Help Jo Survive Lyme's

$5,478 of $34,000 goal

Raised by 37 people in 1 month
This is Jo. She is one of my best friends and favorite people.

Jo contracted Lyme’s at age 12, and spent years coping with symptoms ranging from nerve pain to early dementia before being diagnosed at age 23. For eleven months she was forced to allow her condition to deteriorate in order to meet testing and treatment criteria— despite having received a positive test from the outset. During that time, her symptoms escalated to include:

-brain lesions affecting focus, memory, and resulting in Bell’s palsy
-muscle and joint pain resulting in falls and occasional inability to walk
-nerve pain so severe it led to vomiting
-heart palpitations, low blood pressure, and brachycardia severe enough that her doctors feared she would require a pacemaker.

After enduring these worsening symptoms, Jo was finally eligible for an aggressive course of long-term antibiotic and antiviral treatment. Unfortunately, due to Jo’s heart condition and the intransigence of insurance providers, the closest doctor willing to provide the course of treatment Jo needed was in central Pennsylvania.

Jo’s brother also suffers from Lyme’s and has been receiving the same course of treatment, having begun two years before Jo was eligible.

Every two weeks, Jo and her brother travel 700 miles round-trip to central PA to receive injections of antibiotics and associated supplements. These treatments attack the Lyme’s while allowing her body to tolerate the extreme dose of antibiotics she requires over the three years she’ll be receiving treatment (not unlike chemo and the associated cocktails). 

The good news is that Jo’s brother is a few months away from completing treatment. The bad news is that the family is wiped out financially, physically, and emotionally from this ongoing journey and Jo still has 18 months of treatment in front of her. Her mom has wiped out her retirement account and all other available financing options to help pay for treatment. Jo has consistently worked 50-70 hours a week in service positions to finance her healthcare costs, with the exception of a few months when her condition worsened to the point that she was forced to work only 40 hours/week. Her mother works 50+ hours a week to help. Her brother is attempting to finish his associates and work simultaneously.

Asking for help is hard, but the reality is this family can’t complete this journey alone. The remaining treatment for Jo will cost just over $68,000. They are asking for help with half that amount— $34,000. While this sum may seem (and does feel) unthinkable, it covers:

-Two doctor’s visits a month (not covered by any existing insurance plan)— one for $800, and one for $1,100— each covering the intramuscular antibiotics and supplements, as well as bloodwork, additional medications, and doctor’s fees. Insurance partially covers prescription medications including mepron, azithromycin, doxycycline, acyclovir, and nystatin. Nonetheless, out of pocket, these cost $200 per month. Combined, medical treatment alone will cost $37,800 over the next 18 months.

This does not include the cost of gas, wear and tear on the family car, wages lost to make the fourteen hour trip, or any of the seven supplements that Jo’s doctor has insisted Jo take to manage the side effects of Lyme’s and the medication on the function of Jo’s thyroid, liver, digestion, and heart.

Jo has finally accepted that she cannot do this with family support alone. She is asking for her community to help her and her family to finish this treatment, which will subsequently allow her to be the community member, daughter, and friend that we all know her to be. As Jo put it “I want to be on the giving end, not the receiving end.”

While the total amount we need to raise may feel overwhelming, please trust that every dollar donated is not only of immediate help to Jo and her family, but is an important display of love and support for one of the toughest women I know. If you’re not in a position to give now, please consider sharing this fundraiser (and, if applicable, a little love note to Jo— she could use it.)

Thank you so much for any help you are willing to provide. It means more than Jo and her family could possibly say.
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$5,478 of $34,000 goal

Raised by 37 people in 1 month
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