At age 6, she was diagnosed with SLE Lupus, an auto immune disease that often affects a major organ. A few months after she was diagnosed, the Lupus began attacking her kidneys and she needed to undergo chemo treatments to stop the lupus flares. Over the course of 15 years, Vicki underwent 32 chemo treatments to bring her back into remission each time.
In 2009, Vicki met her wonderful husband, Clint Strever, and they were married in 2010.
In 2012, Vicki learned that her kidneys were rapidly failing and were functioning at only 20%. In 2013, she started the transplant listing process. In June of 2014, Vicki learned that her kidneys were only functioning at 8% and she began dialysis. Just when it felt like time was running out, she received the best news possible: a live donor was a match. Vicki received her kidney transplant on December 9, 2014. Finally, it seemed, things were going to be better and she had a new “lease on life”.
But, unfortunately, the anti-rejection drugs started causing bad side effects. After a few weeks, it became harder to walk and then impossible to stand on her left leg. The left leg bent backwards at the knee and her best option was to cross her legs while sitting. The transplant doctors finally changed her anti-rejection drugs after two years and switched to a monthly IV drug. While the new IV drug has helped reduce the tightness in the left leg, she still cannot stand on her left leg. Trying to find a solution, Vicki went to Mayo Clinic in late December 2016. Her last visit in July ended with no follow-up visits. Seems she is a difficult case and there is no easy solution. The damage from the anti-rejection drugs may not be reversible.
Once able to walk, Vicki has had to get around by sitting on a cheap office chair and pushing herself backwards to go places in her home, or use a scooter or be pushed in a transport wheelchair. Due to her sitting on these modes of transportation she has developed sores and other medical problems.
The physical therapy doctor at Mayo Clinic has ordered an electric wheelchair with all the options that will help Vicki to do the everyday things she cannot do now. The electric wheelchair is the best solution for her to once again be independent.
Unfortunately, insurance only pays for the basic wheelchair, but thanks to a grant from Permobil Cares Foundation most of the cost of the rest of the chair was covered. There is only a small outstanding balance. Vicki’s goal is to be able to do things for herself and to get around independently. Now that Vicki has thw electric wheelchair, she needs a van that is equipped to transport the electric wheelchair. Cost estimates for the van are between $83,000 and $85,000. With no other way to pay for these expenses, Vicki is looking for your help.
All donations will be used to help Vicki pay for the wheelchair and a handicap van.
Thank you for reading Vicki’s story and for any support you can give.
- Julie Cianfrogna
- Jessica Lambert
- Father John Peeters, CSV
- Gilbert Sebenste
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