Please read this incredible story:

Hi. My name is Stacey Whorton. I am 54 years old, am at this time a 39 year cancer survivor, and currently live in Las Vegas, NV. A friend asked me to put my story in writing so here goes with a brief version.  In 1979, at the age of 15 I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. I had 2 operations in 3 days for doctors to attempt to remove all the tumors. During the second operation my doctor paralyzed my vocal chords. For those of you that don’t know, your vocal chords lay in front of your windpipe, so the very next breath I took my vocal chords got sucked into my windpipe, blocked my airway and I stopped breathing on the operating table. The surgical team performed an emergency tracheostomy to open an airway for me. I wore that tracheostomy for 8 months. This was a horrible time in life as we all know kids can be so cruel. When I returned to school I was ridiculed and picked on because of the trach. In 1980, my parents took me to Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio for experimental nerve transplant surgery. The doctors placed nerves from other parts of my body onto my vocal chords in an attempt to reverse the paralysis. The surgery was considered a success because one vocal chord is now partially paralyzed. The other vocal chord was surgically moved and attached to my vocal box later in 1980 to open up my airway a bit. Fast forward to 1997 another surgery to clean up the scar tissue because now my breathing capacity was at 42%. Life goes on. Fast forward to 2008. In July 2008 I spent 19 days in the hospital with double pneumonia and 87% carbon dioxide poisoning in my lungs. My problem is that I do not breath in deep enough or exhale hard enough to keep the poisons from building up in my body. At this point I was put on oxygen 24/7. 3 years and lots of hard work - I lost 71 lbs and had built my endurance where I only needed the oxygen at night. Then in March of 2017 I became sick. Bronchitis turned to pneumonia. I went through 3 rounds of antibiotics and steroids. On my 4th trip to the doctor because I was still very sick and things were going downhill. When the doctor walked in, they took my blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation levels. My heart rate was at 175 bpm and my oxygen saturation was at 86%, both very dangerous. The doctor called for an ambulance. I was admitted to the hospital Cardiac floor with diagnosis of Congestive heart failure, respiratory failure and AFIB. I spent 12 days in the hospital this visit. They literally had to shock my heart to get it out of AFIB and to slow the bpm. Now I am back at square one with my breathing and on oxygen 24/7. My insurance will not cover the cost of a portable concentrator that would be most beneficial to meet my needs. I currently am forced to pull portable tanks on a cart and lift this into and out of my vehicle to get around. It weighs approximately 13-16 lbs. It is heavy and cumbersome and exhausting to deal with. By the time you get it in the car and get situated yourself you are so out of breath. It stinks. Hey but the alternative is worse right. I am very blessed to be alive and be able to do the things I can. I simply would like to do it without being so exhausted all the time. I want to be able to go see and spend time with my parents, children and grandchildren. I need help to buy a portable concentrator that will meet my needs. It weighs less than 3 lbs, comes with the needed batteries, a plug for the house and a plug to plug it into the vehicle to keep it charged up. -SW

Stacey missed one incredible fact about herself:
She purchases (own money), prepares and delivers meals to the homeless in Las Vegas. She continues to help anyone who needs it even though she has to drag the heavy oxygen tanks everywhere that she goes. It is unfortunate but her health insurance does not cover this new light weight tank.

Thank you.
Kimberly Zepp

Organizer and beneficiary

Kimberly Zepp
Columbia, PA
Stacey Roberts Whorton

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