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W. Gottschalk's Heart Transplant

$120,246 of $130,000 goal

Raised by 323 people in 9 months
To those that know me best, it will likely come as no surprise that I am not one to openly share or discuss my ailments, burdens – nor am I one to ask for help; particularly on an online / social platform.  And for those that don’t know me as well, I tend to keep much to myself.  Unfortunately, as many of you already know, it has been suggested that I initiate a crowd-funding campaign for myself.  I have known this date was coming for the past ten years, and it scares the hell out of me, but the time has come for me to try and get a new heart.   Mine is currently operating at about 18% and its function is trending downward.
     In 2008, I somehow picked up a nasty virus that simply would not go away.  Perhaps it was one of those ‘Super Bugs’ we hear about all the time in the news.  Somehow this ‘thing’ went systemic on me and it began to destroy the ventricles in my heart. After an untold number of tests and bad diagnoses, it was determined I was in severe Heart Failure with an underlying disease called Cardiomyopathy – a weakening of the heart muscle. Essentially, the heart muscle itself no longer had the strength to pump enough blood to the rest of my body and vital organs.  This remains the case today, as there is no cure for Cardiomyopathy – only medical management. And luck.
     After a decade of enjoying varying degrees of cardiac health / function, the organ is simply giving out on me.  I’m seen by one of the best Heart Failure doctors in the country at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago and have been on great meds. I’ve had three heart surgeries and two pacemakers… They have done everything they can and have been gracious and amazingly kind in so doing.  Sadly, but predictably, the efficacy of these meds is waning and my heart simply cannot support my body in a sufficient fashion.  Last week my Cardiologist told me he was initiating the pre-transplant process, which, given the shortage of available hearts in this country, is an absurdly lengthy, arduous and pricey process.
     So, with some specifics, why the Go Fund Me campaign? The long-and-short of it is the astronomical cost of heart transplantation pre, during and post hospital procedure(s). Screenings, months-long hospital stays, organ procurement costs, anti-rejection medicines for life, support of my daughter, three surgeries, loss of wages and not being able to work… The pre–insurance fees can be well over $1.4 M.  Out-of Pocket expenses can easily reach/exceed $120,000. U.N.O.S., the United Network for Organ Sharing, has untold data on expenditures, fees and outcomes on this last form of medical treatment for patients like me.
     With all of that said, I so very much appreciate your time and any financial assistance that you may feel is appropriate, if any.  We may never know when or why our collective health can go sideways on us, but when it does, whether we are giving or receiving help, it is precisely that which keeps us human and of a community.

With immense thanks,
William F. Gottschalk
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Hi again all -

I know its very late and I'm hopefully not waking anyone! Readmitted to Northwestern this eve with what they believe is a pretty serious infection. Been feeling 'off' and white blood cell count quite elevated - this suggests a decent 'sized' infection.

So after a myriad of test results come back tomorrow, a plan will be made. They need to identify this bug and get rid of it ASAP before it has the chance to mess with my new heart!

More to follow as things unfold. Thank each and every one of you for being so gracious, selfless and simply, for being my friend.

Bill
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Hi all -

Quick update for my GFM Team : so far so good with weekly heart biopsies for organ rejection and blood-work is consistently good as well. Unfortunately however, I have developed an arrhythmia (Ventricular Tachycardia) since transplantation and they need to get to the bottom of it. It may be nothing serious, it may be capable of Rx treatment or I may need another surgery to rectify. The episodes , thus far have lasted about 30 seconds to just over an hour.

Fingers crossed that this donor heart didn't come with any pre-existing electrical issues that snuck through their extensive pre-operative testing. I'm ok, family / friends have been amazing, and I just need some clarity and a very solid plan moving forward. I'm four weeks out and this news (or any set-back for that matter) is quite jarring. Or, as my ridiculously formal father would say: "This indeed is a most disquieting development " ha ha ha.

I'll be in touch without killing you all with updates! Have a wonderful weekend :)

BG.
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A humble hello & update to all of my amazing friends & supporters. A lot of you may have already seen this on Facebook, but for those who have not, I wanted to reach out to all my Go Fund Me donors with a quick note letting you all know that I received my new heart last Thursday, May 2nd at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I received a call from the Head of Transplant surgery around 8pm the previous day indicating that a wonderful match had been identified for me and that I need to get to the hospital in a safe but quick manner. After a couple of false starts and a whole slew of last-minute tests, It was a go.......... The surgery took about 6 or 7hours and it went extremely well.

Recovery, as you can imagine, has been and will continue to be one of my life's greatest tests - and I resolutely am up for anything that is thrown my way. The enormity of the gift I have been given, coupled with thoughts of the tremendous sacrifice that another family has made, permeates my conscience much of the time.

I thank all of you so very much for supporting me, but also for showing me that there is still a lot of 'good' out there. I have been given a new life. And that currently translates to me not being able to find the right words to properly express my unwavering gratitude to my family, friends, medical team, and most importantly, to my donor and his/her loved ones.

Onward and upward.

WFG
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Pre-transplant testing & diagnostics begins in earnest this Wednesday. Fingers crossed all goes quickly & smoothly !
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$120,246 of $130,000 goal

Raised by 323 people in 9 months
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