Mark’s Heart Story
Mark Tanner was diagnosed with a rare heart disease called Amyloidosis in July 2015. He’s currently staying at Mass General Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit waiting for a heart transplant.
We recently interviewed one of Mark’s kids, Lauren, who created her father’s GiveForward community fundraising page to hear about Mark’s Heart Story.
“My dad informed me and my two siblings that he was having heart issues about two years ago. At the time it seemed like a fairly common issue given his age that could easily be controlled with medication. As his symptoms progressed his local doctors in a small town in Pennsylvania could not determine the underlying issues. Finally in July 2015 he sought care in a bigger hospital where he was diagnosed with a rare disease called Amyloidosis. My entire family was extremely worried as the prognosis for this disease is usually fatal. We immediately decided to seek care in Boston where there is a group of doctors who specialize in this specific disease. After traveling to Boston several times it was determined he would need a heart transplant to survive. The disease progressed and has now been waiting in the ICU in Boston since August 1 to receive a heart.”
While there family feels optimistic about receiving a heart, there is still a long road ahead for all of them! What makes supporting their dad a little difficult is that Mark and his kids all live in different places.
“Our family had discussed starting a fundraiser for many months and was not sure if we wanted to move forward. Given our dad is from Pennsylvania, my sister lives in Brooklyn, brother in San Diego and me in Pittsburgh, PA we realized the great financial impact the travel and medical expenses would be on our families so we determined it was a must. I researched multiple fundraising pages and GiveForward was the best fit for our situation. It was simple to create and was specifically geared towards medical needs. Having a medical issue creates extreme stress. Eliminating the financial burden is a relief that allows our family to focus more on the care of our dad.”
When asked about what hardships she’s had to face as an organizer, Lauren talked about how reaching out and asking for help can be really difficult.
“It is very much out of my comfort zone to ask people for help; let alone financial help. However, I have found that so many people want to give.”
If she could give advice to others trying to create a page for their loved one, she would remind them that people always want to help.
“Creating the site and spreading the word was simple. We even created a GoDaddy site to link to the GiveForward link so that it could be a simple site to remember for people (www.marktannerhearttrasnplant.com). The challenge for me was feeling comfortable asking for support. I have had to remind myself that people want to help and if they do not have the resources available to donate; they won’t. This is a very no pressure way of fundraising.”
GiveForward has helped Mark raise money from his community, but it has also done so much more! The page has helped those that want to support, even friends from the past.
“The site has raised money which is wonderful but it also allows people to make comments which my dad enjoys reading. It has even sparked him to reach out to people he has not talked to in a while. This helps pass the days he is spending in the ICU. The site also allows us to post updates on his health which is a great way to get the word out.”
We asked Lauren what she was expecting when she created this GiveForward campaign for her dad.
She told us, “I had no clue what the response would be and I am overwhelmed. People want to help. The generosity has been unbelievable. The money has been and will continue to be extremely helpful but it has also allowed us to reconnect with people our family may have not heard from in a long time. The feeling of support from so many people has been encouraging for our entire family, but especially my dad.”