My Mother still desperately needs your help. First, I join my mother in extending a heart-felt “THANK YOU” to everyone who has already donated to her GoFundMe campaign. As her only child, I have and continue to do all I can to assist my mom, an only child herself, in every way I can, but unfortunately, my help isn’t enough to cover mounting monthly medical bills, as well as the portion of her living and travel expenses associated with her kidney transplant recovery, which she can’t afford to pay.
Since her early twenties, my mother, Georgia Fields-Richardson, was aware she was at high risk for total kidney failure one day, as her doctors advised her lab work during annual physical exams revealed elevated creatinine levels. At the age of 22, she also began teaching high school English & Literature in Mississippi and did so for 42 continuous years until her retirement in 2004 from the Louisiana Department of Education. After graduating from Alcorn State University, where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Life Member). She taught, mostly Seniors, at Monticello High School (Monticello, MS), Rowan High School (Hattiesburg, MS), Blair High School n/k/a Hattiesburg High School (Hattiesburg, MS), Abramson High School and Sarah T. Reed High School (both located in New Orleans East).
After retiring from the classroom, my mother’s enthusiasm about retiring quickly turned to a financial nightmare when she learned she would be penalized by something called the Social Security WEP/GPO offset enacted in 1983, which Louisana along with a few other states opted into. My research efforts found public employees throughout the nation had absolutely no idea at the time they voted to move to a private pension system and that they would lose up to 60% of their own Social Security benefits under the WEP when they retired.
Because of the WEP/GPO offset, my mother taught school full time in Louisana for 25 years and by federal law can only receive 1/3 of what would have been her social security entitlement, which amounts to roughly $400 per month. Also, she cannot recieve Survivor Social Security Benefits becasue of this law from her deceased husband's estate.
Within months of her retirement, her mother suffered a stroke, which resulted in mom moving back home from New Orleans with her husband, a New Orleans artist, art teacher, and lifelong resident “kicking and screaming, but I had no choice,” she loves to say, describing the circumstances which led to their abrupt relocation. Their sudden move even ended up being a blessing in disguise as their life was spared the wrath of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans East, and what had been her home for 25 years, & 3 months after their relocation.
My mother, having lived in the “Big Easy” for over two decades, didn’t hesitate to take care of her mother as any loving daughter would have by returning to her birthplace Okolona, MS (pop. 2600) known as “The Little City That Does Big Things,” to become a full-time caregiver from 2004 until 2012 when her mother transitioned from this life. Her service as a caregiver did not lend itself just to her mother, but to her husband as well, who died of small cell lung cancer in 2009. Now the torch of caregiver in our little family has been handed to me.
Maybe you were one of her former students, a faculty member who was her friend, a friend of our family or simply a caring individual who reads my mom’s story, after 42 years of teaching high school juniors and seniors and 8 years of being a full-time caregiver herself, my “mama” now needs your help. She would never let the world know she needs help, but as her only child, I am saying it for her. Since experiencing total renal failure on Valentine’s Day 2014, when my 9-1-1 call saved her life, my mother underwent dialysis three times a week awaiting and praying for a kidney transplant which she was blessed with August 11, 2017. However, while enduring so much, my beautiful mother never stopped blessing the lives of others, check out her Facebook page:
Still, there is no way of sugar-coating this: just like my mother needed transplant surgery, which her health insurance thankfully covered, there are aspects of care and recovery she needs help with (including copays, additional medical expenses, hotel and travel expenses for a 349 mile round trip for follow up care, which has been weekly since her surgery, and more) which are not covered by insurance. For the first year after a transplant, a patient remains at high risk for rejection, and there are many costs associated with monitoring and guarding against this, as well as with recuperation in other ways. After-care is crucial, and it's expensive. This is where mom needs your can help.
Members of my mother’s healthcare team have advised that she should have a large contingency fund in place which can be put towards after-care these costs and improving the quality of her life overall. The sums are enormous, which mom can’t afford until the WEP/GPO offset is repealed by Congress, so I'm setting up this fundraising campaign to help my mother. Please join me and give what you can and spread the word. Mrs. Georgia Johnson or Mrs. Georgia Richardson, depending on what school you knew her in, has touched the lives of many in a positive way. All donations from this campaign can only be withdrawn by my mother. If you have questions about this process or about the campaign, feel free to email me using the contact link on the campaign page.
My mother is generous, inspirational, and completely in love with life in a manner which reminds the rest of us of the reasons why we might feel the same way. She's facing a very tough time ahead, and we can help to make it a little easier and less stressful.
Thank you for reading. Here's a brief note from my “mama” a/k/a Miss Georgia:
“First, I would like to thank everyone for supporting me before, during, and post kidney transplant. It has been a challenge from day to day since my transplant. It was God’s will to allow me to be placed on two transplant lists in Jackson, MS and Memphis, TN, especially at my age. Only God made it possible for me to be called to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson for a transplant on August 11, 2017. I thank God for my transplant team and all my nurses at UMMC. They are truly angels living on earth! I thank my dialysis team at Fresenius Medical Care for keeping me alive until I received a kidney transplant. I thank God for continuous healing and for giving me a supportive only child, my son, and dear friends who have cared for me throughout my hospital stays and follow up treatments. My son continues to care for me daily in my home. Since my transplant, I was hospitalized October 18-24th for shortness of breath, loss of appetite and fluid buildup on my right side. I thank God for sustaining my life and I will continue to keep my trust in the Lord. To express my appreciation to the donor’s family, I reached out to them and the donor’s daughter responded graciously telling me how loving and special her mother was during her life. This gesture touched my heart as I have never felt before. The donor’s daughter wants to keep in touch and I feel the same. If my donor’s daughter doesn’t mind, I will post a picture of the two of us when we meet. Transplant means surgery, recovery and hard work afterward. Rehabilitation and living with my new kidney will be a long difficult journey I realize, and my working hard after transplant surgery is the determining factor of survival. At any moment, I need to be able to travel to the transplant hospital for one year until I recover and work hard at rehabilitation and therapy, as well as take on any challenges post-transplant life can bring. I’m ready, but I do need your help. I am so grateful to Oliver starting this campaign to take the pressure off me during this time in her life."
(Note: For foreign donors, It is difficult to contribute if you don't have a postcode. Entering "000" or some variant should be a fix for this.)
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