Raina's Medical & Rehab Fund

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Lana and I am starting this fund for my super rock star cousin Raina! Her husband, Aaron and their two little girls live in my home state of Minnesota and desperately are in need of our help! For the past 22 years, Raina has been fighting an on-going battle with Crohn’s disease. For those of you who are not familiar with Crohn’s, it is a painful inflammatory disease of the bowels that is on-going throughout someone’s life once diagnosed. At the age of 12, Raina had her initial diagnosis of having Crohn’s and weeks following would have her first rectal reconstructive surgery.
For years following that first surgery, doctors put her on long-term prednisone doses, which resulted in stunted growth that effected her development and weight going into her teen years. The disease never seized and Raina continued to have poor quality of life due to the effects it had on her body. Some of the effects included severe rheumatoid arthritis, chronic migraines, fatigue, dizziness, as well as impaired memory, vision, and severe dehydration.
            Raina lived her 20s battling with these severe side effects and in February of 2012 her life took a positive turn when she gave birth to their first child. After having their daughter, Raina’s body reacted negatively where she suffered severe weight loss and her body’s ability to absorb any nutrients from the food she was taking in was not working. The disease basically was starving her. So, in August of 2013 doctors took matters into their own hands and a loop ileostomy was installed in Raina’s body. Doctors had hoped that by giving Raina’s colon a 13-month “vacation” along with the prescription drug Cimzia, her colon would heal. Raina’s colon did not heal, her stress levels greatly increased and her disease continued to control her life.
In July of 2016, Raina gave birth to their second healthy daughter and as with her first pregnancy, she began to have uncontrollable weight loss. She developed painful fistulas, which required surgery in January of 2017 and she suffered severe dehydration resulting in chronic UTI’s and kidney infections. So, Raina was faced with two choices to either continue living a poor quality of life trying medication after medication to see if one would tame the disease or to completely remove the colon.
            Last week, on July 6th at 12:30pm, Raina went under the knife for 9 hours and doctors completely removed her large intestine, the rectum, anus, infected areas due to the fistulas, hemorrhoids, and anything abnormal that affected her quality of life. Raina has a long road to recovery ahead of her. Hardships have not only affected Raina but her husband and their daughters who love her the most.
            Raina will be unable to work due to the severity of her surgery and because her husband is taking care of the girls, he is only able to work very little hours.  With a pile of medical bills stacking up and an eviction notice on their doorstep, this family desperately needs our help! I believe no one should have to go through such hardships alone and if we all team up we can really do something positive for my cousin and her beautiful family.
            My goal is to raise $15,000 so Raina and her family can stay in their current home and get Raina the proper rehab she deserves so she can get back to living a happy/healthy life as a mommy! Any donation amount is appreciated. Thank you for reading this and know you are a valuable piece in this family’s life!


Donations (35)

  • Katie Cochran
    • $1,500 
    • 6 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Lanna Merkley
St. Paul, MN
Raina Thomas

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