I was in the United States Army Reserves and received an honorable discharge after eight years. I served my community as a police officer for over 20 years and recently retired at the rank of sergeant. I worked many hours and many overtime shifts through my life to provide for my family and feel I provided them with a quality childhood. I now am working as a truck driver because the police retirement in Utah is not enough to live on and assist my family.
My eldest daughter, who is now in her early 30's, started having medical problems in her late teenage years. She was incorrectly diagnosed with Anxiety and Fibromyalgia. Several years passed until one day about 10 years ago we believed she had a stroke and rushed her to the emergency room. It was at this time she was correctly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This news was crushing and initially my daughter was devastated. My daughter is tough and quickly vowed to never give up. All she could say is she wants to raise her kids and be a part of their lives and not let MS affect her ability to do that.
My daughters MS doctor suggested she quit work and go on full time disability because she had remitting and relapsing MS and was only going to go down hill.
My daughter applied for disability and long story short she was denied. My daughter is beautiful and on the outside she would appear healthy (most days). The social security judge called her a liar because she described her condition and abilities as changing from day to day. If anyone knows anything about MS you have flare ups and those flare ups can effect different areas in your body depending on where the sores are on the brain and spine. This symptoms can come and go as the sores flare. She is not a liar she accurately described the disease to the social security judge. She has refused to ever try to get disability again.
My daughters MS symptoms range daily from chronic fatigue, pain every where in her body controlled by nerves, vision issues, muscle pain, numb hands legs and feet, and many many more issues. She has had severe flare ups which have limited the use of her arms and legs. She refuses to think that one day the worse flare up may never go away. She also has many side affects from all the medications and steroid treatments. I could list hundreds of ways that MS has affected her. She has many more bad days than good. These symptoms make everyday life like working and raising a family an extreme challenge.
As I described before my daughter is beautiful, petite and was very fit as a child and early teen. Her doctor says her great physical condition has allowed her to fight MS as good as she has. On good days she will still jog although this usually causes many bad days and there are very few good days any more. What everyone does not see and how much she has changed physically, mentally and emotionally. They don't see all the many many years of suffering MS has caused and how much she struggles to provide for her family.
My daughter lives with her husband and their two beautiful children (my grand children) . There have been times where she has been a single parent and I have offered for her to move home and she refused. She has always said she will work and take care of herself and she always did. Her husband is now working two jobs and they still can not keep up on all the medical related bills. He is a great man and he is doing all he can.
The most heart breaking thing my daughter ever said was "Dad you have no idea what I am going through!". My reply was, "daughter you have no idea what I am going through, for the first time in your life I cant help you or fix it, I can only be here with you".
The issue today is the medical bills, prescriptions costs, routine MRI's and outrageous medical insurance prices my daughter has been forced to pay. She has not only had to continue working but she has had to increase her hours to pay for all the mounting bills. She pays over $700.00 a month for insurance and has a $6,000.00 yearly deductible. She pays a very large portion of her income to insurance and what they don,t take the MS related bills get. I like any good father help wherever I can but even I cant make a dent in all her bills. She was advised by her MS doctor not to work and advised again not to increase her hours but my daughter is stubborn and will not let this disease win. I see every day how this drains her and cause her MS to flare.
I was listening to the news one night on one of my long hauls. I heard a few crazy Go Fund Me stories of people raising money for booze or because they were fired for being dishonest. I thought about all the people in my career in law enforcement that honestly need help and this made me very sad.
At that point I thought if people donate money for a good drunk why not see if they would help a hard working mother with MS that has been denied social security and devastated by expensive insurance and medical bills . With no relief insight and a relentless disease that is only going to get worse I have decided to try the Go Fund Me site. I am in my 50's and this is the first time in my life I have asked for help. I am still on the fence but know i have to put my pride aside for her because she truly needs help.
My goal with the donated money is to pay all her current medical bills, prepay for her insurance so she does not have to work overtime and to cover co-pays on all her medications. Her goal is still to be the best mom in the world. I would also like to continue to assist her with getting her children the things they need like school clothes and extra curricular activities that children need.
God bless everyone with MS and all the other terrible diseases.
- Jared and Elizabeth Gardiner
- Cody Campbell
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