Jake Gonzales Heart Transplant
At the end of July after almost seven weeks of sedated they began to wean sedation and wake Jake up. At the beginning of August he began to come to and started the process of recovery. After Jakes tracheostomy was removed and he learned to breathe on his own we discovered that Jake had suffered brain damage to his cerebellum along with severe nerve damage.
At the end of August, Jake was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in St Louis where he is now learning to regain function of his hands and speech along with the hopes of one day being able to sit up, stand, and eventually walk again. The hopes are with intensive rehabilitation over the next year he can be ready for a heart transplant.
Ali, his wife has been caring for Jake and their daughter Eden (age 1) 24/7. Due to the fact that Jake requires assistance with daily activities at this point: neither one of them know when they will be able to return to work and in the meantime need help to pay for a move to Chicago for a heart transplant, an apartment in Chicago, maintain health insurance, medications and medical bills as they are currently STILL (as of Decemeber 2016) in $40,000 of medical debt from Jake's first hospitalization.
Please give anything you can to help us reach the $50,000 goal!
Hey All! Its been a long time since we’ve posted an update. We have been doing the usual, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, keeping up with a now one year old (WOW)! We were in the slow but sure process of transferring to Duke in Durham, NC, where Ali’s parents just moved to be close to family and have a safe, accessible, and free place to live. We WERE planning on moving to North Carolina just before Christmas. However, we ran into troubles with insurance; then in early October Jake became ill with a staff infection in his LVAD that caused him to be hospitalized and forced him IV antibiotics and home health until just this week. Jake then began to develop a pressure sore from being confined to his wheelchair. It started to become clear that we might have to seek other options that would provide a way to his next operation more quickly.
Shortly after Jake was diagnosed with the infection, I (Ali) received a call from Dr. Nir Uriel at University of Chicago asking about Jake, he had recently heard of his infection and had heard bits and pieces of his story from a mutual family friend. Dr. Uriel and his team, a couple years back took over the LVAD and Heart Transplantation program at University of Chicago, after being trained at New York Presbyterian. They now specialize in high risk cases and transplant and explant people that most other centers will not, people like Jake. He implored us to come to Chicago and asked to be a part of our journey. We brushed off the idea because we didn’t have a place to live in Chicago or money to afford to live in Chicago, it seemed like an unrealistic idea.
However, after the election we realized that Chicago may be our only option. Jake currently has his insurance through a special provision of the Affordable Care Act and an act that now most likely will be repealed or significantly changed. Right now we don’t know if Jake will lose health coverage or when. So with the pressure of the unknown and a center in Chicago willing to take a chance on Jake we knew this is was the best option for our family because they promised to complete Jake’s surgery within the next couple months and give him the highest priority for transplant. Rush hospital in Chicago is also running clinical trials for the type of brain injury Jake has, trials that we could be a part of over the next year, trials that are legitimately helping people like Jake walk again within weeks! Living in the unknown when its comes to insurance and money,Chicago seems like the only guarantee to know Jake will be able to have his next major operation.
Our current plan is to go up to Chicago December 18th through the 20th to meet with the team at U of Chicago and begin to look for a place to live. Jake is from Chicago and most of his family lives there, however no one really has wheelchair accessible housing that we need for Jake so staying with family seems to be out of the question at this point. We will return to Missouri for Christmas and then beginning of January we will be packing up a UHAUL and moving to Chicago.
So here is where you can help!
Jake requires full time care that I (Ali) provide because we cannot get it paid for through insurance and I have a very active one year old so I have not been yet able to go back to work (something that I desperately want to after Jake’s next operation). Because of this our family’s total income per month is $793 from Jake’s disability. I have stayed afloat because of people donating to us over the past year and I was employed until February of 2016. BUT the pot is running dry, I have a little amount of money left. With moving to accessible housing in Chicago with no jobs and little income we will need to pay our entire first year’s rent up front. Cheap rent in Chicago runs about $1,500 to $2,000 per month. Paying the full year up front would be at least $20,000. So we need to raise about $30,000 before the beginning of 2017 to ensure that Jake can have a life saving operation and an accessible home.
Here is what the money raised will go towards:
$20,000-$24,000 to a full year’s rent
$1,000 to flight to Chicago for evaluation (Jake cannot ride in a car long term due to the formation of the pressure ulcer)
$1,000 to moving expenses to Chicago
$3,000 to utilities and medications over the next year
$1,000 to keep Ali insured over the next couple months while she can’t work when Jake is having surgery
So we are asking for help, help to get my husband the life saving operation that he needs. We are selling a majority of our possessions, entering contests, applying for grants and everything you can think of to get to Chicago. We still currently owe about $40,000 in medical debt from his first stay in the hospital that we will not be able to pay on, both of us have thousand of dollars of interest piling up of our $100,000 of student loans in forbearance, we are borrowing a family member’s ten year old car so believe me you will not be funding a luxurious lifestyle for us. You will be fulfilling a wife’s desperate attempt to keep her husband alive and giving a daughter a chance to grow up with her father around. So if you can please give.
How you can give!
By Mail (Check or Cash): 2426 Old Tavern Rd. Lisle, IL 60532
We will have to pay out of pocket for this evaluation and flight to Texas as insurance would not cover it. So far with the evaluation and flight alone we have spent around $2000.00 and we haven't even left yet.
Would you consider giving to our GoFundMe or praying that the physicians and surgeons at Baylor will give us the green light.
I also have a Venmo account that I can accept donations as well if you want to insure that we get 100%. Add me at @aligonzo
We love you all! Thank you!
To everybody who has supported Jacob and all of us, his family, whether it be with your friendship, your financial support or your prayers, THANK YOU. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.