Those who know Sammy will know his strong desire to help others. For those who don’t, he’s a persistent, solutions-oriented man who cares greatly for other people. This is evident in Sammy’s career in health care. It is also evident with his volunteer work on the Swift Current and Area Ministerial Association’s Refugee Committee. Sammy’s willing help in sharing his medical knowledge, translation skills, cultural awareness, business sense and friendship was a huge part of what made the resettlement of a family of 13 former refugees successful over the past two years. Sammy has a big heart, both figuratively and literally.
Sammy and his family have experienced much personal loss due to a congenital heart issue. Sammy lost two siblings and his Mother to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and heart function of less than 25%, each of them at an untimely early age. Sammy was 16 when he was told that he, too, suffers from this. He has been closely-monitored by cardiac specialists since that time and has had a few heart surgeries already. Early this summer, he began having further heart issues which resulted in hospitalization on three occasions due to heart failure. Sammy has been given six months to one year of life expectancy and was advised that his only hope of survival is a heart transplant. He began the long and daunting process towards transplant, which will require regular trips to Edmonton for care, testing and, eventually and God-willing, a heart transplant. He was told by the transplant team in Edmonton that he cannot work during his wait for surgery, nor for two years post-transplant. His monthly medication costs alone are around $950 per month, some of which are not covered as they are brand-new to the market. In addition to future medications, Sammy will require physical rehabilitation and home care after the transplant. He’s also learned that he must live in Edmonton for three months after the surgery. Upon returning to his home in Swift Current, he’s required to drive to Edmonton bi-weekly for six months, then monthly for specialized follow-up care. Most of Sammy’s current benefits are nearing max-out already, with some expiring December 31/18. This is the estimated time that Sammy’s transplant team is anticipating his surgery. This means that Sammy will lose his benefits at the time he needs it the most, making his need for help take on an urgency. This is, understandably, all very emotionally and financially overwhelming to Sammy and to his family.
Sammy’s life journey has not been an easy one. Despite the adversity he has faced, he has not let bitterness or resentment take root. Instead, he’s worked hard to become resilient and to be a caring support to those around him. Sammy was very reluctant when this crowd-funding option was suggested to him. He is used to being the helper and not the one accepting help. However, the financial burden he’s facing is very significant. While none of us has the power to fix Sammy’s health, we can come alongside him to show our love and support practically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Please consider a donation to Sammy’s transplant journey -- know that his love, thankful prayers and humble appreciation goes with you. God bless!
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- Lyle and Debbie Simonson
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