Let me introduce my wife and soulmate, Monica Harlow. She is a 36 year old woman who is beautiful both inside and out. Since day one of our story together, she has been a strong and caring person who has always tried to do her best for her family and those around her. As a fantastic mother to our three wonderful little girls, Monica has done her absolute best to instill a sense of Christian selflessness into our family through such things as helping out at local food pantries and caring for those less-abled than ourselves.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, Monica has developed a number of different health issues. These problems ranged from difficulty swallowing and other internal issues to external problems such as developing hard patches of skin over parts of her body. Monica has seen many doctors and even undergone a few surgeries to correct some of the problems, only to find out that there was a rare killer lurking underneath it all.
Monica suffers from a rare disease called Scleroderma, specifically Systemic Sclerosis. Scleroderma is a little known illness and is on the National Institute of Health’s list of rare diseases. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder that develops fibrous scar-type tissue on the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. There are two main types: Localized Scleroderma, which affects only the skin and can cause motor and sensory destruction; and Systemic Sclerosis, which affects the blood vessels and internal organs, as well as the skin. Once the disease starts affecting the major organs, it fundamentally changes the muscles and fibers of the organs into non-functioning scar tissue, making the organs unable to work.
The underlying cause is not known and there is currently NO CURE. The bright side is that it is not a contagious illness and is not known to pass completely from generation to generation. Our dear daughter Ellie does struggle with her own autoimmune genetic disease, but thankfully it is not Scleroderma and it is not fatal. That being said however, I’m very sorry to say that Monica indeed suffers from the Systemic Sclerosis version of the disease that will render her major organs non-functioning and lead to her untimely passing. The timeframe is unknown for this disease, but whether she has a year or a few years left, we will fight until there is a cure. Monica is currently undergoing rounds of chemotherapy to hold off the effects of the Sclerosis for as long as possible.
We are respectfully asking for donations to help with insurance costs and household bills, since many of the potential options for treatment are not covered by insurance and will be out of our family’s pocket. It should be noted that since Monica has been a stay-at-home mother for the past few years, she is unable to draw Social Security or any type of governmental disability assistance. A portion of your donation will also go to the Scleroderma Research Foundation to help find a cure for such a dreaded killer.
We are a hard working family that has always been blessed to help others, but now is the time that we, too, must beg for your assistance. Please help Monica and our family to get the help we need and to help give others a fighting chance in the future.
To learn more about Scleroderma, please visit the Scleroderma Research Foundation at http://www.srfcure.org/ and the National Institute of Health at https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/9748/systemic-scleroderma . Thank you all for your support and may God bless you abundantly!
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