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This fundraiser ended on 09/03/10

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I have included Gabe\'s story in his own words for you to read about his daily life and his unbelievably positive outlook. Once Gabe can secure medical coverage, his primary insurance and Medicare will pick up the cost of the kidney transplant when a

Gabriels Story - Approximately two years ago I was headed for the dream. I had saved a small amount of money, bought a new car, and was on my way to California. I had recently lost my mother, and within all that stood in my way I had decided to pursue my dream of playing music. Up to that point in my life, I had dealt with enough catastrophe to understand how lucky we are just to be here. I was coming out of a dark place in my life, and had decided to try and build something positive, maybe do what my mom hadn’t been able to do, which was sing for people; bring a moment of clarity, or love, or the feeling of belonging. I just wanted to give people something to smile about. I had been given enough confidence by the people who listen to my music, and I had made the decision to chase my dream.

Within one month of making the decision to go – having found living arrangements, and the courage to make the leap- I woke up one day with a spot in my right eye. At the time, I thought that I had damaged my eye during my sleep and that it would disappear after a few days. After two weeks, it had not gotten any better, and the same damage was now happening in the other eye as well. I drove to an eye doctor that day, and after a few tests I was rushed to a general practitioner for more tests. I was told that my blood pressure was at 195/165, ( the norm being 120/80), and that if I did not take some type of blood pressure medicine and relax for a good twenty to thirty minutes at that exact moment, I was in danger of having a stroke. When they sent me home, I had a great deal of anxiety due to the news that my retinas had hemorrhaged because of my escalating blood pressure. I was sent into my Nephrologist for a Biopsy, and within a week of the visit, I was diagnosed with IGA Nephropathy. I was told that I had about 15% usage left in my kidneys, and I would sooner than later need to be placed on dialysis, and eventually need a kidney transplant. The disease is a hereditary trait passed down through ones mother’s side from the Grandfathers genes. It was somewhat a relief to know that I hadn’t done anything to cause the disease to occur.

I have been on the dialysis program for approximately two years. I use the peritoneal method of dialysis because of the privacy that it allows. I hook up to my machine every morning after I get off of work (around 4am). The dialysis runs for 9 hours. The idea is to sleep while the medicine is being administered, but due to the discomfort and the daily bout with stomach problems, sleep is not a constant. The bills are astronomical, and due to the fact that I am bartending only four nights a week (due to the dialyisis prescription and the sheer physical fatigue of the disease) I really don’t have the opportunity to work more than I already am. I am trying to build a better life for myself, as well as the woman I hope to spend the rest of my life with, but there really isn’t any way for that to happen right now.

The day I found out that I had this ahead of me,and that my kidneys were failing, I called two people. My father for obvious support,and Dave Weddell, who is a close friend and a recent kidney donation recipient. He instructed me on two ways to beat this disease. One: do what the doctors tell you to do, follow their guidlines, and stop any use of foreign substances that might endanger or slow the healing process. The second and most important rule was that in order to survive this, I had to have the right attitude and treat each day as it is my last. I have found a new appreciation for the little things. I have already left a mark on the people I have shared my struggle with. I have seen the difference that positive thinking has on the people I have spoken to. And I truly feel for the first time in my life that I have a purpose here, and I can do a lot of good for society as a whole. I am just in need of some help. I don’t have any enemies. In fact, I have more friends than anyone that I know. It seems that I am here to bring people together, to help people rise above all of the trivial speedbumps in life, and quite honestly, I have never been this happy. I just feel like life is giving me a second chance, I just need someone to help me open the door. I know I am rambling but I am becoming more and more passionate everyday that I am here. I just want to leave a positive legacy. Thanks, GM

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