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This fundraiser ended on 01/01/12

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The family and friends of Earl Van Aken are raising money to help with his ongoing medical bills, flights, medications that are not covered.

Earl was diagnosed on November 13, 2010 with Dilated non-ischemic Cardiomyopathy and left mitral valve regurgitation. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is any disease of the heart muscle that causes the walls of the heart to stretch and weaken. As a result, the heart becomes enlarged and its ability to pump blood effectively is decreased.Ejection Fraction is reduced ...Mitral regurgitation is a disorder of the heart in which the mitral valve does not close properly when the heart pumps out blood.

The Doctors describe it as Earl's heart being 1/2 dead, enlarged and the squeeze of his heart (ejection fraction) is 10-15%. The squeeze means how much blood is being squeezed of his heart and traveling to his other organs. Because his ejection fraction is so low he doesn't get a good oxygen supply through his body, which causes him to be fatigued consistently. He had a ICD put in Feb 2011. This is a internal defibrillator should he go into cardiac arrest. An example of how tired Earl get's and how hard his heart works would be: trying to tie his shoes. He will start sweating and has to take a minute to recatch his breath.

When this started on November 13th, Earl had no symptoms except the day of. He was taken to urgent care where his respiration's (rate of breathing) were about 60-80 a min. Normal is 15-20. They rushed him to the hospital by ambulance. He was hooked up to Oxygen. At the hospital they did a echo and had to intubate him (life support) where he was critical in the ICU. The Dr. told me he was very sick and that he would probably not get through the night. He said I needed to prepare as his whole body was shutting down with heart failure, kidney failure, respiratory failure, adrenal failure and pulmonary edema. His body was not responding, his ejection fraction was 10-15% which is where it is today. The Dr.'s said he had a 1/2 dead heart that was very enlarged and the body was oxygen deprived. They did not know what else to do except call the University of Wa and try and get further instruction & to see if they could save his life.

Right then my sister Lorinda and mother went into his room and prayed over his body..Within minutes his kidneys began producing again and the Doctor's were in amazement. His body was starting to work!! There was hope again!! Thank the Lord..

Here we are today, same condition as when he was discharged from the hospital. As of now the Dr's say he is a perfect candidate for a heart transplant and will look at putting him on the list within the next 6mths. We are also looking the University of Utah where he may be a candidate for a stem cell transplant from stem cells out of his hip. We are waiting to find out if they will have a non-ischemic trial. The Doctor's prognosis of Earl's condition in their eyes is not good, but I am thankful that we put our faith in the Lord and believe he will beat the odd's and come out on top.

As you can imagine this has taken a huge financial toll on the family that was not anticipated. We have decided to move out of our home and put Earl's financial costs ahead of everything else. This was the best decision given the circumstances with Earl's health which will always takes priority. He has applied for disability and been denied once already. The social security office said we can request an appeal but can take 6mths-1year to get approved. The process to go through the system has become a battle because of so many people who have abused it for the wrong reasons. We've been told that it's pretty standard that the Social Security office will always deny you the first time. I continue to work as well however, the deductible, co-insurances, medications, etc. are financially draining and of course were not expected. We are so very greatful that Earl is alive and that the Lord is watching over him. We appreciate everyone who has supported us with prayer and faith.

We also appreciate all your cards, phone calls, emails and love. Please keep the prayers coming.

Warmest Regards,

Liane Van Aken , Melissa Aldridge & family, all the Van Aken's, The Carlson's and all of our additional friends.
Below is our home address for cards, etc. that people have inquired about.

5725 44th Ave E Tacoma, WA 98443
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