$9,750 of $25,000
46 donations

This fundraiser ended on 03/01/12

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The friends and family of Melissa Evins are uniting to raise money to help with her battle against POEMS syndrome.

In January of 2009, Melissa had a cyst on her ovary that ruptured, causing internal bleeding. The following day the ovary was removed and Melissa had a slow and painful recovery. In August of ’09 she experienced severe stomach pain due to accumulating fluid. The pain increased for months. After her OBGYN discovered a fibroma on her other ovary, Melissa was diagnosed with Meigs Syndrome (the triad of benign ovarian tumor with ascites and pleural effusion that resolves after resection of the tumor), which led to a complete hysterectomy. At that point, the ascites (peritoneal cavity fluid) went away. Then, when the fluid returned, Melissa made numerous trips to many types of physicians in search of a diagnosis. During that time she had 60 liters of fluid removed from her stomach, as the doctors tried to remedy the problem, and the fluid continued to return.

In November of 2010, Melissa had a TIA, which is a mini-stroke. She then spent several weeks in the hospital. The day after Thanksgiving she had a full-blown stroke and was finally released from the hospital in mid-January of 2011, after a number of new tests. The last doctor, a hematologist/oncologist, diagnosed her with POEMS syndrome. A second opinion by UAB’s Kirklin Clinic confirmed her illness. Melissa began receiving chemotherapy, although she did not have cancer. She started to show improvement for 6 or 7 weeks, when the ascites (fluid) returned.

Her doctors decided that a stem cell transplant was the best, next course of action. Melissa had a port installed for the chemo and a catheter inserted in her neck for the stem cell transplant. The cell collection was completed on September 9th. She is scheduled to receive a larger dose of chemo at the end of September, and immediately following will be the stem cell application. She is due to stay in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit of the hospital for three weeks. Melissa has enlarged kidneys, an enlarged spleen, and an enlarged liver, all common symptoms of POEMS.

Although Melissa and Terry have health insurance, the co-pays are very high and portions of Melissa’s specialized treatments are also very expensive. They will likely be faced with medical costs that will approach hundreds of thousands of dollars. Melissa’s Giving Tree is a way that you can help. As close friends, we would like to collect for Terry and Melissa 1,000 leaves at $10 each. Obviously, we all have the option of sponsoring one leaf, or as many as we feel led to sponsor. We, along with family, and friends of friends can certainly make a difference in their time of need. We do believe in miracles and continue to pray for one each and every day. May God Bless you!

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