Jeremy's New Life

Jeremy Styron may be the toughest man I know. Jeremy has had to fight to stay alive since the day he was born. Jeremy was born with severe combined immunodeficiency. Basically he was born without an immune system, and the doctors did not hold out much hope for his survival, but they didn't know Jeremy Styron. Many people, when faced with such a devastating diagnosis would lose hope, but Jeremy's parents, Jack and Wanda, were ready to go to the ends of the earth for their infant son. Despite Jeremy's grim prognosis, his parents wouldn't give up. The Styrons moved from Greenwood, S.C., all the way to New York City to provide Jeremy with the best medical treatment available at the time, which was no small task, but they were determined to give Jeremy the best chance they could. The doctors placed Jeremy in a sterile room, known as a bubble, like John Travolta in that movie that came on Sunday afternoon in 1985 that time it was raining, while the greatest minds in medicine feverishly worked to find a treatment that would free Jeremy from his prison.

For 3 and 1/2 Jeremy was confined in one room. While most of us were learning to walk and talk securely protected by the loving arms of our parents, Jeremy was alone in that room and unable to receive a single hug from his loving mother without her having to wear protective masks and gloves. Can you imagine how hard that was for his mother, having to not only watch him struggle to live but also being denied the simple act of holding and comforting her son? We have all been through struggles. No one goes through life without pain, but fortunately most of us don't have to endure the nightmare of sitting by helplessly while their infant child fights for his life. I'm sure Jeremy's parents spent many sleepless nights wondering when they would have to bury their baby.

Jeremy and his family never gave up, and after 3 and 1/2 years finally, a medical breakthrough. Modern science did the best thing it does: Save a human life. Jeremy got to came home and lead a normal life. But he still had many struggles ahead. He had to make frequent follow-up visits to the doctor, and once a year, the family had to make their way back to New York and check in with the doctors there, But Jeremy was home. He went to school just like everyone else and got to do the little things that are so easy to take for granted like, like driving a car, going to the prom or becoming one of the best friends that this writer will ever have. Unfortunately, no one survives a battle without scars. Due to complications from aspirating mineral oil, a treatment for constipation at the time, and after numerous bouts of pneumonia in childhood, Jeremy developed emphysema that was eventually diagnosed when he was a teenager. Over the years, Jeremy's lung function has been declining, but he hasn't let that stop him from going to Clemson University (Go Tigers) and becoming a journalist. For more than 10 years now, Jeremy has covered everything from high school football games to government corruption. He's received awards for his work, and today is news editor of a newspaper in Knoxville, Tenn., and all that on 15% lung capacity.

Bottom line, Jeremy needs a lung transplant and has some ongoing immune system issues that could complicate the procedure. Now because of his medical history, Jeremy can't go to just any hospital. He needs the best. He needs the team who intimately knows every detail about his condition and are aware of all the risks involved. Jeremy must once again go to the cutting edge of medicine where doctors are working to give him a better life.

Today, I am asking you to help. When Jeremy is given the OK for his surgery, he has to leave his entire life behind for 6 months to a year and move to Pittsburgh in order to be ready at a moment's notice to go into surgery. After that, he will need four to six months to recuperate before he can come home and begin his life again. Jeremy is going to need a lot of help living for 6 months to a year without being able to work; not to mention the high medical bills associated with such a large procedure. 

So I ask everyone, If you know Jeremy, or the Styrons, do what you can. If fate just happens to take you to this story, please help. The Styrons are a proud people and would never ask you for money, but I am not proud, and I have no problem asking on their behalf. Please help my friend. Help him have a chance at a new life.
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John Hollingsworth 
Columbia, SC
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