There is a family that those of us at KeepVolunteering.org have grown to love dearly. In December of 2010, the week before Christmas, they lost their oldest child that was special needs . As if that was not hard enough for them to deal with, they then lost their home in the April 27th tornadoes. Not only did they loose their home but so did their father, brother and sister-in-law. Then in June of this year, the husband lost his job. Things have really piled up for this family this year. Our goal was to get this beautiful family in their new home before Christmas rolled around. It looks like things are about 2 weeks behind.
Despite all of this, when I ask the wife what their needs were she asked one thing. She asked that we try to help her friend. Her friend has had a rough year too….a rough couple of years. Read below to get the whole story.
In December of 2007, my husband, Jeff, was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery was scheduled immediately, not knowing if it had spread to his lymph nodes or not. He underwent 2 aggressive surgeries within 3 months of each other. The first to remove the mass and any nearby tissue & lymph nodes. His physician decided it was a good idea to do a complete lymphectomy of the face & neck and partial removal of the parotid gland.
After 2 years of routine check ups and scans that all came back ok a strange mass appeared. Due to its rapidly increasing size and location Jeff’s physician decided to send him to UAB to a head & neck specialist. After a consult and the tumors ever increasing size surgery was scheduled ASAP.
We knew the risks of this surgery but the benefits outweighed them. September 7th was probably one of the longest days and just when I couldn’t stand it anymore the nurse called us back into the room to wait for the surgeon to come out. He came in and told us that everything went well and he felt that he got the majority of the cancer but had to sever Jeff’s facial nerve due to the tumor being so large and wrapped completely around it this has caused paralysis on the entire left side of his face. There were more tumors in the lymph nodes in Jeff’s neck that had presented since his scan a couple of weeks prior and the surgeon was almost certain that they would test positive for cancer as well. He said Jeff would need to go through 6-8 weeks of radiation treatment to eradicate whatever if anything was left. He explained Jeff would have to teach himself how to eat given the paralysis and would also have to undergo surgery as soon as the occuloplastic surgeon would schedule an appointment to implant a gold weight so that Jeff’s eyelid would close without him having to manually close it. If not he could lose his eye. As happy as we were that everything went well we were both upset & concerned about what was ahead of us.
After a few weeks and an ok to proceed, we travelled back to Birmingham on October 3rd to have a gold weight implanted into his eyelid. The surgery went well and we got to go home the same day. Jeff had to train his body to relax so that he could close his eyelid.
He was released by both physicians in Birmingham, so on October 17th began radiation here in Huntsville. At first he thought he could work like normal but after a few days his body just would not let him. He then tried working in the morning that became too much for him as well. Thankfully his employer has offered to pay his health insurance until he returns back to work.
Here we are 90 days after his first surgery, 7 weeks into radiation, and 70 days without our sole provider working-We have eaten up what little bit of money we had saved up and have had to apply for all kids for our 3 children, food stamps and Social Security Disability. Fortunately, the sweet people at the Department of Human Resources expedited our case and we were given food stamps almost immediately. Jeff’s Social Security Disability will not be paid until he has been out of work for 5 months, this will not pay out until mid April. The children’s insurance coverage has not been approved as of today. Which puts another layer of stress on Jeff & me given the ages of our children.
Presently Jeff sleeps about 20 out of 24 hours a day, his mouth is covered in ulcers, is unable to eat much of anything and has lost 35 pounds.
We need a bridge between the gap from now until his disability begins.
14 Year Old Boy: iTunes gift card, game stop gift card, he likes Aeropostale & American eagle.
10 Year Old Girl: anything from justice or a gift card, anything crafty, iTunes gift card.
6 Year Old Boy: game stop gift card, anything Legos, matchbox anything
If you can join us in helping these families please contact us. 256.429.9254 or info@KeepVolunteering.org We have seen some miraculous things happen over the past 7 months and especially in the past week, we know it is possible. Please consider join us, for we all know, KeepVolunteering.org would not accomplish anything if it weren’t for the Grassroots volunteers like you! We love you all and hope you have a Merry Christmas!