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TEAM RICKY AND HIS LUNG TRANSPLANT JOURNEY

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TEAM RICKY! HELP SUPPORT RICHARD MARTINEZ ON HIS LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY

My name is Jordi Debertomeu and I have been by Richard's Martinez side for over 14 years. He is my life partner, my soulmate, and the person I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with. 
 
This year has taught us how important family and friends are. Those who know Richard well will agree that the Christmas season is the most joyful time for him. He enjoys everyone gathering together, singing karaoke, getting a giant Christmas tree, and putting decorations around the house. This year was extra special as it was his first Christmas at his new home. Unfortunately, after waiting hours in line to take a PCR test on Christmas Day, the news he didn't want to hear came through. He was diagnosed with COVID-19. At that point, Richard didn't think that his life was about to take a turn of 180 degrees. Instead of celebrating the holiday season, New Year, his 14th anniversary with his life partner, and his 53rd birthday on April 10 with all his family, he spent all these celebrations on a bed in the ICU.
 
Our friend Richard Martinez has spent more than 100 days FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE and still counting. Over the last 15 weeks, Ricky has undergone 10+ emergency surgeries, was in a medically induced coma for more than 60 days, and continued breathing through a ventilator for 95 days and counting. He is connected to a life-supporting machine named ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) for 92 days and counting. (As of April 12, 2022). Between the ECMO, the ventilator, and emergency surgeries, the fact that Ricky is still with us is a testament to his will, his strength, and God's power.

We intend to use this platform to give an update and overview of Ricky's fight over the last three months and the battles he still has ahead of him.

 
ABOUT RICKY'S MEDICAL JOURNEY:
In 2019, Ricky was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease, which causes scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs. The scarring causes stiffness in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe and get oxygen to the bloodstream. Lung damage from ILDs is irreversible and gets worse over time. With medication and monthly medical supervision, he managed to have his condition under control until he contracted COVID-19, even while trying his best to protect himself from it. Ricky was immunocompromised before attracting the virus, which meant that the virus was able to run its course with less resistance.

On December 28, 2021, three days after he was diagnosed, his symptoms started to worsen, and his oxygen saturations crumbled. Ricky was rushed into the ER and immediately admitted to Cleveland Clinic in Weston as a high-risk COVID-19 patient because of possible complications with his ILD. His condition quickly deteriorated, and he was placed on a ventilator on January 7, 2022. The hope of recovery diminished when the doctor advised that he only had a 10% chance of survival. After a couple of days on a ventilator with no improvement and not responding to the treatment, he was given another chance to live by placing him on a supporting life machine (ECMO) on January 10, 2022. In the following weeks, he suffered 10+ emergencies surgeries and was placed on a dialysis machine for 30+ days as his kidneys started to fail. To this day, the fact he is still with us is a direct testament to the Lord's presence and the answering of our collective prayers.

Nonetheless, Ricky and his medical team persisted through the pain, fear, and uncertainty about how he could ever survive. After two months in a medically induced coma, his medical team began to wake him up and fully understand his condition. The biggest fear was for Ricky to suffer a stroke or brain damage while under sedation and not be able to treat it. As soon Ricky started to wake up, it was quickly evident the damage to his lungs was irreversible; his only option would be a Bilateral Pulmonary Transplant (a transplant of both lungs). A rush of family memories and fears came through Ricky, and his hopes of returning home to his family were gone. This type of surgery is only done at a very limited number of hospitals in the United States and by a very select number of specialists. His candidacy would have to be evaluated by one of three transplant programs in the State of Florida, as Cleveland Clinic in Weston doesn't offer this transplant surgery.

In mid-March, God sent Ricky a ray of light from heaven, and Ricky was visited by Dr. Tiago Machuca, a leading thoracic transplant surgeon. Dr. Tiago Machuca came from Jackson Memorial Hospital to evaluate Ricky for a potential lung transplant and further tests. Because of the confidence of Dr. Machuca and his team at Jackson Memorial, the process to transfer Ricky from Cleveland Clinic to Jackson Memorial was coordinated. On March 23, after 83 days at Cleveland Clinic in Weston, he was transferred to Jackson Memorial, hoping he would be accepted into the program. Since his admission, a great number of cultures, blood work, and tests have been done on Ricky. Every day is a new challenge for him as he continues to build his strength through physical therapy.
We hope that Ricky will continue to get stronger and look forward to him being added to the transplant waitlist in the next few weeks. **A transplant is the only solution that will allow him to live.**
 
OUR GRATITUDE:
We're all very grateful to his medical team, which consisted of dozens of dedicated physicians, perfusionists, respiratory team, surgeons, physical therapists, and nurses who would not give up on him. Words will never fully explain the family's gratitude to the team at Cleveland Clinic that saved Ricky's life and devoted their resources, talents, and hearts to his care. To the team at Jackson Memorial Hospital for their willingness to take on Ricky's case when so many others would not have. And to all the friends, family, co-workers, and strangers that have prayed for him. I can assure you that in time and with health Ricky will be strong enough to tell his story and express his gratitude to everyone that stood with him and by his side during this fight.
 
OUR ASK FOR HELP:
Many have reached out to Jordi and the Martinez family over the last few months asking how they could help. We started this GoFundMe after the collective realization of the financial burden that lies ahead for Ricky.
The long road to recovery and his new "normal" will be filled with round-the-clock care, physical, speech, breathing, and occupational therapy, a lifetime of anti-rejection medicine, and the potential inability to return to being a Cardiac/ICU Nurse at Miami Children's Hospital, (his passion and career for over twenty-five years for fear that any infection could be life-threatening). Whatever the process, however long the timeline, Ricky is not giving up on getting back to the Ricky we all know and miss. Ricky deserves to live life as he had before his fight with ILD & COVID-19. He deserves to focus solely on getting better without the financial pressure he will face. The funds will be used to cover medical expenses like life-term medications, months ahead of physical and occupational therapy, home care nursing, medical visit copays, and any other unexpected medical expense.   
 
Thank you! Any Donation Helps! Keep Praying for Ricky as he recovers. Please share with your network, friends and family on social media, Facebook, and Instagram among others. 
 
During this time of crisis, we asked God to bring Ricky back to us. We believe in the power of prayer, and we would like to kindly ask each of you to pray for our beloved Ricky.
 
Dear Jesus, Divine Physician and Healer of the sick, we turn to you in this time of illness. O dearest comforter of the troubled, alleviate our worry and sorrow with your gentle love and grant us the grace and strength to accept this burden. Dear God, we place our sick under your care and humbly ask that you restore your servant to health again. Above all, grant us the grace to acknowledge your will and know that whatever you do, you do for our love. Amen.
 
Ezekiel 37:5
“Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
 
Isaiah 41:10
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
 
Jeremiah 17:14
“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”
 
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Donations 

  • Anonymous
    • $1,000 
    • 2 yrs
  • CHRISTIAN SALDANA
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Jorge Francisco
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Luis O Quevedo
    • $1,000 
    • 2 yrs
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Organizer

jordi de bertomeu
Organizer
Miami, FL

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