directly, consider sharing this GoFundMe!

Right before Christmas, I started experiencing the most pain I've ever been in. Nothing has ever compared to this and I hope nothing ever does again. Nobody could find what was wrong until after several tests and two trips to the ER (this process took a month) before finally being admitted to a hospital after finding out that I was having a heart attack the whole time! Basically, the first hospital's scan didn't find anything so they told me to go see a heart doctor and sent me on my way. After a few more days of tests with the pain intensifying, I just couldn't take it another night. Honestly, I didn't think I would survive another night with that pain, so we went to a second ER in town. They ran tests and found I was actively having a heart attack and admitted me. I was glad to know what was wrong but I was having a hard time believing it! They did a heart catheter, which is the definitive test to find the issue and initially, this showed clear. Thanks to a great heart doctor he decided to keep looking and spent an hour or more digging around and found an 80-90% blocked artery that is commonly referred to as the "Widow Maker". I'm lucky to be alive and eternally grateful to the folks at Crestwood Hospital here in Huntsville, AL where we live. 

The good news is, health-wise, I should make a full recovery and I'm well on my way. My last two checkups were both good and all my numbers are heading in the right direction. Thankfully I started taking baby aspirin early on as a precaution and I believe that's one of the things that helped me avoid permanent heart damage. Also, I can't thank my wife Erin enough. During my "episodes" that turned out to be heart attacks, she would use ice-cold rags on my arms and face to help reduce the pain. It was the only thing that helped while I clenched my hands on my legs and tried to ride out the pain. If you want to read about the whole ordeal you can check that out here:

Not only was this whole ordeal bad, but it came at such bad timing. I've only been at my new job for just over a year and was out of work for some time before finding it. I also make a bit less at this job than my last so that's taken a toll as well. Being out of work for so long destroyed our savings and we haven't had a chance to replenish that or really recover from it yet. While I have pretty good insurance, the yearly deductibles are more than we can handle right now so I'm asking if anyone can help us out. Normally, I would just get a loan and handle it myself or just make payments on it. However, because I was out of work my credit has not yet recovered since we had to use our credit cards to live off of between jobs racking up debt on those too. We just can't afford any more payments and just getting behind for so long has just compounded the issue. Due to already having credit card debt as knowing that the medical bills would be coming soon I really didn't get to take off work to recover either. The short term disability insurance I'm lucky enough to have only paid 60% of a salary and had a cap and would have put us even further behind. So I took 5 days off because that's all the time I had left and then went back to work.

What have we done to try to get out of this ourselves so far:

- Looked into bankruptcy. But due to having a small business, other rules about bankruptcy and other future plans this just wasn't a viable option.
- Sold a good bit of my personal items, including my jeep (last year) to make extra money to put towards debt and cut costs.
- Lowered every bill I can and I'm working on the last 3, just having to work out contract details. If I could force them all to lower my bills I would.
- Rent is expensive where we are and moving is a top priority, but we have a kid in school and housing in the school area has been hard to find. Also, every place we've seen so far is not worth saving $40 to move. We have to tough it out here for about another year.
- I tried to refinance our remaining car but because we've been late a couple of times we can't refinance it. We have to make the payments on time for at least 12 months.
- Done several side jobs and continue to look for additional side jobs to help out. (I'm a Software Engineer focused on building web sites with WordPress, PHP, etc. Hit me up if you have work!)
- Looked into debt consolidation of various types and the main problem with those is you often end up with a very large single payment that never goes down because you can only afford the minimum.

I'm sure there are things we are forgetting.

If you can help us out during this rough patch it would mean more than you know. I will pay it forward once I'm back on my feet. I love helping people and have helped family and friends get cars, buy Christmas for needy children, paid peoples rent and groceries and donated to countless other GoFund me campaigns for folks in need. Today, I need some help, and I absolutely hate asking, but right now it's our only option.

So, if enough people can spare just a few bucks we won't get crushed with this medical/credit debt and I can focus on my recovery from this horrible experience. If you can't help, maybe you can share this, that helps too!

Our Goal is $6,000 - $8,000 to cover the co-pay for the hospital stay as well as 2 ER visits and a number of scans and tests at the imaging center. We haven't even gotten all the bills yet and they are already piling up fast. We've already had the insurance company run these more than once and are challenging every bill, something we learned when going through Erin's cancer treatments. We know it's a long shot to even come close to our goal but any amount will help. The goal is to pay off some of this as much as possible so that we can get the payments low enough that we can manage and then take care of things ourselves from there.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our situation. If you can, please chip in and share this so we can share the burden among more people so that no one is put out unnecessarily.

We are happy to answer any questions and I've already had a number of people reach out with advice and we appreciate that very much! Remember, even if you can't give financially sharing this GoFundMe will also help!

Thanks Again,

-Chrispian & Erin Burks


  • George Burks
    • $50 
    • 4 yrs


Erin Burks
Huntsville, AL

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