I wanted to give everyone an update on Jake and our family. A few days ago Jake turned 28, it’s weird think about him getting older. Time has been a tricky thing to track since he got sick and I often have to remind myself that life is moving on and we’re actually growing older, looking at my two-year-old SHOULD put time in perspective. This week also marks, nine months post heart transplant for Jake. Every day I’m constantly reminded of the person that gave my husband his life and I grow more thankful with every month that gets added to our marriage.
Healthwise Jake has been doing well since his bought with rejection. The rejection subsided fairly quickly with minimal damage done. The rejection, however, did prolong the course of steroids that Jake is still currently on. We are hoping with continued stability that we will finally be able to complete his steroid course within the next month. The side effects of the medication have been fairly minimal, with the exception of severe muscle cramping and insomnia. All of this is continuing to improve and Jake says he’d take this over being electronic again any day.
Physically Jake continues to progress, however, his brain injury still is fairly unpredictable on a day to day basis. Some days dressing and walking with his walker is a breeze, other days it is an impossible and frustrating task. We are hoping to see continued progress with therapy and as we come off many of the medications that are increasing tremors, shaking and cramping. We are currently balancing therapy for Jake, therapy for Eden, and an abundance of medical appointments; along with this, we are also preparing for our big move to North Carolina in May. Life is stressful, tiring but overall good.
In December you all helped us to raise enough money to stay in transplant housing through May, which we were blown away by and are extremely grateful for! Financially though, we are still really, really struggling. I hate having to continually do this but I have a plea, please, please help us if you can. We raised enough money to cover rent, which has already been paid to our landlord, but it’s been a cold winter here in Chicago and with the new year our regular bills have increased and our income has decreased substantially.
Jake is now on Medicare, which is a wonderful thing, however, as a result, our monthly income is now only $600 due to the deduction for Medicare from Jake’s disability check. Costs of Jake’s prescription drugs have nearly doubled, our heating bills have been outrageous, and my exemption status for food stamps has ended and as a result, we have lost a decent amount of food allowance. We’ve started receiving bills for Jake’s transplant, final rejections from insurance in regards to bills from Jake’s initial sickness, and collections/ garnishments notices for bills we haven’t been able to pay.
Right now, we are able to pay our essential bills inconsistently, medication, electricity, and heat have been our priorities. This means the daily hospital parking charges on our credit card, private student loan bills, and medical bills in collections are not getting paid. As of right now, we are close to $60,000 in unpaid medical debt that is all in collections and this is after insurance, appeals and financial aid packages! Now some of our bill collectors are seeking garnishment. The good thing is disability is exempt from garnishment and that is our only form of income.
However, in order to receive social services such as Medicaid and food stamps when we move to North Carolina, I will have to work, as they will now have a work requirement in order to receive healthcare. I’m excited about the prospect of working and being able to provide for my family, and finally move away from fundraising, however, we have income caps we have to stay under (about a maximum of $800 per month) and working hour minimums I will have to meet (minimum of 20 hours worked per week). Now, with the possibility of garnishment, it looks like I will be working to have my wages garnished while potentially paying for childcare and hopefully not grossing too much money where Jake and Eden would potentially lose their healthcare.
So, with this all being said, I need help. I need help to start getting my family out of this pit so that I can get a job and take care of my family. For now, I need money to feed my family and to keep our heat on, because it’s still winter in Chicago. We are moving into an apartment attached my parents home in North Carolina in May, which they are allowing us to live in rent-free. The only catch to the free apartment is right now, the bathroom is not accessible. My main priority for the home is to make adaptations to the bathroom so Jake can get to the toilet, if possible I would like to do some mild construction to the shower so that Jake can use that too. The adaptations will need to be made before the end of May because I can’t move Jake into an apartment with a toilet that he can’t even get to. I need to start paying some of these bills that are at the point of garnishment so that when I get a job, I’m not working for free and leaving Jake and Eden alone.
Here is what I need:
- Food & Utility Bills: $800
- Bathroom Remodel: $5,500
- Medications & Copays: $2,000
- Hospital Bills: $2,000
- Gas & Parking: $500
- Moving Expenses: $1,200
Please consider helping if you can and here are some ways you can donate.
- Venmo: @aligonzo
- Paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gofundme: http://www.gofundme.com/aheartforjake
- Mail: 1258 S Blue Island Ave Unit 101 Chicago, IL 60608
Thank you for your constant prayers and love and support. Jake would not be alive if not for your generosity.