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19 donations

This fundraiser ended on 11/23/12

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This is the Jess and Steph Heltsley Benefit page. The funds raised will be used for medical costs and expenses not covered by insurance.

Jess Heltsley was born with Alport’s Syndrome…a hereditary disease that can cause hearing loss, vision loss, and eventually, kidney failure. Due to this disease, Jess had a life-saving kidney transplant in 2002 at age 22.

Less than 10 years later, approximately six months after his marriage to wife Stephanie, the disease had finally overtaken the transplanted kidney. Jess became quite ill, and was found to be in stage 5 renal failure. He was unable to continue his employment at Culver’s in Wisconsin Rapids, and early in 2011 had to begin dialysis until another suitable donor could be found. Both times, family members were willing and able to donate an organ, and Jess finally received his second kidney transplant this past February.

Because Wisconsin law allows private insurance companies to place a cap on all expenses related to kidney disease, the insurance company that Stephanie’s employer uses has an annual cap of $30,000…approximately the same cost of just a few weeks of Jess’s dialysis treatments prior to the transplant. The transplant itself was not even eligible for insurance coverage, because the cap had already been met!

Complications following surgery just compounded their financial problems. Steph took on additional employment to help make ends meet, and they continue to work with Medicare and other community-based programs for help. Even with all these efforts, they are currently struggling with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and medical care expenses.

Proceeds from the funds raised will be used for medical expenses and costs not covered by insurance.
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