Mariah's Story- A Need for a Kidney

$11,825 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 120 people in 27 months
We are Mariah's  Aunt (Shari Cook) and Grandmother (Jeanne Benta) and are hoping to help Mariah by getting as much exposure as possible.  While Mariah does have medical insurance, it is not nearly enough to cover all of the expenses she will be facing in this medical journey.

Mariah’s diagnosis came to the family as a surprise.  In September 2014, she was being seen for joint pain when her kidneys showed they were failing.  By November 2014, she was diagnosed with Stage III Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).  By July 2015, Mariah’s total kidney function decreased to 15% (Stage IV CKD).  Her biopsy showed the damage was irreversible and the cause was unknown.  As a result of the CKD, Mariah continues to face other medical challenges which require monitoring, including an unknown autoimmune disorder.  She has been through numerous tests (biopsy, echoes, ultrasounds, stomach studies, repeated brain MRI’s, EEG, neurological exams and many more) over the past year and although she is exhausted and her quality of life has diminished for a teenager, Mariah remains amazingly strong and high spirited.

Mariah will have a kidney transplant and has been placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list.  Mariah’s father is also being tested to see if he can be a living donor.  She has asked that her mother be the caretaker for after surgery. The cost of the surgery is estimated at $250,000 of which insurance will cover 80%.  The remaining 20% is at the cost of the family, which does not include aftercare costs upward of $2,000 a month in medications.  A portion of the procedure ($6,800) must be paid up front in order for the surgery to take place (planned or unplanned).

We are asking for your help raising the funds needed for the transplant and aftercare.  Your donation (large or small) will make a great difference for Mariah forever. 

Mariah, as known by her family and friends as "Mona Lisa", is a strong willed 15 year old who is facing a challenge no child should ever have to face. Since her diagnosis, Mariah continues to work hard in school, join extracurricular activities, and attempts to make life as normal as possible, even on her worst days.  Due to her diagnosis, Mariah has been forced to mature beyond her years. 

Mariah is the most giving and thoughtful person who will give you the jacket off her back if you needed it more.  Her daily motto is “This disease does not control me.”  Mariah is one that does not like to bring attention to herself and does not want to be treated any differently just because she is facing an unwelcomed challenge.  Mariah is highly ambitious and dreams of the days she will be able to travel the world freely.  She plans on attending college and majoring in International Politics. 

Mariah has a long road ahead as a transplant recipient and will be on some form of antirejection medicine and immunosuppressive for the rest of her life.  In the future, she may face the challenge of needing yet another kidney as donor kidneys do not last a lifetime.

No family can single handily cover the cost of transplant and aftercare, therefore we are reaching out to you.  Thank you for taking the time to donate to Mariah’s cause.  Every little bit counts.

For information about kidney transplant:  http://www.transplantliving.org/
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Today marks the 1 Year Anniversary of Mariah's Transplant surgery. Today we cry but we cry tears of joy. As we cry tears of joy, we would like to send our condolences to the donor family who is remembering a tragedy this time last year. Our hearts are always with them.

Mariah's health has been great minus some colds (and the flu) here and there. Scooby-Doo is doing his job well to keep Mariah healthy. She still gets some side affects from her medications but in the bigger picture is far more tolerable than your organs failing. After Mariah graduates, she will be slowly transitioning to the adult doctors - something she is not looking forward to. Her pediatric doctors have been so good to her but we feel they have helped prepare her for the change. At this point, Mariah now knows more about her medications than her mom!

Mariah has shown us what true strength, will , and perseverance is. This past year, Mariah has been able to mostly be a teenager this year which was a change for her. Although there will always be small restrictions, Mariah's finds a way to make the best out of life.

Mariah turned 18 on January 21 and was finally able to really celebrate. She had a blast and a birthday to remember.

Mariah has also been accepted to the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University (with a scholarship) for college. She is still waiting on another acceptance before she decides where she wants to go. Mariah's determination got her through High School!

Mariah recently did an interview with 100.3 the Peak for the upcoming UNM Children's Hospital radiothon. As hard as it was, she told her story in hopes that other children will be able to receive the same care and support as she did over the course of her illness. This was part of her way of giving back.

We want to say a BIG HEARTFELT WARM THANK YOU to all those who have supported Mariah during her journey. Your contributions have really made a difference for Mariah and the family. The family (mom side) was financially stressed the past 5 years due to a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Their bankruptcy will finally be completed in about a month - just in time to pick up the monthly medicine costs! They are ever so grateful for all the support and assistance as this was an expensive journey, from medical costs to special dietary needs. The family will now be giving back through becoming Miracle Maker's for other children who are facing their own medical journey's.

Mariah was granted a Make a Wish. Her wish is to celebrate her 1 year transplant combined with her graduation party. Her party will be May 12 @ Desert Greens Golf Course in Albuquerque NM. She would like to celebrate with those who supported her during her journey. At this time, we have 100 seats open. If you are interested in celebrating, please email Stacy at smchot@gmail.com so you can get the details and she can send you an invitation. We will need our final count in March. If you can make it, Mariah would love to see you there!

After her celebration, we will be closing down this account and won't be providing further updates as Mariah is now an adult!

We always thank you for all your support, love, and prayers! God Bless:)

Mariah's 18th!
Mariah & her friends!
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Hello,

Today will be Mariah's 6 month post transplant check-up and she is doing wonderfully! Her doctor's (and family) are very proud of how she has handled this emotional journey, as well as, maintaining great health. Her doctor's tell us it is really hard to get teenager's to follow the strict guidelines with medications and water but Mariah has done an excellent job.

Mariah has been working this summer at UNM Health Sciences as a high school summer intern and is loving her job. She has also been spending lots of missed time with her friends!!!

She had her senior pics taken and is really looking forward to her Senior Year of of High School!!! I have attached a preview! Mariah has asked that her HS Grad Party also be her 1 year celebration of transplant so stay tuned!!

As always, thank you all for your continued support!


Class of 2018
Mom's favorite!
Attitude!
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Hello - Just wanted to provide a short update!

Mariah is feeling really good. She does get sick from all her immunosuppression drugs but the feeling is gone by afternoon.

She has been spending her time resting, going to 3 doctor appointments a week, and doing homework! She started APS Home/Hospital Schooling until they release her to go back to school. She is loving the challenge! She is chomping at the bit to drive again but mom still thinks it is too soon! She has to stay away from crowded places (stores, movie's, dining out) for about another month and a half but she still just wants to drive around.

She will be having her stent removed tomorrow morning which means all surgical procedures will be complete. The doctors are keeping a close eye on her for any signs of rejection and although she is drinking close to 7 liters of water a day, her creatnine is still fluctuating, but within normal kidney function areas. Her doctors are thinking she might be dehydrated from getting sick on her meds and this could be causing the fluctuation. But...the important thing is Mariah looks and feels really, really good!!!

Thanks again for all your support!!!!!
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Great News!!!

Mariah will be discharged from the hospital today (2/3/17). She is VERY happy she is going home to her own shower and bed. She is also VERY happy to finally get some good rest!

There were a few bumps during this stay but she got through them. She is doing everything she needs to do to keep her new kidney happy. She named it "Scooby Doo" (because the original damage to her kidneys is still a mystery) and she got to meet it last night through an ultrasound. A very beautiful kidney they say, which I am sure came from a very beautiful person!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being her cheerleading team - Go "Team Mariah"

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Read a Previous Update
Jeanne Benta
19 months ago
1
1

Hi Mickey. Sorry for the delay. Yes Mariah is ok with your fundraising idea. We truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.. She has been through so much and is blessed with so many prayers and caring hearts such as you. I am not sure what information you need for your marathon fundraising so let me know how I can help. You can also message me on Facebook.

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Jude Voss
16 months ago

I would advocate for her and contact Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix. Contact the coordinators. They saved my daughter's life. Don't wait for the doctors at unm. They are also better equipped and have the the specialists to deal with her. Please feel free to email me. I can talk to you on what we did. Prayers.

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Mikey Bustamante
19 months ago

I haven't received it! You can also contact me via Facebook if the message doesn't go through!

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Jeanne Benta
19 months ago

Hi Mickey. Please let me know if you received my email response. Thank you.

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Mikey Bustamante
19 months ago

Hi guys! I just wanted to let you guys know that I have known Mariah for years through family, and would like to help. I'm currently training for the Duke City marathon, talking place in October, 2016. I'd like to run in accordance with Mariah's Go Fund Me page, and raise money for both the procedure and aftercare. If this is something that you'd be interested in, please please do not hesitate to contact me. We can work out specifics details as the how this would all be happening. I hope all is currently well, and I await your response!

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$11,825 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 120 people in 27 months
Created November 8, 2015
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DG
$25
Drea Gebin
12 months ago
1
1

We love you Mariah!

MV
$100
Mabel Valencia
12 months ago

Get Well Wishes -- God Bless You and the Family that made this Miracle happen. Be Strong and know that you are Loved by many. Peace to you and yours. Always, Aunti Mabel

JP
$125
Jaden Page
12 months ago
1
1

Wishing you a great recovery after your kidney transplant!

$250
Michelle Martinez
13 months ago
1
1

You and your family are always in my prayers! Get well soon beautiful girl.

Jeanne Benta
19 months ago
1
1

Hi Mickey. Sorry for the delay. Yes Mariah is ok with your fundraising idea. We truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.. She has been through so much and is blessed with so many prayers and caring hearts such as you. I am not sure what information you need for your marathon fundraising so let me know how I can help. You can also message me on Facebook.

+ Read More
Jude Voss
16 months ago

I would advocate for her and contact Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix. Contact the coordinators. They saved my daughter's life. Don't wait for the doctors at unm. They are also better equipped and have the the specialists to deal with her. Please feel free to email me. I can talk to you on what we did. Prayers.

+ Read More
Mikey Bustamante
19 months ago

I haven't received it! You can also contact me via Facebook if the message doesn't go through!

+ Read More
Jeanne Benta
19 months ago

Hi Mickey. Please let me know if you received my email response. Thank you.

+ Read More
Mikey Bustamante
19 months ago

Hi guys! I just wanted to let you guys know that I have known Mariah for years through family, and would like to help. I'm currently training for the Duke City marathon, talking place in October, 2016. I'd like to run in accordance with Mariah's Go Fund Me page, and raise money for both the procedure and aftercare. If this is something that you'd be interested in, please please do not hesitate to contact me. We can work out specifics details as the how this would all be happening. I hope all is currently well, and I await your response!

+ Read More
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