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$5,026 of $15,000
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38 donations

This fundraiser ended on 01/25/13

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This is the Ramon Smith Crohn's fund to raise money to help cover medical expenses such that Ray can return to work to support his family.

Hi, my name is Ramon (Ray) Smith. I would like to tell you a little bit about my situation. 22 years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Here is a link to information about Crohn’s disease: (http://www.humira.com/crohns/what-is-crohns.aspx). It is a devastating autoimmune disease that affects your body in many different ways. First of all, you have to deal with complications of diarrhea occurring 10 times a day or more. The diarrhea is not the normal type of diarrhea; it also includes a type of constipation that causes it to take up to an hour for a single bowel movement. This can occur several times a day. Another difficulty I deal with is an indescribable pain in my abdominal area. It is an excruciating, folds-you-over, grown-man-cry pain. This pain does not sleep at night, and keeps me up for several days at a time. I also am experiencing drastic weight loss. Recently, I’ve lost about 25 pounds, dropping from 165 to 140 pounds. There is also a lot of bleeding involved, which requires regular blood transfusions to replenish. Because of the toll that my body has taken over the years, it is difficult to exert a lot of physical energy.

On top of the physical effects, the stress is unbearable.  This stress comes from many different sources: the financial difficulties of trying to afford the treatments, the lack of sleep, the many different medications that you eventually build tolerance to, the strain that I’m putting on my loved ones from having them trying to help me cope with my situation. It is also stressful hiding the extent of my sickness from my friends and coworkers.

In 2005, I had a surgical procedure that involved removing 10 feet (about 50%) of my small intestine due to Crohn’s damage.

In terms of treatments, I have been prescribed pills including different types of steroids, pain killers and various intravenous treatments. At times, I have taken up to about 15-20 pills a day. Previously, I was on an intravenous drug called Remicade, which required a 2-hour infusion every 5 weeks. This treatment has stopped working, and now I need to be treated with a new drug called Humira. This is a self-injection that is required every 2 weeks. Because there is no cure, this treatment could possibly be required for the rest of my life.

The cost of treatment includes prescribed medications, doctor’s visits, and insurance copays. This new drug, Humira, has a base cost of about $7000 per injection. My insurance covers about 50% of that. The drug company pays another $1700. This leaves me with a cost of about $1300 every 2 weeks.

Due to a layoff, I have been unemployed since November of 2011. I have had difficulty finding a job that does not require excessive physical strain. Currently, my unemployment benefits are providing for my living expenses and medical insurance costs. These benefits are due to expire on November 2013.

I’ve been fighting this disease for half my life. It seems that the older I get, the more difficult it is to juggle all the different aspects of how this disease affects me. The financial burden is getting more and more difficult. I am currently supporting two sons and a daughter. I have always been a dedicated, hard worker. Being independent most of my life, I have difficultly asking others for help. However, in this case, I’m setting my pride aside and reaching out to others that may be sympathetic to my cause to help me get through this difficult period so I can get back on my feet and find employment to support my family.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my situation.

Ray

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