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This fundraiser ended on 09/02/11

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This is the Greg Hasselman Fund. The funds will be used for Greg's medical costs and related expenses not covered by insurance.

My husband Greg was born with a severe congenital heart defect known as Tricuspid valve atresia. This is when the tricuspid valve which is located between the right atrium and the right ventricle never develops, meaning the right ventricle is not able to pump blood into the lungs properly. The surgery to save his life at age 4 was called a modified fontan procedure. This procedure was developed to allow proper blood flow through his heart and other organs. In hopes to get kids through their childhood to age 25-30. I consider my husband a miracle child who is now at the age of 24. Since Greg has had the fontan surgery, they have found several long term effects and as a result have made changes to the procedure so that kids today getting the surgery will have a much better success.

In February of this year, when we first started to realize something was wrong, he was puking pure blood. I will never forget the day I took him to the hospital here in town and watched him spit up buckets full. That night he was put into ICU and given 2 liters of blood through transfusion. Not knowing or understanding anything that was going on at the time, the doctors explained to us that it was his blood trying to find another route. This condition is called Esophagus Varicies. This is when your blood is finding a hard time circulating, due to poor pressures in the heart. It tries to find other ways to get oxygen and ends up diverting around the heart and liver instead. This time, it had found its way through his esophagus. But because the veins in our esophagus are not meant to handle this type of blood flow, the veins eventually rupture, causing a bleed. This explained where the vomiting had come from, his stomach had been filled with blood. By this time, we learned it had been a result of years of ware on his liver, and that his liver had already been in failure for quite some time. Doctors repaired the rupture by putting 3 bands on his esophagus that would in 3-5 days form a clot, forcing the blood to go elsewhere. Over the next several months things slowly began to go downhill. At one point, we were told he needed to be using full time oxygen. We rented the home equipment and portable machines to find out later that the highest amount of oxygen would never help his stats. Which were at this time sitting in the high 70's, lower 80's. Stats that for you or I would be 100. After being a patient at KU during all of this, we were then referred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where the idea was to have them perform a surgery to replace his narrowed fontan causing the poor pressures. And boy, the news we got was anything but this.

We were told that what Greg actually needed was a heart and liver transplant simultaneously from the same donor. And as if that wasn't scary enough, we were then told this procedure had never been done on a congenital heart patient with a modified fontan anywhere in the U.S. They told us they have practiced it in the United Kingdom in Europe but that their success rate was so low that they don't perform the procedure anymore. Now, since it hasn't been done, they were not able to give us concrete statistics. But they did try to give us an idea. They told us that for a heart transplant alone, performed on a patient who has NEVER had a previous heart surgery, the chances are 50/50. When you add a liver transplant along w/the heart, the chances drop to about half that. Given Greg's previous surgeries, which he's had 4, his chances will be even less than that. However, we do still have hope. At our last trip to Mayo we met with one of the best Surgeons, a Dr. Joseph Dearani. He advised us that despite the internal issues with Greg's heart and liver, Greg is young and healthy. And that if we are going to have any chance, it would be now.

During the past week, we have been trying to get things straightened out with the insurance company we have through my work. They told us at first that the policy states they would only cover the one organ transplant and not the two that Greg needs. So the other organ, would need to be paid in full by us. Since then, with the help of several individuals at both Blue Cross and my Human Resources Dept, they have found verbiage indicating that the exception was for patients needing the duo transplant of a heart and liver. Who would have thought such news could bring such happiness? Although it has not been confirmed, we could not be more thankful with this recent development. However, the amount insurance will spend for the acquisition fees to acquire the organs remains at 35,000.00. The estimated total for Greg's surgery is between 50,000.00 and 100,000.00 out of pocket expenses even after what insurance will pay.

Our family and friends have been such a huge rock for us during this time and more than ever have helped us in ways we never even dreamed of. But my husband still needs help. We have a 9 month old daughter now and he is the light in her eyes. I have never seen such an amazing father, no matter what life seems to be throwing at him. And I cannot even imagine a day where I have to show her pictures and explain to her what an incredible father she had. And if 100 thousand dollars will allow my husband to walk her down the aisle one day, then I am going to try my best. And my hope is that through my husbands journey and others like him, some of the best surgeons in the world, will one day finally be able to help so many other children before they have to go through any of this.

Thank you everyone for your support, and please help my family during this difficult time.
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