The Apollo Fund

$887 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 17 people in 10 months
Created August 28, 2018
The Geissingers

Thank you for reading our story. I am Melissa Geissinger, and my husband Cole and I along with our son Apollo have had one hell of a year. We are computer geeks. We are nerds. We love to play games, go see live music, travel, and we're huge fans of everything Disney.  Basically any chance we have to have a unique experience, we're all about it. As our son grows, we can't wait to expose him to all the awesomeness that this world has to offer. 

But we've been through, and continue to go through a lot of hard times. Things that are fighting to keep us down and kill our spirit. Here's our story. 

The Diagnosis 

In August of 2017, the trajectory of our lives changed when we found out we were having a boy, and that he had a problem with his heart. We would later find out that he had a chromosomal microdeletion (2p16.3) which resulted in a series of heart defects; pulmonary stenosis, double outlet right ventricle, and a large VSD (hole in his heart). Basically, we were in for a long ride. 

The Fire

Then the night of October 8th, 2017 we became victims of the Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa and lost our home in Coffey Park. I was 7 months pregnant at the time, and we were lucky to get out with our lives, our pets, and a few valuable possessions. It was an undeniably traumatic experience. PTSD is no joke. 

View a Video Documentary Short featuring me: Strong Coffey 


When our beautiful boy Apollo was born in December, we began a long road of surgeries and their accompanying complications. He quickly earned a reputation for always taking his own path, earning him the nickname "Curveball Ollie". 

We had him home for months after his third surgery (second open heart surgery) where I had to dedicate my days to caring for him with his feeding tube and ostomy bag which needed to be changed at least once per day, sometimes as many as four times.

As a result, I couldn't work and had to essentially shutter my web design business. We're a single income family now, and worried about having to dip too much into our insurance savings which should really be reserved for our home rebuild. 

Where We Are Now (8/28/18)

Last week we were just finally able to move out of my parents' house and into a rental home in Bodega Bay while we wait for our Coffey Park home to be rebuilt. They estimate that it will be August of next year, and we're hoping it doesn't take much longer than that because insurance will only cover our rent through October 9th. After that we have to pay rent AND mortgage until we can move in. We hope it doesn't come to that.

We're currently in the hospital waiting for him to recover after his fourth major surgery, a take-down of his ileostomy and G tube placement. He caught a cold right after surgery, which is actually a really big deal for a heart baby. He's currently in the Cardiac ICU at UCSF with a breathing tube, waiting for this illness to run its course before seeing if there are any long term effects. 

It's awful to see our strong, bright, incredibly bouncy little boy in a position where he's so helpless and in pain. Our entire life has become a hunt for silver linings, as it's the only way we've been able to make it through and not completely give up on having a life. 

With Your Help

It's hard to stay positive, but you guys - our friends, family, and community have kept us strong.  After the fires, you helped us get back on our feet financially. We're asking for your help again, which is a really hard thing for us to do, but we are still waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel to finally reach us. 

With your help, we can buy dinner, groceries, and not have to worry about overspending on our limited income. We can put some money away for expenses in case our house isn't done in time. We also have no idea yet how much of Apollo's medical expenses we're going to have to pay out of pocket. We might even be able to continue to have little adventures here and there, which is really the only thing that keeps us sane. It's so important to be able to have something to look forward to. 

Thank you for your love and support. We couldn't do it without you guys!

Melissa, Cole & Apollo
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Here's an update!


We were able to come home from the hospital on September 18th, though Ollie is still on oxygen. We tried to wean him off a few times but his body just wasn't ready. He's doing really well on it so far at home, so hopefully soon we'll have a wireless baby! For now, though, it makes traveling anywhere really difficult so we aren't able to go out and do anything fun for a while.

We also have to be extremely careful about exposing him (or us) to anybody that's sick. We've seen what a cold can do to him, and we do not want to put him back in that situation again.

Overall though, he's doing great. He's really close to learning how to crawl and is starting to get up on his knees to lift himself up into a standing position. We're in trouble! He's also making advancements in taking a straw to his mouth, so we're hopeful he may learn how to drink liquids again. Of course it has to be on his own terms.


With the one year anniversary of the fires quickly approaching, there are various things falling into place. We just got word that the CAD drawings of our new home are ready for review, so we'll be sitting down with our builders on Monday to go over everything and see what changes we want to make before the plans are finalized. It feels good to be making progress on that finally.

Finishing touches are being made on the SF Chronicle story which comes out October 4-7th. I'm extremely nervous about being that much in the public spotlight, but I'm proud of the work we've done with Lizzie and the media team on making that happen. Telling our story has been an important and therapeutic thing for us, and an integral element to our healing.

I also just got a tattoo (my first one ever!) to bookmark this point in my life and remind myself to stay strong after everything that's been thrown at us the last year. It's not finished yet, but I'm really loving it so far.

The funds:

Thank you for all of your support so far. Since Cole wasn't able to put full time hours into his work this month, he ended up taking a pay cut. On just one salary, that's a really big deal, so your donations have helped to offset that difference.
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Thanks to everyone who has donated to us so far! We are still at the hospital while Apollo does what he does best and takes us on a roller coaster ride of extreme ups and downs with his health. He's developed an infection, a blood clot, is fighting a fever and has gone through and come back from extreme delirium.

It's been hard to get through it. It gets harder for us to deal every time he takes a turn. But we know he'll be okay and are just really anxious to get to the end of this episode so we can go on with the rest of our lives!

Hang in there, buddy.
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$887 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 17 people in 10 months
Created August 28, 2018
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Constance Bergquist
9 months ago
Michelle Booher-Poggi
9 months ago
Sara Ataiiyan
10 months ago
Amee Sas
10 months ago
Howard Daniel
10 months ago
Mary Geissinger
10 months ago
Lizette Burgess
10 months ago
Joe Sevilla
10 months ago
Amy King
10 months ago
Peg Grady
10 months ago
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