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Help Kelly Walk Again

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5/15/19 Update: 

Hey everyone. Just wanted to post a quick update. I'm losing hope. We’ve finally gotten to the stopping point for paying our mortgage. We can’t pay this month. Unfortunately, the IRS has liens on our property due to taxes that we couldn’t pay, so this is really scary. And a lot of medical providers are now switching over to requiring payment upfront, which is scary.

We don’t have a dollar in case of emergency. If one of our dogs has an emergency, we can’t do anything. I’m considering panhandling as soon as I recover from my surgery, because I’ll do *anything* to avoid homelessness. 

Unfortunately we don’t have any family that we can lean on or even go to if we lose our home. It’s just the two of us. We really need help. Please share this. All of this happened because my employer lied about my job duties in order to get away with firing me for my disability, and because chronic health conditions cause you to lose your entire life savings in this country.

This never should have happened to us. This should never happen to anyone.  I hope that one day I can look forward to waking up in the morning, but it seems like an impossibility right now. 

5/3/19 update:

Happy Friday, everyone!

I said I'd always post an update whenever I have news, and that's what I've got.

I finished up physical therapy on Friday. It went the same way it always does. They kept me for 4 whole months and let me go when I wasn't improving at all. That's how it's been the previous times as well. I saw my ankle surgeon on Monday. I was absolutely dreading seeing him, as the last time I saw him, he was pretty against doing any additional surgeries, because I've had so many already. The last thing I wanted to hear was "This is the best you're gonna get." Taking my PT failure into account, he actually changed his mind! On the 24th of this month, he's going to scope my ankle to check out the graft, clean out the scar tissue, and lengthen my achilles tendon. This requires an actual rupture of my achilles, so recovery is going to be rough. It's certainly not a permanent solution, because the disease will still be there. But if it even gives me a tiny bit of relief, I'd be happy. As for how I'm able to afford all this when I don't yet have my deductible covered....I don't. But I just found out that ATI took up our ENTIRE deductible, and they're amazing at deferring payments. They don't even send patients to collections. Hopefully my disability claim will be approved so we can actually pay them back. In the meantime, I'm now free to resume treatment.

Things continue to get scarier, however. We're looking at discontinuing mortgage payments. We've already had to allow my car to be repossessed (I can no longer drive anyway, but I still could at the time), and I worry about being able to make payments on Jim's car. How will he get to work?? Speaking of work, his job was eliminated a while back. Rather than let him go, they offered him a demotion. But he's stuck. There's more I could say about this, but I won't since it's not my employer. Our money keeps flying out the window toward bills, medical expenses, groceries, etc. I've got a Morton's Neuroma on my left foot from overcompensating for my right. Obviously it's not serious, but it hurts like hell, and I had to turn down a $25.00 foot pad because I couldn't afford it.

I really feel like things are going to work out eventually. By the end of the year, I'll have an income, and my business will be doing well. But until then, I can't help but worry what the chances are that we'll end up on the street. So if you could please help us out by sharing this with your social media audiences, posting it at work, emailing it to your friends, etc. I'm happy to return the favor when I'm in a better position.

Additionally, if you could spread the word about my website, that would also be a HUGE help. Thanks so much for your continued support!

Love, Kelly

4/11/19 Update:

Hi everyone.

I'll try to make this a quick update as I'm unbelievably exhausted lately. It's been a frustrating month. My birthday was on Friday, and I honestly just wanted to fast forward through it as quickly as possible. Nothing like a reminder of time slipping away when you're trying to get your quality of life back. At least you can't say I'm not motivated.

I still can't see my doctors, as we haven't yet met our deductible, and we still have a long way to go. $2,500 to be exact. I needed to comply with another round of physical therapy, as it was necessary for my disability claim. Fortunately, ATI is wonderful when it comes to working with patients on deferring payments. Since I can't pay out of pocket for even one doctor's visit, I need to finish physical therapy and hope that I meet our deductible in the process, so I can get back on my medications and back in necessary treatment. Until then, it's a pretty bleak picture.

My disability hearing was on 4/2. While the vocational expert pretty much determined that I wasn't fit to work, the judge wasn't as convinced as I had expected him to be. He has requested a post-hearing brief, and will probably need more than the average time to make a decision. So even if the decision is favorable, I won't see a dime until probably fall. The likelihood of us continuing to make our mortgage payments is looking pretty minimal. To say I'm terrified is an understatement.

The other major disappointment right now is that my physical therapy goals have changed from recovering lost function to just trying to minimize pain. In other words, I'll most likely be scheduling a major, life-altering surgery within the year.

Many of you know how much of a fitness fanatic I used to be. I loved working out hard, staying active, hiking, walking, swimming, etc. My mind still hasn't accepted that I'm not that same person, so recovery continues to be a disorienting and frustrating process.

I'm still not doing a whole lot of business with the store due to not being able to advertise, but I keep looking for ways to get noticed. It's also been difficult to keep up with in general, due to the extreme fatigue.

I'm sorry that this isn't a happier update. I've been a bit more absent than usual lately, and people have called me on it - so I figured I owed it to everyone, considering how kind and generous you all have been toward me.

I really hope to have some better news in the near future. Until then, if you could share the links to my GoFundMe and my online shop ( ), it would help me out a lot.

Thanks all!



Spangle (my online apparel shop) 

UPDATE 3/08/19: Major update and urgent plea for help:

I have to apologize for not being better about updating everyone. Honestly, it's just been a rather depressing, frustrating experience that has been exhausting to talk about. But I realize that it's important.

With it being a new year, I've had to discontinue most of my medications and treatment, as we can't afford our deductible. This has been a big problem for my emotional health as well as physical. I am currently dealing with PTSD from a traumatic incident last year, and it's been really tough to get through this without my wonderful therapist.

As for the big news: I finally have a hearing date for my disability case. It's happening on April 2nd, just 3 days before my birthday. I'm really optimistic that I'll get a fully favorable decision. My many attempts to work, despite being told that I can't , paint a pretty legitimate picture. Add in my many recent surgeries and the uncertain future of 2 permanent health conditions, and I'm feeling confident that I can't lose.

The other news is that I have severe scar tissue buildup in my ankle. It is causing a great deal of constant pain and complete lack of dorsiflexion (That's the upward flexion.) It's bad enough that it's often difficult for me to even put my heel on the ground. Unfortunately, my ankle surgeon has ruled out any further surgeries - ever - until I'm ready for an ankle replacement or amputation. My ankle just isn't strong enough to take another operation. That includes arthroscopy to clean out the scar tissue. So my near future is a little uncertain at the moment. I'm a terrible candidate for ankle replacement, so it's not something I want to rush into. But my mobility will continue to get worse until then.

I have a lot to think about.

And now my plea for help:

I've been working so hard at my online business, trying to make it work. Unfortunately, due to having zero ad budget, it hasn't been successful. I know it can be though if I can just keep it afloat until I have income coming in. Unfortunately, with only $14 in the bank, I can't pay for another month of keeping it online. I'm almost out of hope at this point, so I could really use your help. Whether it's a donation, a purchase, or promotion through sharing my sites with your social media audiences, hanging up a flyer at work, or whatever clever ideas you might have in mind. It all helps. I have just a couple of days to come up with enough to fund my site for an additional month, so time is of the essence.

I'm so grateful for everything you all have done for me. I was going to type more, but this has been long enough, and I'm in way too much pain at the moment. Hopefully next month I'll have some happier news for you.


PS - My website URL is I design almost all of the items in the shop. The actual artwork you see is either sourced or created by me (mostly the latter). I'm also happy to accept custom orders. 


UPDATE: 12/24/18: This will probably be my last update on this. I’ve decided to set this for the actual amount that I’ll need in order to go back on my meds, cover my deductible in 2019, and keep our house until I’m able to either start making money with my business, or until I get approved for disability. My current health and financial situations are dire, and I’ve run out of energy. If I don’t make my goal, your donations still help us eat and keep our dogs and our house for a day or a week longer. Thanks everyone.

*****2018 UPDATE:  

I hadn't planned to revive this, but I'm in that scary place again. My surgeries have been really successful so far. My OATS graft is fusing nicely, and my ankle has healed pretty well. I just got a DRG stimulator implant to help with the CRPS pain, and it’s been awesome. However, there is still no increased movement in my ankle or knee. Until this happens, I’m kinda stuck at being only about 25% better.

I still have a long way to go. And now we're at the end of year, still no end to treatment in sight, and still waiting on my disability hearing (which should be happening sometime around February/March). I've been working so hard at trying to earn money from my Etsy shop, but I have zero marketing budget, and my health issues are causing me to have trouble keeping up with it, mostly because I haven't felt like I can afford to rest for 5 minutes, even the day after surgery. 

I would love it if you could check out my Etsy shop and share it with your audiences, and perhaps make a purchase or two. But I'm also opening this back up for donations, as I've been asked by multiple people if they could donate. The amount needed is actually much greater than the goal shown here, but I’m still hoping that I can find a way to do this on my own without ending up back in the hospital.

Happy holidays, and thanks so much for all of your support. You can find my Etsy shop here: Spangle 

There have been quite a few updates, so I thought it would be helpful to include a bulleted list at the top:

 - Surgery was 9/1/17. Insurance approved it after a very long fight. 
 - Did not start physical therapy until 11/24/17, as I had a short hospitalization during this time for something unrelated. 
 - Shortly after starting physical therapy, I noticed constant, debilitating pain in my achilles that responded to the lightest of touches. The sensitivity (allodynia) spread only around the entire ankle area, but the pain began spreading over my entire right lower extremity. I was later diagnosed with CRPS. This has tremendously set my recovery back. 
 - I am currently in pain management, physical therapy, and still under the care of my doctor. I still cannot drive or work, and I am still finding it difficult to walk more than a few feet. 
 - I am currently waiting on a disability hearing. This will most likely take place sometime in the spring of 2019. Until then, I have no source of income. 


LATEST BIG CHANGE: I developed CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) from the surgery. It has completely set my recovery back, and is far more painful than even the Osteochondritis Dissecans. One of my major symptoms is allodynia, which fortunately is only in my Achilles area right now. But every time I wear a shoe, I feel like Herman Munster in Pet Semetery. I just started treatment for this, so I’m hoping to have some better news of relief soon.

ATTENTION: Please see my latest important update. BCBS is no longer denying my surgery! This is great news, but it means that I have to come up with my deductible money even sooner, so please consider donating if you can. Thank you!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. My name is Kelly and I have a rare condition in my right ankle called Osteochondritis Dissecans. For many, this condition is mild and temporary. For me, it's permanent and severe, and has resulted in extremely limited mobility. I have had this disease since the age of 15, and have had multiple surgeries, but I had managed to keep it under control - until a near-fatal car accident in 2013 fractured my ankle, took a toll on my body and rapidly accelerated the progression of the disease.

In order to walk and drive safely and without pain, and to hold a job, I require Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation Surgery (OATS). Unfortunately, my insurance (Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois) has made the final determination that they will not cover this procedure, despite multiple appeals. The surgery is around $50,000. 

I realize that the likelihood of me raising $50,000 to pay for this surgery is slim. My next  option is below the knee amputation, which really scares me, but it is my best option if I am unable to afford OATS.  I have run out of time to have this surgery and complete physical therapy and follow-up treatment before the end of 2017. Therefore, I am trying to raise money toward our $5,000 deductible for next year, so that I can have my alternate surgery as soon as possible. I am unable to cover any of this on my own, and need to have the funds in place before I am able to have surgery. 

Because of my condition, I am unable to work. My husband and I have had to declare bankruptcy, and  even with that, we are still having trouble paying bills and finding money for necessities. The longer I go without surgery, the longer it will be before I can find a job. 

The longer that I am handcuffed by inactivity, the worse my depression, anxiety and physical health get.  I am still trying to fully recover from spinal surgery that I had last year due to the auto accident of 2013.  Being laid up all day has been counter-productive to keeping my back muscles strong. 

Osteochondritis Dissecans has taken so much from me, but I am determined to fight my way through to an eventual recovery.  I just want to be able to walk, drive, work and be physically active again. Please help spread the word. Your donations and/or shares would mean so much!

Thank you! 

Information on Osteochondritis Dissecans 

Information on OATS surgery

Information on CRPS

Allodynia (That nasty CRPS symptom in my Achilles)


  • Luke Bretscher
    • $30 
    • 5 yrs


Kelly Ann
Highland, IN

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