Anita Baker — My Story
Some of you may know me personally, others may not. I want to share my story about who I am and the reason I need a kidney transplant, what going through this process is like, why I’m raising money for medical and related expenses, and how to make a contribution.
Who I am
I’m curious and adventurous, always looking to learn, a deep listener and natural interviewer with a joy of opening, exploring, and engaging new ideas, perspectives and solutions. I take care of my health with yoga, pilates, swimming, walking, cooking and a healthy kidney diet, and social interactions. I love art and photography, nature, diverse cultures, wandering around cities, and good conversation. My happy place, and one that grounds me, is the beach. I’m a fun, determined, empathetic, collaborative, and thoughtful person.
I’m in my sixties and live in the California Bay Area, having grown up in a southern New Jersey beach town, then living in varied cities. Doing business development and marketing for media and technology companies during start-up and growth phases was my favorite work. More recently, I’veI worked on an online service designed for women 50+ solo travelers.
Living life to the fullest, without the stigma of age, is important to me. I’m an active part of communities, initiatives, and businesses with like-minded people who want to further the well-being and vitality of people aged 50+. I’m passionate about this purpose.
Why I need a transplant
When I was in my twenties, I started taking a medication which had the side effect of causing irreversible kidney damage. Fast forward to now. I’m on the verge of kidney failure. My doctor at UC San Francisco forecasted my kidneys will fail in 2020. I need a transplant. Or worse, dialysis during which you get sicker and lose control of time and mobility. It’s worrying to contemplate it failing at any time. It’s basic survival.
What going through this Process is like, and its urgency
As you can imagine, kidney failure is emotional, upsetting and time-consuming. It intensifies by having to address and resolve a continual stream of unknowns and financial issues, each with extensive to-do lists.
I’m fortunate to have a potential living donor at UC San Francisco (he is truly remarkable!), and an opportunity for a transplant with a deceased donor soon. I’m on waitlists at four centers: UCSF, UC San Diego, University of Pennsylvania, Jackson Memorial/Miami Transplant Institute, with time on the lists ranging from 1 – 9 years.
If/when UCSF approves him, the National Kidney Registry begins finding a donor/recipient match for each of us, because he is not a direct match. They handle all logistics, and schedule a “paired exchange” to occur simultaneously. If all goes as well as hoped, the time frame might be as early as November.
At Miami, where I was recently put on their waitlist, I was told a transplant could happen within a few weeks, as early as September or October. During COVID, patients with excellent health are being prioritized; that, along with my type A blood which is the least common, and minimal antibodies for rejection, puts me near the top of the list.
Demonstrating one can pay all expenses not only a legal commitment, but a critical one; financial stress can contribute to kidney failure and a successful recovery. In addition to the $300,00 (estimated) transplant costs alone, there are additional expenses such as medications (one is >$6K), 3 months accommodations for me and my support person and travel, and follow up doctors’ visits.
My Medicare A, B and D plans cover only 80% of hospital, services, doctor and prescription expenses. I’m single with limited resources. Insurers won’t approve me for a supplemental plan for the other 20%, citing renal failure as the one condition for which people are exempted. There are other factors, such as a California situation restricting my ability to increase income. It’s complex, frustrating, and necessary to solve.
Help Hope Live
Knowing all this, a social worker at University of San Diego Health Center told me about a 4 star-rated charity called Help Hope Live.
Ranked nationally in the top 1% of charities by Charity Navigator, its mission is to support community-based fundraising for people with unmet medical and related expenses due to organ transplant or catastrophic illnesses. In the 37 years since their founding, they have helped more than 4,300 patients raise over $135 million. Knowing this is an option has given me pragmatic optimism.
How Help Hope Live Fundraising works
Every dollar I raise for the charity is used on my behalf if so designated, minus an 8% approximately administrative fee. My expenses are paid directly to the billing entity, or as a reimbursement to me.
I will be forever grateful for your making a tax-deductible charitable contribution to Help Hope Live. Please share this with people in whatever way you’re comfortable. Funds can also be raised through events, social media distribution, email blasts, and other actions. Know that I believe strongly in paying it forward.
So, in total,
Please consider making a donation.
Donations can be made on the Help Hope Live website by entering my name on the home page to access my campaign page.
(I may also set up a Help Hope LIve specific Facebook charity campaign.)
Any questions about me or this process, please reach out: Anita Baker, [email protected]
Many, many thanks!!
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Mail a Check
Make checks payable to:
Help Hope Live
Note in memo:
In honor of Anita Jane Baker
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087