Patient of the Month
In 1999, Donice accidentally inhaled pool chemicals and lost 40 percent of her lung function within five minutes.
After the accident, she learned she was suffering from alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic disorder that can severely damage the lungs and the liver. Over the years, her lungs have worsened, and now doctors say a lung transplant is essential to her survival.
When Kwesi was just 18 months old, he was hospitalized with pneumonia. No one knew the cause, and he was eventually discharged after recovering from the illness. Little did his family know that this bout with pneumonia would be the beginning of a lifetime of health battles.
In 2006, Kimetra was diagnosed with lupus, which severely impacted her kidney function.
Earlier this year, her kidneys began failing as a result of the disease, and doctors now say a kidney transplant is critical to her survival.
As a child, Denise was diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, a genetic disorder causing too much copper to accumulate in her liver. In 2012, after experiencing difficulties recovering from a routine surgery, doctors learned she had developed cirrhosis and was in liver failure. A liver transplant is essential to her survival.
At age 10, Jonathon was diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy.
Sadly, a very similar disease took the life of his brother in 2003. This illness has caused heart failure and dilated cardiomyopathy, which led doctors to implant a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The LVAD acts as a mechanical heart to keep his heart beating regularly.
In 2005, after a routine yearly physical, Jorge De Gracia received the shocking diagnosis of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a chronic kidney disease. Doctors now say a kidney transplant is essential. While awaiting his transplant, he endures nine-hour dialysis treatments every day, which take a toll on his quality of life.
When Mark Leatherman was just 13, he was diagnosed with Berger’s disease, which had already begun damaging his kidneys. The doctor told his mother Mark’s kidneys would likely fail in about 25 years. That time has come, and doctors say a kidney transplant is critical to his survival.
Last year, Pam Small was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a disease causing her bone marrow to be replaced with scar tissue.
Doctors say a stem cell transplant is essential. Thankfully, a perfect donor match, who has been found in Germany, will come to the U.S. to serve as her stem cell donor.
One morning in 2006, Joey awoke experiencing congestion and heaviness in his chest.
Assuming he had the flu or a cold, he waited a couple days before visiting his doctor after he was able to find relief with a hot shower and rest. At the doctor’s office, Joey’s blood work revealed a white blood cell count that was off the charts, so he was encouraged to go to the hospital, as meningitis was going around a local university at the same time.
At his mom’s 20-week ultrasound, doctors could see there was a problem with Teddy Reid's kidneys, but they couldn’t tell how severe the problem was. When he was just six days old, Teddy’s parents learned he was in kidney failure and would need a kidney transplant. Although he is on the transplant waiting list, he cannot receive his transplant until he gains enough weight to sustain the operation.
During a high school pep rally in 2003, her younger brother jokingly scared her by jumping on her back, causing her to faint.
After multiple tests, she received the shocking diagnosis of congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy. Doctors say a heart transplant is essential to her survival. However, while she’s sick enough to need heart failure treatment, her heart function has not declined enough to add her to the transplant waiting list.
In 2007, Jack Guarriello was referred to a specialist after a routine physical revealed that his liver enzymes were elevated.
Further testing showed he was battling a life-threatening liver disease, and last September he was diagnosed with liver cancer. In October, he experienced a subdural hematoma twice, requiring two serious brain surgeries and 20 days in ICU.
Moksha has experienced breathing difficulties related to allergies and asthma since childhood. In her early 30s, she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), mainly bronchiectasis, but doctors don’t know why she developed the condition. Testing has also shown that she suffers from other lung disorders including evidence of fibrosis and sarcoidosis. A double-lung transplant is essential to her survival.
In 2004, Sabrina went to the hospital because she thought she was having a heart attack.
Noah is facing a health battle most of us can’t even imagine, and he’s only 9 years old.
Young Noah was recently diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, and both his mother and grandpa have been afflicted with similar conditions. Doctors say a heart transplant is critical to his survival.
Earlier this year, while driving, Steve suddenly felt like an elephant was sitting on his chest.
He pulled over and called a friend for help, then called 911 and was rushed to the hospital. Steve was shocked to learn he had suffered a heart attack—so severe it’s often called “the widow maker”—and had 99% blockage in his heart. Until that day, he had never experience a single symptom of heart disease.
In 2010, while on a songwriting trip in New York, JK Lee developed a sudden aortic tear that nearly cost him his life.
In 2008, Paula donated blood and received the shocking news that she was suffering from hepatitis C, which she contracted from a blood transfusion in 1987.
She underwent treatment for two years, and doctors say a liver transplant is critical to her survival. She has no health insurance and can’t even be evaluated for a transplant until she has health coverage and raises funds for her out-of-pocket expenses.
Aubrie began fighting for her life before she was even born. On February 29, her mother learned Aubrie was suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy during a routine ultrasound. After she was born on March 14, little Aubrie was immediately transferred to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas for treatment and care. Doctors said a heart transplant was critical to her survival. Thankfully, she received her lifesaving transplant on May 22, 2012!
In 2011, Josh Bishop had a rare allergic reaction to the antibiotic Cipro that caused irreversible damage to his liver. Doctors say a liver transplant is critical to his survival, and he hopes to be added to the transplant waiting list soon.
A loving husband to Stephanie, he hates that his health problems prevent them from being a normal couple. He’s so grateful for her unwavering support throughout these challenges, and he dreams of the day they can start a family together.
When Anya was 2, doctors discovered a brain tumor, which required chemotherapy. The following year, she underwent radiation to her head and spine. At ages 11 and 12, she successfully completed treatments for two more brain tumors.
Baby Anna Leigh Henning was fighting for her life even before she was born. She was born prematurely at 30 weeks and is currently in the NICU. This sweet little girl has a long, difficult road ahead of her and desperately needs help.
In 2005, Sean was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy after a virus attacked his heart. He woke up in the middle of the night unable to breathe, and doctors ultimately decided the best treatment was to implant a defibrillator. However, while he was on the operating table, the surgeon decided that at just 28 years old Sean was too young for the procedure and attempted to treat his illness with medications instead.
Around Easter of 2009, David Fraser and his family had just arrived at the beach for vacation when he had a seizure while unpacking the car. He was rushed to the hospital, and was soon transported to a larger hospital in Orlando, where he stayed for nearly a week.
When he was just 2 years old, Cody was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a lung disease that affects about 30,000 people in the United States. Though he was able to live a relatively normal life and was only hospitalized once because of his illness, his health began to worsen in 2009. Last year Cody spent almost 3 months in and out of the hospital, including several stays in the ICU.
For 10 years, George was completely unaware that his body was suffering from health issues. Although his skin was very itchy for a long time, doctors were never able to pinpoint the problem. Finally, in 2006, after a new doctor performed blood work and other tests, George was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Colangitis (PSC), a disease that caused scarring and inflammation of his liver. Doctors have told George the damage is irreversible, and a liver transplant is critical to his survival.
Scott is suffering from Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a disease that has affected him his entire life. Although his cousin was born and diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when Scott was 5 years old, doctors did not think it was necessary to test Scott for the disease.
In 1996, Ed learned his kidneys were not properly filtering blood, and he was diagnosed with the early stages of chronic kidney disease. Last year, tests revealed his kidneys were failing and only functioning at 4 percent. Since last year's diagnosis, he has been enduring regular dialysis treatments. Doctors have told Ed a kidney transplant is critical to his survival.
In 2007, Ricardo “Ricky” Santiago was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, caused by medication he received as a child during chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. In 2005, doctors implanted a pacemaker to help regulate his heart. Although the pacemaker initially helped, doctors soon realized Ricardo needed a heart transplant to survive. He has been on the transplant waiting list for more than a year.