Luke's Corneal Degeneration Fund
My “little brother” and best friend Luke recently developed Keratoconus [ker-uh-toh-koh-nuh s], a degenerative disease of the cornea (we’re talking eyes here – yes his big, beautiful blue eyes). This disease causes loss of vision and eventual blindness. Doctors believe the condition was triggered by Lyme Disease that Luke contracted a few years back. We caught and treated the Lyme Disease right away, but it didn’t take long for Luke and the eye doctor to notice a significant change in his vision following the event. It’s been nearly three years now and there has been little success in getting Luke into glasses or contacts that provide adequate vision. Not to mention his vision continues to deteriorate as weeks and months pass. Through a miracle of God, Luke has had the opportunity to see a cornea specialist in the Minneapolis area while serving his second year as a missionary with NET Ministries. The specialist is confident that we can help his vision with specialized large-diameter, hard contact lenses that will encourage his corneas to maintain their current shape. However, to actually STOP the degeneration and progression of Keratoconus, Luke will need to undergo a collagen cross-linking procedure (yeah that’s eye surgery), that will completely stop any progression of the disease. The specialist is recommending that Luke get the procedure as soon as possible, and our goal is to make sure it happens in the next six weeks.
Here’s the catch: Luke’s new contacts cost $1,100 and will need to be replaced every 12-18 months. In addition, the necessary cross-linking cornea procedure has been considered experimental in the United States. While the procedure was recently approved by the FDA, it will take nearly two years for insurance companies to begin paying for it… leaving Luke and the Billing family with an approximately $6,000 medical procedure to undergo in the next six weeks.
With doctor visits, multiple trips to and from Minneapolis, Minnesota, corrective contacts, and the cross-linking procedure, the Billings are looking at costs up to and beyond $10,000 (not covered by insurance).
Luke is an extraordinary young man who is doing the best he can to share the incredible gifts God has given him for the good of others. Luke has impacted the lives of those old and young through his spirited convictions, deep-thinking temperament, and determined attitude, and I can’t imagine this nineteen-year-old “world-changer” without the use of his eyes.
We would be eternally grateful for your generous contribution to help ensure Luke’s vision for the rest of his life. Whether you know Luke personally, know the Billings, or know someone who’s been impacted by them, your support will go a long way in blessing this family, and ensuring that the good work God has begun in Luke Billing will be brought to completion in Christ Jesus!
Finally, Luke's dad Andrew Billing will serve as the beneficiary for this campaign. He and Luke's mom Colleen will handle all of the generous funds received while Luke is serving on NET, and manage them according to Luke's medical needs.
We reached our goal only minutes before midnight last night, and the generosity continues to pour out. All funds received exceeding our goal will be put into a "Replacement Contact fund" that Luke can tap into as he needs to replace his very specialized contacts every 12-18 months.
Luke's parents Andrew and Colleen Billing will be managing these funds and serve as the beneficiaries on Luke's behalf. Some have mentioned a desire to send checks to the family directly. Feel free to send any support to them here:
Andrew and Colleen Billing
37 Roslyn Road
Westmont, IL 60559
We'll be in touch with updates as they come, but please continue to keep Luke in your prayers!
We love you all.
Peace in Christ,
Ryan and Holly Essington
I've watched your generosity pour forth over the last 24 hours, and as we approach our goal there is nothing to be said but THANK YOU.
There is only about $600 left before we reach the $10,000 mark! That is incredible. Now take a good look at those baby blues you helped save, and pat yourself on the back!
Sincerely... thank you all so much.
Can I just say that was the most marvelous and hope-filled thing I have seen happen in 24 hours in a long time? Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and this beautiful community!!