My name is William Simmons Jr. I was born with a birth defect know as Tetralogy of Fallot. A very rare birth defect, fewer than 20,000 cases occur per year.
Bringing this in to context, in 1964 the year I was born. The other 5 cases that I knew of personally in the same time period and area as I, have all passed away.
So, out of six that I knew of personally, I am the only surviving person.
After living my early life up to age of 25 or 26 in a very destructive way, my life changed. I become a Born-Again believer, and my Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ. But life did not get any easier, I fought for several years for disability, but because I had work in my earlier years, the Social Security administration determined that I could work. That being said, in 1994 I met a woman who would change my life completely.
Linda and her 4 children became a part of my life and as mentioned above changed who I was in many ways. May 25 1996 we were married and have spent the last 20 years happily married, and we are fighters. I went out the gate like gang-buster working as many hours in a week that I could humanly work, and we struggled like any other family financially, but it was our American dream.
I had my share of physical issues, and kept many concerns to myself, let me say at this point, health insurance was ridiculous, and was not mandatory. So I avoided all the issues I should have been watching.
I worked, and worked, and about 10 years ago I had a scare that changed my life.
I began experiencing chest pains, this pain I was experiencing was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. I went to the hospital, and for the next 2 years they tested and poked me, and more tests, and more tests. With no diagnosis, the fear of the unknown started to weigh heavily on me. I continued to work, and continued to seek medical advice.
As this was all going on my wife Linda was also dealing with her own medical issues, and even had several surgeries that were very extensive. I was dealing with this, and working and helping my best friend deal with her own issues. Linda and I were away from our faith through a portion of this time, due to my own stubborn ways.
Our son Tony was attending a Church in Warwick RI, and we visited, and since visiting we have become members and are very active in the Church. The support were have received from this group of people has changed our lives in many ways.
Finally I thpought I had a diagnosis, finally there seemed to be a chance at some relief from the chest pains, I thought anyways. Costochondritis also know as Tietze Syndrome, an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone. The cause usually isn't known. In some circumstances, it develops after trauma or a muscle strain. Costochondritis causes pain and tenderness on the breastbone, pain in more than one rib, or pain that gets worse with deep breaths or coughing. Treatments include injections to relieve pain, medications, and therapy.
So I got shots into the chest, imagine a needle being inserted into the chest and the injecting medication going into the cartilage. It was painful and scary. After the first TPI - trigger point injections, nothing. So we set up another round, and relief, some relief was found, it dropped the pain level from 9-10 into the 5-6 range, managable on a daily basis, and I also started a medication regiment.
During this time I had a fall off a delivery truck I was working on, and was out of work some 7 months, and did not think that I would be taken back to this company. We prayed about it and everything and the Lord opened a door at this company where they created a position for me. I have no special schooling, in fact I received my GED at the age of 28, but this company gave me a job, that many people go to school for, Executive Assistant at this company.
God was so good to us, we were able again to make ends meet, and get a bit ahead of the game. But the chronic pain continued, and now I was dealing with the multiple issues in the back, including compressed discs, and possible never damage. Along with the pain in my chest.
About 1 year ago, one day at work, I could not feel my legs, or anything from the waist down, I had a few falls in the months prior to this, but shrugged it off as I was just getting older, but that morning, I could feel nothing, I had no urgency to go to the bathroom, and could not feel the ground under my feet. this concerned me even more that the other issues I was dealing with. So I took a medical leave, and went on TDI. Then in January 2016 the Owner call me and advised me that the position they created for me was no longer available, and that the company had no hours to offer me.
So I went and took some counsel from the Elders of our church and they agreed with me to apply for total disability again. I went through this in the early 90's, and this is a brutal process, and anyone who has dealt with this knows how brutal it can get. I hired a Lawyer through help with the one of the Elders at the Church, and the process started.
Apply and get denied, and appeal, this is the what happens everytime anyone applies for disability, and this is what the lawyer is hired to deal with. I might add at this point, the chest pain is back, and the back pain is still there, and has increased. The lack of feeling below the waist is still on going. Since this started I have had over 40 falls. I fell one day down the stairs, knocked myself out, no one was home. I had a knot the size of a golfball on my head, and a mild concussion. The fear of falling down stairs has become more concerning, since our house only has 3 rooms, and the bedroom is down the stairs. I also fell just walking to a sink at a friends house, I broke a coffee cup in my hand on that occasion, this again has brought me into the place of fear of the unknown.
I must let you know that I do not fear the future or what it brings, but I am concerned about caring for Linda and myself, and sustaining the life we are living which is very modest. We do not live in extravagance, we are simple, we enjoy our family and friends, and live modestly. Our 4 adult children and 6 grandchildren keep us happy and fulfilled.
I am seeking these funds to sustain us until the total disability assistance comes in, if it does. In the mean time, the State of Rhode Island may help us a little, but they will not cover our rent, car payment and other neccesities we will have over the these months ahead. TDI has been exhausted, and now the dependence on our God is increased. Help from friend and family and at this point on complete strangers prayerfully begins. It will be hard we know, but we are trusting that God will work on our behalf, to meet the needs we will have, as we continue to live our lives by faith and not by sight.
Our appreciation for anyone who would think of contributing to this is just a show of God's hand upon our lives and our circumstances.
We can not even express the gratitude for your consideration. Some of you do not know us, some of you already know our circumstances, but either way our trust and faith is in the Lord. We thank you all in advance, and will we be praising our Lord and Savior for the help from each and every supporter who thinks that this is a cause that they would consider to support.
Linda and I through God's provision will get through this, our trust will always be in our Lord. Scripture says in Philippians 4:19 "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
In the Hymn Amazing Grace we sing, "The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures." Another favorite Hymn of our that keeps our faith foucused on God and His provision for us is, "His Eye is on the Sparrow. "Let not your heart be troubled, His tender word I hear, and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."
We consider it God's providing hand if you choose to fund this campaign, we will continue to pray and seek the Lord's guidance as this trial continues. We will not be overcomed by this trial. Our Lord will sustain His own, and His providing hand continues to amazes us.
We will continue to serve Christ, for His Glory,
William and Linda Simmons
Thank you all very much, may the God of all peace and grace bless you!
- Paul Baloche
- Elizabeth Lapointe