My name is Jason, or Ty, as my family and close friends call me. Recently, I began experiencing some unexplained weight loss. I had always been on the skinny side, but this time I couldn't regain any of the weight I was losing. I also began to lose muscle mass. I tried eating more, and even starting drinking nutritional shakes, but I couldn't gain or maintain the weight. I eventually began experiencing joint pain and noticed patches of my skin were becoming hard and scaly too. I didn't know what was happening to me.
The tipping point came one morning when I weighed myself at home. I was down to just 90 pounds. Not knowing what was causing me to become sick, my parents and I agreed to go to the hospital. I was hospitalized on October 31, 2016 at Truman Memorial Hospital in Kansas City, MO. While hospitalized, the medical team responsible for my care performed many tests to try and determine what was making me sick. I had a cat scan, GI endoscopy, muscle and skin biopsy, multiple lab tests, chest x-ray, EKG, and ECG just to name a few. A few days later, on November 3, I was discharged from the hospital with follow up appointments to see a rheumatologist, dermatologist, and gastroenterologist. I also left with a life changing diagnosis of diffuse scleroderma.
"Scleroderma is classified as an autoimmune disease. This means that a person’s immune system works against itself. The normal immune system protects the body by fighting off foreign invaders such as viruses and infections. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes a person’s own tissues as foreign invaders and sets up a protective attack that backfires to cause problems. In scleroderma, cells start making collagen as if there were an injury that needs repairing. The cells do not turn off as they should and end up making too much collagen. The extra collagen in the tissues can prevent the body’s organs from functioning normally " (The John's Hopkins Scleroderma Center , 2016).
There are two types of this disease as well, a milder form that generally affects the skin and external soft tissues, and a more serious type (diffuse) that affects not only the skin, but also internal organs as well. I have the diffuse type.
Now that I know why I am getting sick, I can better manage my disease, but there is no known cure. The biggest things I must focus on in the short term are gaining weight, self-care (skin, nails, etc.), and establishing a regimen for my medical treatment.
My immediate financial needs as I gain control of my disease are below, and my fundraising goal was set to provide 12 months of these items. We are still in the early stages of determining a full course of treatment, so my medication costs may change. Please note all donations will go directly to support my care for the items below.
1. Monthly medications - $20 per month
2. Monthly supplements - $207 per month
a. Iron supplement - $3
b. Probiotics - $4
c. Ensure Enlive - $200
3. Monthly personal items - $39
a. Eucerin (off-brand) lotion/cream - $32
b. Oatmeal body wash - $7
Simply getting around daily has become difficult for me, and therefore working consistently is also problematic. Unfortunately, I am also without health insurance due to my limited income. The above items are new costs that myself and my family are taking on as we begin our long fight with this disease, but we would greatly appreciate any help. Any amount of support would mean the world to me and my family during the difficult road ahead!
This campaign is co-managed by Jason's brother, Jeremy Schmidt.
DonationsSee top donations
- K & M Lawn Service
- Mitchell Ashpaugh
- Michael Ashpaugh
- Emily Whittaker
- Teressa Hill
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more