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$1,725 of $100,000
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28 donations

This fundraiser ended on 05/31/12

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Friends of Billy are establishing a special needs trust to help Billy and his family cover medical related expenses not covered by insurance

"Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.
~Adam Lindsay Gordon"


Our buddy Billy needs a break.

Billy Bertleson just turned 43. A family man, and father of two daughters, (and winner of our fantasy baseball league in 2011) Billy served in the Navy after high school and was an air traffic controller.

He developed type 1 diabetes while in the Navy and the doctors wouldn't clear him to work as an air controller anymore, so he was given an honorable discharge. From there, Billy went to college and got his Bachelor of Science in History Education and became a high school history teacher.

Diabetes over the years has taken it's toll on our buddy. Billy has diabetic retinopathy in both hiseyes, which causes bleeding and makes his vision worse. (This may explain his love of the Cincinnati Reds and strange empathy he has for Pete Rose). He received over 3000 laser bursts into each eye to cauterize bleeding vessels. This has made his vision worse, especially peripheral vision, but at least he can see. About every 2-3 months or so,Billy gets an injection, yes a needle, directly into each eye to keep them from bleeding anymore and to slow down the other side effect of this bleeding, which is glaucoma.

The eye drops that he has to buy for glaucoma is partially covered by his insurance, but it still costs $90 for 1 bottle of these eye drops and he goes through at least a couple of those a month.

The even bigger problem for Billy now is that he has lost all feeling in his feet due to nerve damage. He develops blisters and open sores on his feet that will not heal. In October 2008, Billy got a blister that turned into a large wound that was open all the way to the bone in his right foot. He developed infections in the bone and in April 2009, half of his right foot was amputated. The right foot never healed and he has had an open wound on his right foot at the stump pretty much since the time of the amputation. It closed up for a couple of weeks after the surgery, but then tore back open.

Over the last several years Billy had many infections and has been hospitalized 7-8 times during that time period since the right foot amputation. These infections are MRSA infections, meaning that he has to take so many antibiotics that he gets infections that are very resistant to all but the most powerful antibiotics and are very hard to get rid of.

Billy had to have several more surgeries on the foot to remove pieces of infected bone. Last fall, November 2011, one of these infections led to his having a toe amputated on his left foot as well.

Several times, because of these multiple infections, Billy had to have a type of central IV line placed in him so that he could give himself IV antibiotics over long periods of time while at home. He has had to do this on 3 occasions since 2009, and it results in him having to give himself IV's several times a day for about 3 months at at time. As you can imagine, these antibiotics are VERY expensive, as is the treatment and home nurse that has to come out to his house several times a week when he is receiving them to take care of the line and clean it etc. Insurance covers some, but not near enough as these things are VERY expensive. This last time he got the IV line put in, it actually caused a blood clot in his left arm and then he had to go on Coumadin to keep his blood thin and get rid of the clot. That meant even more doctors on top of the ones that he already see's.

Billy's legs are taking a toll with all these infections and damage that has been caused. He has what is called lymphodema, which causes his legs to retain fluids and swell terribly. It is kind of a catch 22, because the fluid that stays in his legs causes bacteria to grow which leads to more infection. He get treatments to reduce the swelling, and that treatment involves him having to wear compression stockings. These are custom made and expensive. Insurance pays for 2 a year. Billy's doctors say that isn't near enough and that he will need 6 a year. Because they are custom made, they run between $700-$1000 a piece. He will have to buy them out of pocket to make up the difference.

Billy's doctors have been working to try to somehow close the wound on his right foot at the stump, but have been unsuccessful. Last week, he was told that his right leg must be amputated below the knee as there is nothing more that can be done.

There is a real possibility that he will also have to have his left leg amputated as he has an open wound there from where he had the toe amputated last fall. This amputation will cause even more pressure on the left leg. Even with his insurance,Billy has to pay 20% out of pocket for surgery and hospitalization. The total bill for all this could easily add up to over $100,000.

The costs of all this have really added up to the point where he and his family don't know how to manage it all.

Billy is a great guy.

We, his buddies and baseball fanatics, would ask that you eat out one time less this month and donate to help Billy out. Please donate what you can to help a great guy, family man, and former military man get some order back into his life. Our goal is to reach out and find 2000 people that, out of the kindness and compassion of their heart, will skip one $50 meal this month to assist this great guy. Will you?

"Have you had a kindness shown?
Pass it on;
'Twas not given for thee alone,
Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another's tears,
'Til in Heaven the deed appears -
Pass it on.
~Henry Burton, Pass It On"

Hang in there Billy! We are thinking positive thoughts on your behalf! Go Reds!
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