Will Swaim, Our One in a Million

OUR ONE IN A MILLION FRIEND IS NOW ONE OF 8 MILLION WHO SUFFERS FROM, NOT ONE, BUT TWO VERY RARE DISEASES.  Polymyositis affects 8 in one million people; the estimated incidence of dermatomyositis is 9.63 cases per million.  The statistics for anyone who has two of the myositis is unknown.  These diseases are  sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and are also autoimmue.  Our friend, mentor, angel, and loved one, Will Swaim, is one of the unknowns because he suffers from both.  He also has SFN and his Diagnostic Neurologist believes there is still another undiagnosed disease.

Will started to feel bad a few years ago, he was extra tired and his muscles ached horribly bad.  He thought it was just a part of growing older, but the symptoms worsened and new ones were forever popping up.  He saw a neurologist who diagnosed him with anxiety and said, “come back in a year.”  After months and months of pain, along with cardiac symptoms, he told Sarah he was surely dying.  She told him she was taking him to Wake Forest Baptist ER.  He put up an argument, but Sarah won and shortly they were sitting in the Wake Forest Baptist ER.  After 9 hours, Will was finally seen by a doctor who realized he was dealing with a sick individual.  He was fast tracked to a diagnostician who began a number of tests.  Eight months later, 32 visits and an untold number of tests, some of which were very painful, he received a diagnosis of dermatomyositis. One month later, the doctor called with his last test results and informed him he also had Polymyositis and she felt certain there was yet another diagnosis to be made. 

The love of his life, Sarah, recently wrote, “Will's Mom, Vivian, told me the story of him giving away his coat a to a boy at school who didn’t have one and that was the beginning of a lifetime of giving. He is generous, loving, and warm to everyone.  He is kind, gentle, and a very humble soul.  Will prays for everyone who request prayers and those in need who don't, he hands me dollars when I see needy people on the street. Before he got sick, he was out the door as soon as he got a call that someone needed something.  He has secretly built handicap ramps for people in the hospital and has also put his woodworking talents to good use carving beautiful canes for people in need. Will is an extremely talented artisan who gave away most everything he made. He built beautiful arts and crafts furniture, is a folk artist and his bird carvings in demand.  He is a musician no longer able to play; however, he did play his mandolin at weddings, funerals, church and just for fun.  He wrote a special and very beautiful instrumental at the bride’s request for his step-daughter's wedding.  He has donated his handiwork at church, made sure families with no money had toys to give their children each Christmas, bought groceries for the hungry, supplied for people who have lost everything in a fire, taken other people to their doctor appointments when we barely had enough gas to get there and back. He is so tender hearted he still cries when he watches ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or when a gospel song comes on the radio that reminds him of his grandparents.  He has given our last dollar away to someone less fortunate.  He gives to couples who have lost a child or a young child who has lost a parent too soon. He is kind to people when they aren’t kind to him and he always speaks to children when they say “hello.”  If anyone is good, it's Will.” 

Will is unable to work.  Sarah has Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren's Syndrome and a disease of the spine, so she is disabled and receives disability benefits which are not enough for their needs.  Needless to say, they are struggling and, if things continue to decline, he will be unable to make his appointments and definitely not the much-needed trip to Johns Hopkins.  Will and Sarah are going to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital sometimes twice a week.  Will needs to be seen at the myositis clinic at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore in order to get the correct treatment.  Their automobile is a 1993 Jeep Cherokee that needs much work in order to continue to make the trips or they need a good used automobile.  Will's needs are great and they include help with his insurance premiums in order to keep his health insurance, medical travel, ever growing hospital bills, some of which not covered by insurance, prescription cost, auto repairs, funds for Johns Hopkins trips, daily living and household bills until he is approved for disability.  

Will and Sarah don't ask for help – they are always helping others and they are genuinely good people.  This is why we would like to raise enough funds to help for no less than 6 months, although his needs will be much greater.  

Will’s hopes are very high – he claims he will, one day, be well enough to work again.  In the meantime, Will needs and deserves help. We hope you will be able to give to our angel and hero.  Thank you for your help and may God richly bless each and every one.  If you can offer only a prayer, they will be thankful for such a wonderful gift.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Robin Berrier 
Thomasville, NC
William Swaim 
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