Sydney Zirnheld and her Family

Sydney is suffering from eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE) which is a chronic allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus. She's and her twin brother, Zachary just turned 16. Sydney's immune system is so weak that her doctors have advised her mother to keep her out of the hospital despite a severe esophageal infection that is preventing her from eating or drinking almost anything.  She is experiencing severe allergic reactions to most medical interventions including medications, and the plastic bags and tubing used in hospital IVs. 

Sydney's immune system is so hyper-reactive to allergens right now that she cannot step foot into her own home without a bad reaction. After sleeping 3 nights in the family car Sydney has spent the last 3 weeks confined to a hotel room with her brother and mother, Tobi (Dauenhauer) Walters. They tried multiple hotels before they could find one she could tolerate. They just bought a super expensive HEPA air filter that acts as an air conditioner which is critical for her to be able to breathe. If you suffer from the dreaded Ohio River Valley Spring Allergy Season of Doom, you have a glimpse into what this might feel like; except now she can't swallow the allergy medicine because of a lesion in her stomach forcing everything back into the infected esophagus. 

The hotel expense in addition to the medical bills is pushing the family past it's ability to cope financially. It has been an increasingly difficult 2-year journey of medical interventions, multiple infections, and struggles with doctors. If you've ever had to argue with your child's doctors to demand to be heard, maybe you can related. 

Tobi is taking care of Sydney around the clock while her partner, David is doing everything he can to keep the family afloat. Let me tell you about David. Their dad, David, cuts my grass. In fact, for a summer and a half he cut my neighbors grass for free because she was in the middle of her own extended health crisis. When he realized I was paying to cut her grass too, he refused to take the money. He has a full time job, cuts grass all weekend, and now is driving for Lyft. 

Today he cut the grass for the first time this spring. When I ran out to catch him to give him the check he told me how poorly Sydney is doing. This is not a man who asks for help. 

Chronic illness isolates people. Caregivers get exhausted and overwhelmed. It's hard to ask for help because sometimes you just don't even know what you need until the moment you need it. Friends fall away as it's easier to just hope things are getting better. Asking for help becomes harder. David didn't ask for my help. He asked me to call Tobi to get a better description of the severity of Sydney's illness. Tobi didn't ask me for help. She's exhausted and overwhelmed by 2 years of fighting to get her child well. I'm helping because it is so clear they really need help. I'm asking for your help too. Please, will you help? 

I don't think $5000 will cover more than about 40 days in a hotel. They've already spent half of that. Hopefully the hospital in Cincinnati will admit Sydney today (so more hotel nights for Tobi and Zachary plus expenses.) Ultimately they may need a super-clean apartment or even to move temporarily to a colder, less allergen-filled city while Sydney recovers. I'd like to ask for a goal of $10,000 because I know they need it, but lets start with a number we can achieve. Let's collectively kick out $5000 and show them they are loved.
  • Catherine Fargen 
    • $20 
    • 29 mos
  • Vilanne Eddins 
    • $25 
    • 29 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 29 mos
  • Fred Olliges  
    • $10 
    • 29 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 29 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Amber Davies 
Organizer
Louisville, KY
David Zirnheld 
Beneficiary
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