Although Julie has always had the loving support of her family and friends, she needs us now, more than ever. Reaching out to family, friends and complete strangers for additional support is a humbling and unusual experience for her, as she is the one people look to for a cheerful outlook on life and support.
With only a positive and bright future on her horizon, Julie was hit with unbearable news this past November of 2016. After suffering from a long, severe bout of fatigue and weakness, she sought out her doctor for advice. She was thinking that vitamins or a change in diet would do the trick. Never in a million years could she imagine what would happen next.
Julie was diagnosed with Polymyositis. POLY-MY-O WHAT you ask?
Polymyositis is a life altering illness. For those of you who do not know, polymyositis is a very rare autoimmune disease. Only 50,000 Americans have been diagnosed with this disease and for some reason, women are two times more likely to suffer from this then men. And, to make matters worse, no one knows how one gets such a thing. Unfortunately, a person with this disease knows all too well that their white blood cells, the immune cells, attack their muscle cells and tissue. In other words, my once active, independent cousin is now fighting a disease that has left her with minimal range of motion and weakness due to lack of muscle. To make matters worse, Polymyositis has no cure. No one can be prepared for such things.
Julie spent three months in the hospital and a month in a rehabilitation center. She is now residing with one of her sisters and is currently going to physical therapy and is taking medication to help treat her symptoms of weakness and fatigue. Her family and friends have rallied and are supporting her in any way they can. Need-less-to-say, Julie is coping with her "new normal" to the best of her ability. It is difficult for her to hold up her own head, lift her arms above her waist, and walking and even talking for short periods of time are tiring. Things that we take for granted, like washing our hair and scratching an itch on our back, she cannot so without help. But, she is a trouper! Along this journey she has remained positive and determined to live her life for herself and her daughter. Now the tables are turned and her daughter Carmen is the one at her side, cheering her on!
I have started this fund with reluctance from Julie. She is a private person and expects nothing from others. However, her hospital and medical bills keep piling up. Her trips to the John Hopkins Myositis Center in Maryland, chemotherapy drugs, medications, physical therapy and IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin) are costly. This disease has taken away her health, her job and her home. This fund will help to relieve Julie of the burden of relying on others for the financial aspects of this disease. With your support, I am optimistic that this can be done!
Every donation will go directly to Julie and will be used at her discretion for her bills related to her Polymyositis. She is determined to be an avocate for her own health and the health of others by spreading awareness of this debilitating disease.
Please donate today to help Julie.
Any amount is welcome. Thank you for your kindness and prayers as Julie tries her personal best to overcome this dreadful illness. My hope is that she may spend her time and energy on regaining her strength and independence as she moves forward. All donations up to $50,000 will go directly to Julie, as she is the beneficiary of this account. Any donations above and beyond her goal will be donated to the Myositis Center at John's Hopkins Hospital for research.
With gratitude, love and peace,
- Peter Dodd
- Kim Gallman
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