Hello, my name is Jim.
I have been married to the love of my life, Gail, for over 48 years. We have 2 grown sons, Scott and Jon. Jon, our youngest, is disabled and remains at home with us under our care. Until June of 2018, I was gainfully employed at Weis Markets, formerly Binghamton Giant markets. It was at this point that my lung disease, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, began to worsen. It has rapidly stolen my life from me, to the point where I had to take a leave of absence from my job and also my ministries at the church. These ministries included Bible studies and my true passion, puppet shows, which I write and my wife and I would perform for the children. With our puppets “Bobby & Susie or Ricky with my wife “Mrs G.”, we would minister to children from 4 – 12 years old as a continuation of their Sunday school lessons. We would talk to them about things from their day to day lives that they might encounter, everything from bullying to lying etc..
My disease causes my lungs to fill with scar tissue and has basically robbed me of the ability to breathe. I went from helping others to needing help from others. I can no longer do things that other people take for granted like driving, getting dressed or even walking. My wife and sons are now helping me to do even the most basic of daily tasks. I am able to only walk a couple of steps before finding myself to winded to go on. On a bad day, even holding a conversation is difficult and also exhausting!
Having been found to be a viable candidate for a lung transplant has truly been a blessing. Without it my days are numbered. However, it’s also a major expense, which will quickly deplete our savings. There is a lot more to getting a transplant than just getting your name put on a list. There are endless preliminary & post-operative tests that need to be done. These tests are performed at Temple University Hospital, which is a 7 hour round trip drive from our home. We usually have to spend the night in Philadelphia which if there are no rooms available at the Gift Of Life Family House, a temporary house for transplant recipients and their families to stay at, can be very expensive. Hotel rooms, close to the hospital, even at the discount offered for hospital patients is extremely expensive at $150 and more per night. Plus add on the expenses of parking fees of around $30 and meals and you are easily spending well over $200 a day there, just to have tests performed. The expenses we are seeing now due to this disease are overwhelming: gas, tolls, prescriptions, insurance co-pays, adaptive equipment and soon lifetime anti-rejection medications, etc, etc, it very quickly adds up.
With God’s blessing my goals after this transplant are: eventually return to work at the market, serve in God’s kingdom, put breath back into puppets for the children and to hopefully some day be able to perform the marriage ceremony for my oldest son Scott.
Any donation amount is welcome. If you are unable to donate we would appreciate your prayers!
Jim and family
Family and friends of James Gunsalus are raising money for the nonprofit Help Hope Live to fund uninsured medical expenses associated with transplantation.