Thanks so much for considering donating to this campaign. Steve is a great guy and he's doing it tough, so your support means a lot!
On New Year's Eve in 2002 Steve was rushed to hospital. He'd been feeling unwell for a while but that evening he collapsed and after some tests, the doctors told him that his kidneys had failed and he needed a transplant. In November 2003, after eleven months of dialysis, Steve received his transplant. His father had donated one of his kidneys. Everything seemed fine.
(Steve and his Dad)
In January 2004, only a couple of months later, a weekend surgery to correct a lymphatic fluid drainage problem turned into two months in hospital. Things had gone wrong in the surgery and it had damaged his new kidney. This time, it was a slow decline in his kidney functions.
With care and careful management, Steve was able to prolong the life of his transplanted kidney until January 2007 when he had to go back on dialysis.
(The dialysis process)
This time he was on dialysis for a little over four years. As Steve has put so succinctly to me a number of times, most days he woke up feeling "like a bag of assholes." Three times a week Steve would have to travel to to the clinic for a four hour stint, although eventually he got a home machine and would have his four hour stint. Once he got his own machine, the frequency of dialysis was able to be increased to six times a week, keeping Steve healthier.
In 2011, Steve received a phone call from the clinic. A donor kidney had become available. The operation went well and all was good.
It was after this second transplant that Steve's two children were born, Jack and Joey.
In 2016, Steve started feeling run-down again. His regular appointments at the transplant clinic showed that his kidney was slowly declining, so with a new team of doctors they started investigating into the decline of not only this kidney, but his original one as well. After a lot of testing Steve was diagnosed with a form of lupus, an auto-immune disease where his immune system produces an excess of antibodies that attach themselves to his kidneys, causing inflammation, pain and eventually, destroyed the organ completely (Membroproliferative Glomular Nephritis) (MPGN)
After further blood tests by several agencies across America, the doctor's could not determine the exact nature of Steve's kidney disease - only that it cause MPGN to slowly kill any kidneys that came into his body. Which also means that should he get a third transplant, it may be attacked too.
What we want to raise the money for
Steve returned to dialysis in October 2018, and costs (out of pocket and after insurance) about $1200 a month. At this stage nobody is entirely sure how long Steve will need dialysis for. Additionally, they already have over $7000 in bills waiting to be paid for the testing, medications (epogen) and hospital visits they've already had to go through. Steve also recently got a bill for $14,000 from DaVita for dialysis services.
(Dialysis cost in 2011 - Before Insurance)
Where the money is going
Every cent is going to help Steve pay his medical bills.
We specifically want to raise $7000 to pay off their existing medical bills
This is to cover Ambulance costs, Hospital and specialist visits, compatibility testing, and medications
We also want to raise another $7200 to cover the next six months of dialysis
Monthly Dialysis out-of-pocket Expenses - $1200
Our final big goal is to raise another $25,000 to help him while he's unable to work.
Once again, thanks for considering donating, it's greatly appreciated! It doesn't matter how big or small the donation is, everything helps!
- William Votta
- Shawn Jones
Organizer and beneficiary
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