Sue met Amy Fiore Garrison in 1978 when we were both in the 5th grade. We grew up together, enduring junior high, high school, college, grad school and life in different states.
Becky and Maria met Amy in 1988 at Washington & Jefferson College. They've remained best friends ever since.
Amy wanted to be a doctor from the very beginning. She also wanted to be a mom. And she wanted to enjoy her life.
Amy has achieved several of her goals - she graduated medical school and practiced in Pittsburgh. She married Sean in 2000 and they had Faith Marie who is now a smart, vibrant 14-year-old.
Amy's resiliency was put to the test when she first experienced symptoms of a rare & nasty autoimmune disorder, Relapsing Polychondritis, in 2007. She had to stop working in 2010 and over the years has faced a series of ongoing health challenges & side effects that have occasionally left her confined to a wheelchair or hospitalized, but never derailed her determination to seize life.
A positive attitude won't cure this. Amy and her family will have a life long diagnosis. While we want to improve her quality of life, this is a progressive disease. Doing some things right the first time versus quick fixes will improve the quality of life for the family.
2017 has been especially tough for Amy, Sean & Faith. She has been in the hospital 3 times since the middle of Nov -- 6 times since the middle of July. She was recently discharged after a terrifying battle with Septic Shock. Her insurance denied her the extra week of inpatient PT/OT that her medical team recommended. So she is home, but physically incapacitated & emotionally overwhelmed in her own words.
Amy describes this year as one where she keeps moving backwards in terms of her health.
Amy has a knack for making friends wherever she goes. As her friends, we are collaborating to raise money to help the Garrisons with the many financial stressors this situation has caused. This includes everything from regular housecleaning supports, to copayments, to groceries, to gas money, to whatever they need. The house needs updates for her mobility and safety. They will need a vehicle adapted to her needs. Amy's husband works fulltime, but these expenses are beyond what most families are prepared to absorb.
We can't all be there in person to lend Amy the steadying hand she's offered us over the years. We can't fix this, no matter how much we want to.
We can invest in Amy's recovery from 2017 and her journey into 2018. We can pay forward the joy, love, & compassion Amy has poured into our lives over the years. We can ease some of the pressure she feels and let her focus her energy on being Mom and being Amy, rather than just being a patient.
All great crowdfund appeals are supposed to have a hook. As you know, Amy is quite fond of making hooking puns so here are a few images to remind you of her and hook you into donating!
The funds from this campaign will go directly to Amy. She has consented to let us three friends do this for her.
We want Amy to keep hooking. Please donate!
~ Becky, Maria, and Sue