Family and friends of Jennifer (Jenny) Hoffer are raising money to pay for uninsured medical expenses associated with kidney/pancreas transplantation.
Jenny has been diabetic since the age of nine months. In 2006 Jenny developed a MRSA infection in her left foot. Because the infection was internal and not visible externally doctor’s did not find it right away. The delay in diagnosis cost Jenny two-thirds of her left foot. It took an entire year for the amputation site to heal completely. Towards the end of that time Jenny was diagnosed with a VRE infection, an infection even more serious than MRSA. The VRE attacked her previously healthy kidneys and caused chronic renal failure. Within two months of diagnosis Jenny was in end-stage renal disease and started on hemodialysis. She remained on dialysis for nine months, after which she received one of her father’s kidneys in Jan of 2008. After the required six months of healing she was placed on the pancreas list.
Jenny, along with her family and doctors, had determined the pancreas transplant to be a necessity. Due to having diabetes for such a long time already Jenny lives with many complications. Besides the amputation Jenny deals each day with neuropathy in both lower extremities and in her autonomic nervous system. The autonomic neuropathy causes problems regulating her body temperature and blood pressure and also creates what is known as hypo-unawareness. This means that she no longer has the ability to feel when her blood glucose levels begin to drop too low. By the time Jenny knows there is a problem she is usually beyond able to help herself. Her husband, Fred, has awoke many mornings to find Jenny unconscious and has had to administer glucagon injections or call the EMTs. This severely limits Jenny’s independance and, more importantly, her safety. Without the pancreas transplant Jenny will continue to have episodes of unconscious low blood sugars, which could result in her death if she were not found quickly each time. Her new kidney and remaining vision would also be at risk for future damage from the diabetes. With a new pancreas Jenny would be considered no longer diabetic. She would not have the low glucose levels and further damage would be prevented. In studies pancreas transplants have also been known to partially reverse the effects of neuropathy. This could lead to better regulation of Jenny’s core body temperature and her low blood pressure.
In the July immediately following the kidney transplant Jenny experienced an episode of mild rejection which was treated and stopped. However, the rejection caused some scarring of the new kidney. Because of the scarring she has had some decrease in kidney function. This decrease, while not yet enough to need dialysis yet, is significant enough to prevent a pancreas transplant. Instead Jenny has been placed on the kidney/pancreas list. As she waits she is also seeking a live kidney donor. The doctors have advised having a second live kidney transplant first, and then having a pancreas transplant a year after. This will decrease wait time, because in New England you do not gain waiting time for a kidney unless you are already on dialysis.
During the past three, almost four years, Jenny has been out of work due to her illnesses. Along with the other traumas of the past three years, she also lost a significant portion of her vision and is considered legally blind. She is no longer able to drive. Her vision, combined with the uncertainty of what each day will bring physically, severely limits the employment opportunities available to her. Despite all this Jenny does not let her time go to waste. Since her marriage to Fred ten years ago, she has been a postive role model and mentor to her step-son, Patrick. She is an active volunteer for the New England Organ Bank, the Rhode Island Organ Donor Awareness Coalition and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She also hosts an online transplant support group at icarecafe.com. This past summer, determined to improve her health as much as possible by increasing her activity level, Jenny learned to windsurf and outrigger canoe with the folks at AccesSportAmerica. ASA is an organization that teaches high-challenge sports to those with disabilities.
With Jenny out of work and medical bills piling up Jenny and her husband, Fred, deal daily with financial stress. They have chosen to fundraise with HelpHOPELive in part because HelpHOPELive provides both tax-deductibility and fiscal accountability to contributors. Contributors can be sure that funds contributed will be used only to pay or reimburse medically-related expenses. For more information, please contact HelpHOPELive at 800-642-8399.
Thanks for your support!
February 27, 2010
August 7, 2010 at Colt State Park Walk-A-Thon to raise funds followed by a thank you lunch for all who participate! 🙂
Photo Galleries (1)
September 28, 2012
Hi Jennifer...My name is Craig Cushman and I can relate to you needing a transplant for both pancreas and kidney. If you get a chance maybe you could read my profile. I hope you are doing well if you have received your transplant and all is well....take care.
Craig Cushman/ Johnstown, Pennsylvania
August 21, 2010
Hi Jen,,I got a email from your Aunt Sandra about you being in Indianapolis. You are in our prayers every day and we pray that you will come home soon. God Bless. Bob, Virgina Ryan and Family
Bob Ryan - Rhode Island
August 2, 2010
We continue to keep you and your family in our prayers Jenny. With love and hope,
Sharon and Jim
July 29, 2010
Love all your pics on ALL your family sites. Wish I had some special way to express just how amazing you all are. I emailed your story to a few people. My love & prayers to you, Fred, Mom & Dad. God bless!
Val Ryan - Massachusetts