UPDATE - Thursday 8th July 2021
Hi everyone, just to let you know that after two postponements to her surgery, Minnie checked back into hospital on Tuesday and underwent the procedure yesterday. She is now recovering in hospital, the open heart surgery went according to plan and while she has a very long road of recovery ahead, she is doing great and is so appreciative of your support through this time.
I can't thank everyone enough for your generous donations, it's so wonderful to see the music community come together with such gusto. Massive love to you all!!!!
Hi, my name is Leesa and I am a singer/songwriter from Gold Coast band, Hussy Hicks. I have created this fundraising page because my best mate, Minnie Marks is about to undergo major heart surgery which not only means she'll be unable to work for 6 months, but also comes with a mountain of medical fees.
Up to this point, Minnie has already had to come up with well over $5000 during the diagnosis process, and this has all happened during the toughest year for the musical community world-wide, with COVID shutting down our entire industry and making it near impossible for most musicians to make ends meet, even without huge medical costs.
Here is an example of her current expenses:
$1125 in Echocardiograms
$1113 in CT scans
$809 for Respiratory Clinic fees
$855 in pre-surgery dental prep
$943 in medication for Sarcoidosis treatment
$290 in GP appointments and blood tests
= $5135 (and counting)
My aim is to raise enough money so that Minnie can pay all of her medical expenses, her ongoing basic living expenses and get the best possible post surgery care so she can get back to creating and playing her wonderful music for us all as soon as humanly possible. $10000 is an excellent start, but I'd love to see our community band together and smash through this goal to ensure she has absolutely no financial stress over the recovery period.
At this time Minnie has completed all of her pre-surgery prep and will be admitted to hospital next Tuesday June 29 for the procedure (which is explained below) which will be done on Wednesday July 1, so I'm hoping we can get the donations pouring in before she undergoes the open heart surgery.
Just so you can understand what my buddy has gone through, here's Minnies story in her own words:
Well well well...
Where to start ladies and jellybeans. 2021 was a rough start to the year for me and i'm here to tell you why:
For those that know me know that I have had a heart condition from birth (a thickened aorta accompanied by a loud heart murmur). My childhood Cardiologist said that we should just keep an eye on it by monitoring it with Echocardiograms annually. But as you know, life get's busy and I ended up missing a few ECG's (naughty Minnie). 2021 came around quickly and I thought it was more than time to get the old ticker checked out again.
Residing on the Sunny Coast now I decided to sniff out a new Cardiologist. I cruised on in to my appointment (thinking that i'd be sent back home with the same results) but much to my surprise after my tests there were a few jaws on the ground of the Heart Clinic that day.
Turns out I have a Unicuspid Aortic Valve; which is an extremely rare congenital malformation of the heart which affects only 0.02% in the adult population. Crazy right? Well it turns out the universe didn't think that was crazy enough just yet - add a pinch of severe Aortic Stenosis and a dash of severe Aortic Regurgitation and BINGO We've hit the nail on the head. The Doctors were baffled at how I was able to be driving extremely long hours to gigs, then sweating it out throughout the shows like i did, all whilst hitting it hard on the party front and then not feeling any of the side effects of my condition, when I have essentially an 80 year old's heart.
What happened next you ask My Cardiologist insisted I had a CT scan ASAP to make sure I didn't have anything else going on so he could push me through to have urgent open heart surgery... But... SURPRISE They'd found that my Mediastinal Lymph Nodes were incredibly swollen. I was told that it could be the results of Lung Cancer, Lymphoma or an Auto Immune Disease and that I would need to have a Biopsy to determine which one it was before I could be operated on. So it was off to Oncology and Biopsy time I received the results not long after my Biopsy. No Lung Cancer. Wahoo! No Lymphoma. Yee-haa! But an Auto Immune Disease called Löfgren's Syndrome Sarcoidosis. (insert failing trumpet noise: *wah wah wah* here). For those who don't know what Sarcoidosis is: Sarcoidosis is a disease characterised by the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells (granulomas) in any part of your body — most commonly the lungs and lymph nodes. But it can also affect the eyes, skin, heart and other organs. It causes excessive inflammation, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, chest pain, a skin rash (which I currently have been battling with for the past 3 years, if you've come to a gig you may have seen this), dizziness etc. The list goes on. So as you can imagine - this coupled with my heart problems ain't pretty. My energy levels have been rapidly decreasing (which you also may have noticed if you've been at one of my more recent gigs) to the point where I can't even walk up my driveway to take the bins out without losing my breath and almost passing out. Scary stuff for a now 27 year old.
What has to be done I hear you ask. Well It's time for me to get all fixed up so I can keep on living and have my quality of life improved immensely. To do this I have to have open heart surgery urgently to put a new Mechanical Heart Valve in place where my valve is supposed to be (but isn't because it's non-existent). Pretty insane to think I'll have a pure pyrolytic carbon valve in my chest that you'll be able to hear tick. I'm not even kidding, you'll be able to hear my chest tick I'll be a walking Metronome haha.
All in all this is going to leave me with a 8 - 11 inch scar, a huge a** bill from the hospital and next to no work for the next 6 months minimum whilst I recover, not to mention the work I've already had to cancel at the start of this year upon finding out my conditions. Unfortunately I can't do this alone. As you know I'm an incredibly hard working, dedicated musician who finds it hard to receive charity at the best of times. But in a time like this, I need your help.
Thanks for your time everyone. You are all legends and I thank you from the bottom of my dicky heart <3
Absolutely ANY help you can give is appreciated, I know that many of us in the music community have had a tough time lately but I hope that if you can donate to this campaign you'll be helping out one of the most wonderful humans on the planet.
Thanks for taking the time to check this out, please share and spread the word as much as possible and show Minnie how much we love her!!!