Veteran Family in Crisis

On August 5, 2019 at approximately 5:31 p.m. Larry, our daughter (Savi) and myself (Jess, his wife) were walking home from visiting a family member who had been currently staying at Pruitt Health. We left P.H. and headed down Laurens Street in Aiken to go home. We walked around the downtown Aiken area as a family almost daily... this was just another ordinary day for us. To keep this 'story' as to the point as possible, within minutes a 17 year old with a illegally obtained weapon shot my husband and put both my daughter and I in grave danger. Dae'kwon Simmons turned himself in on warrants for the murder of my husband and  attempted murder (x2) of my daughter and I. My husband spent 5 days at Augusta Health University before he was declared Brain Dead by the State of Georgia. August 10, 2019 at 7:34 p.m. my husband left this earthly world. My daughters daddy will never see her graduate... he will never see so... many... things. Our lives are forever changed.
My husband is a US Army veteran, and a former dog rescuer. I have never met someone as strong, and as passionate, all while living in pain daily. For ten years he has been going to the VA, in constant excruciating pain, yet they've mishandled his case for years. He has always continued to work; to put everyone else's needs before his own. Ten years and over 1000 pages of medical records have brought us here today. The VA has constantly failed my husband, now that doctors are finally digging deeper into ten years of the same symptoms (only worsening over time) the damage is irreversible. Possible diagnosis are currently being tossed around for TBI ( traumatic brain injury) and Lupus and several other things, but currently those two things are what the doctor is leaning towards. All we currently have for sure is a definite diagnosis of emphysema and fibromyalgia. As the Breadwinner of the family, his hospitalization has made our financial situation very scary. We fall into the category of a family living paycheck-to-paycheck, and even then we were barely making it. We were not at all prepared for this sudden hospitalization and we are struggling to stay afloat financially. I am doing everything I can to make sure he is getting taken care of, as well as our daughter. My husband has always been so selfless. I have watched him do things that others said couldn't be done. I have watched him constantly do and do and do for others... this time, he needs to put his health first so that he can continue to be an amazing father to our daughter. We have a long road ahead as we start the fight to get him disability benefits. I have been very hesitant about making a gofundme, but we are quickly running out of options, things to sell and sadly, hope. We are both mentally and emotionally exhausted and hopefully knowing there isn't a worry of electric or water being shut off or rent falling more behind than it is or us not having groceries will ease a little of my husband's stress while he gets the help he needs to get back on his feet. I miss my husband and Savannah greatly misses her daddy. We need him to get better and come home to his family.
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Jess Swearingen 
Aiken, SC
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