Hello to everyone that Reads This,
This is probably the hardest letter I have ever had to write in my life. I really have no other choice. I must write this to all of you. One of the hardest things in my life to do is ask ANYONE for help: because, I have worked hard for everything I’ve had, & I appreciated doing so, I was proud of it. A lot of people can tell you that if you called me for help, it wouldn’t be a second thought, I would come running to you and give you the shirt off my back. I would rather be cold, go hungry & be without before you would, I wouldn’t even think twice about it. It was WHEN, WHERE & WHAT DO YOU NEED.
Now the time has come for me to ask all of you for help & you have no idea how that makes me feel.
I AM IN THE FIGHT FOR MY LIFE, LIKE NEVER BEFORE!
A lot of you don’t know that I was born with a heart defect in 1960. They told my Mother, that they would have to do a special surgery, never performed on someone so young, but wanted to wait until I was 3 & a half years old. They wanted to see my progress and assured my Mother that I would be fine for the time being. My Mom had to take me to the hospital by train & taxi many times to get checked during that waiting period. I now know how hard that was for Mom. My Mother, thank God was a strong woman & alone. She watched over me as any Mother would, like a hawk. Only problem, normal wasn’t in my DNA. I was an energetic, couldn’t sit still kid, I had to get into everything. I kept Mom on her toes. All she could see a happy boy just lovin life, I didn’t know any better.
In late 1963 I was admitted into the New York Hospital for special surgery in Manhattan, NY, for surgery. I was the youngest they had ever performed a coarctation of the aorta. Nonetheless it was a success. In fact, after the surgery they couldn’t believe my recovery. During my stay, I had those nurses bouncing off the wall chasing me & the other kids everywhere, it was out of control, but lots of fun. I had ALL of the other kids up and running, playing as if nothing was wrong with any of us. The nurses got tired of that and called my Mom & asked her to pick me up a week before they were supposed to release me. The Doctors also told my Mother that this surgery would maybe last 20 to 25 years & then who knows what will happen. LET ME TELL YOU! I have out lasted that prediction 2 and half times! I am 56! Yet, I still had to go back to the hospital to checked out every year until I was 20 and then go see a cardiologist.
Throughout my life I was living & loving it. I played most all sports and most of all enjoyed riding my motorcycle. A lot of you can see it on my Facebook page. Always working hard, making my way. Nothing could ever stop me.
I was lucky enough to have traveled to many, many places in the world & meet some interesting people along the way.
It all came to a screeching stop in 2015. I wasn’t feeling good. I had a severe cold in my bronchial tubes and it was hard to breath. I tried hard to get rid of it, but it wasn’t getting better. My girlfriend Diane at the time was pushing me to go to the hospital. She told me I had stopped breathing a few times when I fell asleep, she had to wake me up. We went to the emergency room. It was busy & I didn’t want to wait so I told the desk, that I had tightness in my chest & I was clinching my left fist knowing that she would want me to get seen ASAP. They immediately started the process for my heart. Doing all the necessary tests in case I was having a heart attack. A few hours later, the Doctor came and spoke with me and gave me the bad news. He said, Richard, you have a serious problem with your heart. Arguing, I said that’s impossible, look at me I’m strong, in shape I exercise 4/5 days a week, I don’t eat garbage food except for some chocolate. You must be mistaken. These tests are all wrong & you’re wrong. The Doctor said stop! First, let me tell you, all these reasons you gave me is probably why you’re still alive. Because you are a walking dead man & what I mean is your heart could’ve stopped any second & that’s it, you die!The fact you lied to get in here so fast helped save your life. You have heart failure & it’s not going to get better. You will eventually need a heart transplant. He then asked me, do you have a living will and just in case get your affairs in order. I did not know what to think. However, I knew one thing nothing is going to stop me from living, I will keep going, I am not ready to go home (and you know what I mean). He said, right now, you will be admitted for more testing. I was in the hospital 4 days. The report said my heart is only working at less than 50% of its capacity.
You will need a pacemaker/defibrillator. After I got out, I saw a cardiologist & he confirmed the diagnosis & set up the surgery.
For the next 2 & half years I was in and out of the hospital plenty. You would have thought I worked there. Despite all my best efforts and working hard to stay as healthy as possible, my heart continued to fail more & more. I had my 1st heart attack in June 2015. I was determined not to give in, because I will not go quietly into the night. I Thank God for another day & allowing to too live, I say it every day . Winners want the ball when the game is on the line, I want the ball! Very determined, I tried to stay active starting a motorcycle detailing business, yet my shortness of breath and getting tired quickly. The Doctor told me I had no other choice but to give that up. That too was very hard, I simply did not give up easy. Until I got sicker & had no other choice. I really enjoyed doing it. It gave me great joy to see my customers happy face when I was done.
A good friend Frank was very adamant, that I go to Cleveland Clinic & see a cardiologist. I went back to my cardiologist I was seeing, & he agreed. The Doctor had a great repour with the Cleveland Clinic transplant team. I was blessed enough to get an appointment to see one of the top pre-heart transplant teams in the nation. They started extensive testing for consideration. They did a complete physical examination from head to toe. It was thorough and sometimes exhausting. After a couple of months of testing. What a blessing to have received the news, that my failing the test, gave me a passing grade to prepare for a heart Transplant. They consulted me about the heart transplant process. Unfortunately, it took some time to get placed on a national list, because of some small obstacles. The pressure in my lungs was too high, it needed to come down to normal levels. We worked hard together because they knew I was not a quitter, focused & full of determination.
Physically observing me, my outside appearance since going to Cleveland Clinic in February 2017. I looked fine, until I told you and you coud not believe me.
November 2017, after a right catheterization, I got great news that I now was a candidate for a heart transplant. They had started screening me a few months back to match me up with the right heart. My body size, blood type which was also an issue since I have a special type of blood. I could give anyone my blood, but can only get the same exact match or it would not work. I was not worried at all. Forward we go knocking down whatever was in our way!
That is why it took so long to write this and it is very hard for me. I am listed as a Status 2, I am on the list, but, there is many other people who are in worse condition and they would be given priority status over me, unless the perfect match comes.
Many risks can develop such as certain types of cancer and likelihood of infections. I pray for strength daily to keep going.
On average, a heart transplant costs close to $1,000,000. Not included in that cost is the $5,000-$11,000 monthly for the anti-rejection medication or any additional expenses incurred after the transplant. Medical insurance will pay what is allowable under my plan, yet there is still a huge financial burden associated with the transplant that has been & will continue.
That said, I need your help! I will start incurring thousands of dollars of debt & I will not be able to "Rob Peter to pay Paul". This GoFundMe page has been activated because my situation has become urgent and I simply can’t continue to cover any & all the costs on my own at this time. I have exhausted all the money I saved & my retirement funds, during the past 3 years. However, this is one area where you can help! The money donated here will all go directly to expenses associated with the transplant, including hospitalizations, rehabilitation, healthy food, medications, the currently weekly traveling back & forth for testing, and the lengthy recovery process. No amount is too small. Any amount will be humbly appreciated, so I can focus solely on getting healthy & back to the game of LIFE. I would sincerely appreciate you taking a moment to share this with anyone & everyone you can. With your help, I will heal and get back to helping others again! Please continue to pray as I adjust for the future I will be facing and focusing on the long road to recovery.
Here's my GoFundMe link: https://www.gofundme.com/richa rds-heart-transplant-fund
If you could support my GoFundMe by making a donation & then sharing it with your network, I would greatly appreciate it. I know that money can be tight, so please know that even $5 helps me get closer to my goal! Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them.
Thank you from the bottum of my heart!
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