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This fundraiser ended on 03/06/14

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This may be Jess's battle but together, this is our war!

As you all may or may not know, our beloved, Jess Walker Stayshich (CullenBanger9), has been terribly ill and was declared disabled in June 2011. We, a circle of her friends are here to enlighten you on her story and request any support you may be able to offer to this incredible woman and her family.

Jess has been a Type I diabetic for 19 years. And now at the age of 32, she never thought she would be this way. She began experiencing complications ten years ago but they did not become severe until the past two years.

Because of her diabetes and history of depression she was finally  diagnosed correctly with bi-polar disorder/ manic depressive when she was nineteen. She also was diagnosed with PTSD and high anxiety due to 2 tragic events.

Jess has asthma and chronic bronchitis which makes the cold & heat completely unbearable and when seasons change it wreaks havoc on her ability to breathe. She is susceptible to pneumonia which she tends to get several times a year.

Recently, Jess was hospitalized for severe pneumonia and fluid in her lungs. She got to the point where she couldn't breathe and her O2 stats were dropping quickly. No matter what the respiratory therapist tried nothing was working, The decision was made to put her in a medically induced coma and be put on a ventilator. During the intubation, Jess "coded" and had to be shocked. The doctors were able to get her stabilized and continued with the procedure. She was in a coma for 6 days in the ICU. The ventilator is exactly what her body needed. Jess could finally breathe and catch her breath. She was on continuous oxygen which she definitely needed.

After being in the hospital for ten days she was finally released. A couple days after being home Jess's body began to swell and her skin was red and very rough. She went to see her prinary care doctor and was diagnosed with cellulitis. The doctor wanted to admit her back to the hospital but Jess begged them to try to do home care first and if no improvement within a few days then she would need to go in. Fortunately the antibiotics and other medications worked along with elevation of her legs and feet.

It has been a struggle for Jess even more so after that incident. She continues to fight everyday to get stronger and to push through every complication that comes her way. Unfortunately it is not easy and can be extremely difficult for her. However, she tries to hide the pain and struggle from those close to her.

Jess also has constant stomach issues due to a complication of diabetes known as Gastroparesis. It affects how her stomach digests her food which can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This past year she has had to have her appendix and gall bladder removed due to the gastroparesis.

Another complication she endures is Severe Peripheral Neuropathy in her legs, feet, arms and hands. She is in constant excruciating pain throughout her extremities. She finds extreme difficulties in doing the most simplest of tasks due to the pain. There are many a days that she is unable to walk or stand on her own.The neuropathy also affects her neurological state, which has caused her to slip and fall several times. She has carpal tunnel syndrome in both her hands and is in need of surgery in her left hand to reconstruct her tendons. Her fingers lock up and are painful to grip or hold the tiniest of objects...especially Aiden's million little lego pieces that are all over the house!

Her loving and most amazing husband, Mike cares for her with the utmost attention.The love this couple shares is an inspiration to many. He helps her with bathing, dressing, assisting her with her medication regiment, cooking and medical treatments. He misses work as needed to tend to her, take her to doctors visits and her repeated hospitalizations. He is always by her side, holding her hand and being her rock, her strength and her best friend. Along with tending to her and her needs, when required he also plays both roles of Mom and Dad to their son, Aiden.

Aiden is seven years old and has had to witness what these conditions are doing to his Mom and her body.This little boy has had to see his Mom unconscious from low blood sugar and call his Dad at work to phone for help. He could probably tell you more about Diabetes than most adults.He is not only a spitting image of Jess but he also has the compassion and strength of her as well. He is a hero in our eyes.

Jess is fighting everyday to feel as good as she can right now and tries to overcome the bad days. And she does this with such grace and humility. She fights to not let her conditions define her or hold her down, however that is not the easiest of tasks. Jess is having to currently take over thirty different daily medications and attend doctors visits every other week. Her team of doctors and specialists are doing their best to slow down the progression of her complications and conditions. That is the best they can do as there are no cures nor fixes at this time.

As you must wonder or know, being sick is very costly in many ways. With Jess no longer able to work, they are finding it impossible to cover all costs. Just her medications and doctor visits alone range from $200-$800 a month. They are fighting for social security disability but have been denied 4 times. They are at the hearing stage of this grueling process. The waiting period for their hearing with a judge could take another 12-16 months. There are days that it comes down to, do they pay for her medications or doctor visit co-pays or purchase groceries.They are fighting to keep their home as they are behind in paying their mortgage. This is just as devastating to them as her conditions are.

It is heartbreaking being close friends and having to watch this incredible family make those decisions. They have had emotional and financial support from their families but now those family members are being tapped out and finding it difficult to offer assistance to them.

Jess is one of the strongest people we have ever met and we are so thankful to be able to call her one of our best friends. Her strength and courage is awe inspiring. Things that may be small for you or us, are a challenge for her. Tying your shoes, standing up to cook dinner, bathing and sometimes simply eating and breathing are a huge feat for her. Jess has the most infectious smile and spirit. She will do whatever it takes to hide how much her health is affecting her as she strives for any bit of normalcy that is left.

She asks for nothing and instead would give you her last dime and the shirt off her back if she knew you needed it. She is a true believer in "Paying it Forward" and does it every chance she is able to, no matter the sacrifice. We have set this donation page up on their behalf to help relieve any stress we can in their time of need. With all of this being said,  we are asking that you dig deep into your heart and help assist this family. No matter the amount you have to offer, it will all go to help cover the costs of Jess's treatments, medications and doctors visits. It will also enable her to keep fighting.

Please keep this amazing woman and her family in your thoughts and prayers! The power of prayer is incredible! This may be Jess's battle but together, this is our war!

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