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This fundraiser ended on 10/25/12

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Brian's family & friends are uniting to help him as he struggles to raise his family while fighting sudden onset Progressive MS.

 

 

Devastating.  Inconceivable.  Frightening..... just a few of the words that could be used to describe the situation Brian and his family are in.  In February of this year Brian and his wife, Emily, got the heartbreaking news that Brian had been diagnosed with progressive Multiple Sclerosis, a very sudden and shocking diagnosis.  At just 37 years old and the seemingly healthy and robust father of 3 young children, 2 with special needs, he is now in a dire situation with no means of income to provide for his family, no medical insurance and several denials so far from social security.  He is currently unable to work due to the disabling effects of the MS, they have lost their home, filed for bankruptcy, can no longer afford the rent in their current home and cannot pay any of their bills . It is certainly a very frightening situation for them. 

 

Brian is not only one of the kindest, most caring, God-fearing and selfless individuals on earth, but an all-around nice guy who people are just drawn to.  He is a wonderful and loving father, husband, son, grandson, brother, uncle, nephew and friend, loyal to a fault.  The strong rock of his family, he’s the kind of dad and husband who pitches in and helps with anything and everything, from changing diapers, to reading bedtime stories, to cooking, cleaning and fixing all that needs repaired, whether toys, toilets or hearts!  He is an avid sportsman, playing football, baseball and hockey in his younger years and enjoying some serious hunting and fishing until recently. (What a shame, since living in Montana gives him the perfect spot for both, but with financial and health problems, he has not had the opportunity to go out and enjoy the sports he loves in those beautiful mountains.) 

Brian is also a talented journeyman electrician, who has done nothing but struggle in his field for the last many years due to the lack of work in this failing economy. As a result, he and his very busy wife had to short sale their home in Michigan 5 years ago, where they were surrounded by family, and move across the country to Montana, where he was recruited, and new construction was booming at the time.  After a few short years, that too fell apart, with the downturn in the construction business, and they were back to fighting to make ends meet with no means of support. After a long period of unemployment, Brian was fortunate to find a secure job, albeit a much lower paying position, making an attempt to support his family on 1/2 of what he had previously been earning. He has sacrificed every part of himself for his family, right down to declining the generous benefits package his new job offered in order to be able to afford to put food on the table and make sure everyone had what they needed, but ultimately leaving himself uninsured. After giving it a valiant effort, Brian and Emily finally had no choice but to give up their lovely home after 5 years of being settled in to raise their three beautiful children, Jacob, 10, Cassidy, 7 and Cody, 2.  If that weren’t bad enough, they have now filed for bankruptcy and see no end in sight to their financial pain.

 

To give you some history on their two special needs sons and how this has impacted their situation…It was barely a year ago when Brian and Emily were forced to do a similar fundraiser for their baby boy, Cody, who was ultimately diagnosed with severe Gastro paresis, a life-threatening illness. They needed to travel across the country to see a pediatric specialist to get an accurate diagnosis with no financial means to do so. Brian’s new-found employer was kind enough to allow him the flexibility to travel with his ailing son, but, understandably, he had not yet made a financial recovery from all his unemployment, hence the need for assistance at that time and the fundraiser. Cody's complete story can be found here on Give Forward via the link following this description.

Throughout these difficult years, Brian and Emily have also struggled to handle the many challenges that have come with the special needs of their oldest son, Jacob, from the time he was 2 until his current age of 10, and who eventually required in-patient care at a long term medical facility in Helena.  (Fortunately, Jacob’s medical expenses are covered by disability.)  Jacob is now, thankfully, back home with his family, where his ongoing care is being handled on an outpatient basis, taking much patience, time and energy from his parents, but who do it all with much love. Since they lost their home at about the same time, it made sense to find a rental home in Helena to be near Jacob and be able to participate in his care. The 100 mile move was hard on them all, uprooting Cassidy from school, where she was thriving in first grade and loving it. Fortunately, Brian had the opportunity to transfer with his employer, but only worked a few weeks before his MS diagnosis.  Because of the rapid progression, he was no longer healthy enough to work.  He received short term disability for a brief time but that has now ended and he has not been able to return to his job, which is no longer being held for him. 

Now that you know the pre-MS diagnosis Brian a bit better, you may want to read about the details of how his whole life changed in an instant.  The story is covered in the "Recent Updates" section on the left side of this page so as not to make this entry any longer than necessary.  If you have any interest in how his MS was diagnosed, how rapidly it progressed, how it affected him, and the course of treatment taken, you may find that section useful.  It will also detail why Brian is now in a very dangerous place with the drug he is taking and its possible interaction with a gene he carries that can cause a fatal brain infection. 

Brian has gone from being able to stand unsupported for 8 hours a day to 15 or 20 minutes a day. He developed Optic Neuritis in the other eye, much worse than the first, and his vision has been severely compromised. He was diagnosed legally blind. He suffers from debilitating headaches. His extreme fatigue allows him little chance to do more than rest and even then he is still tired. It remains uncertain if he will ever be able to return to work, although Brian, Emily and his medical team are optimistic. He has applied for Social Security only to receive several denials thus far.  His family of five is juggling what bills they can pay. Because Brian is uninsured, they have many unpaid bills for his medical care, as well. Medical equipment is required for 2 out of their 3 children, so they scrimp and save what they can to provide not only for those items, but also for clothing, food and other typical needs that children have. Brian himself could benefit from some equipment and special clothing, but he wouldn't dream of taking anything before providing for all the needs of his beloved children.

As with Jacob’s and Cody's struggles, they remain grateful for answers to prayer and thankful for the gifts they've been given, knowing that others face struggles far beyond theirs. They pray Brian will improve but realize that may not happen and they could be facing permanent lifestyle changes.  They can no longer afford to remain in their rental home without help.  They can’t pay the rest of their bills and they dread having to uproot the children again so soon after just adjusting to a new home and a new location.  The kids are set to start school in a few weeks and will desperately need stability.  They have nowhere to move and talk of “living in their van”.  The only solution they’ve come up with is sending half of their family back to Michigan in order to provide Brian the help needed from family there, while keeping their oldest son where HE needs to be in order to provide him with the services he requires, which are already in place in Montana, but again, with no place to live. There is no doubt such a division would be detrimental to Brian and Emily, and to the children, as well. They hope and pray it doesn't have to come to that.

With so many obstacles to overcome, Brian and Emily remain positive. Only God knows the plans He has for His children. It may be difficult to comprehend at times, yet they continue to trust in the Lord and lean on Him for support. God surely knows how very weary this young family is--not only dealing with physical hurt, but of bearing the stress of such financial insecurity as they raise such very 'special' children; all the while facing Brian's daily trials of MS with no income and no insurance.

We have set up this fundraiser as a means of not only getting Brian's story out there for the many friends and family that have asked how they can help Brian financially or otherwise, but to provide a safe site for those who may wish to help his family in their time of need. Brian and Emily would appreciate any help at all more than you could ever know. Even more importantly, they ask for your prayers. Our God is an awesome God.  He doesn't make mistakes. We have seen Him work miracles!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read Brian's story. If you do nothing else, we hope you will pass it on so, perhaps, it may comfort someone in a similar situation who feels alone in their struggles. No one is ever alone, God is always with us and He cares. Never doubt His presence or His love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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