Cristy wants very much to live so she continues to beat the odds. She’s able to do this with phenomenal doctors and with an incredibly deep faith in God. She is an award-winning high school teacher and college professor who continues to teach teachers. Cristy believes God has put her on earth for a reason and she intends to continue to live her life in the most productive ways she can. But she needs help and she needs support.
How You Can Help
In 2007, Cristy went to Mayo Clinic, in Scottsdale, Arizona, and came out with the three diagnoses you are reading about here. Her bill, after insurance claims, was $10,000, and since then, she has garnered at least another $20,000 in co-pays and medical bills her University of Hawaii medical insurance has not, and will not, cover.
Thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and perfect strangers, since February of last year, we’ve been able to raise about $35,000 to cover the cost of the Mayo Clinic, the past three years of medical bills, medications, and much of her ongoing treatment. Unfortunately, she just can’t continue to cover these expenses, as well as the future costs, on her own with the salary of a UH associate professor and with health insurance coverage that is not as comprehensive as it needs to be. Most of us find wonderful causes around the world to support, and research for many major illnesses is funded by international personalities. But vasculitis, scleroderma, and ankylosing spondylitis are not well-known diseases, and they don’t have holiday telethons or major personalities supporting them on primetime TV. It is rare for you to be asked to help one individual with the medical costs necessary to keep her alive, but we need all the help we can get to support one of our own, right now, and as much as possible.
Cristy’s doctors here have done everything they can for her. She’s had chemotherapy and is currently on a cocktail of daily drugs, including vicodin and morphine. A bone marrow/stem cell transplant will not restore what has already been damaged but it will stop the progression of these diseases so that she may live a longer and more productive life. She has spent much of the last year researching all the options available to her in the US and around the world, including a trip to Bankgok this past fall to consult with doctors there. Anadolu Hospital in Turkey has been the one facility that has been most responsive to her situation and has all of the certifications and experience necessary to make a transplant process safe and hopeful.
Now Cristy must come up with an additional $80,000 for a bone marrow/stem cell transplant that will take place at Anadolu Hospital south of Istanbul, Turkey. Anadolu is affiliated with Johns Hopkins University and has one of the top state-of-the-art transplant facilities in the world. The director of this new center has agreed to be Cristy’s doctor for her transplant process. But we need to come up with the funds in order for the process to get started. Cristy’s first appointment is February 28 at Anadolu. That gives us between now and mid-February to find the financial resources to move forward. TIME IS SHORT! FUNDING IS DESPERATELY NEEDED BEFORE THE CLOCK RUNS OUT!
Very simply, Cristy wants to live; the treatment for allowing her to live exists, and although the United States will not make that treatment available, she is willing to go where there are compassionate and highly trained doctors who will treat her. We just need your continuing help to make that happen.
Meet Cristy Kessler. She doesn’t look sick. And she tries not to act sick when she’s around people. But Cristy has been fighting one disease or another for her entire life. Not a day has gone by in her 39 years when Cristy hasn’t experienced pain that would be agonizing to any of us.
Three autoimmune diseases affect almost every organ of her body. These diseases are chronic, progressive, evolving, and any one can be fatal: