Dear Friends and Family,
Many of you know our loving daughter, Jessika Steier. She is the wonderful Mom to Kylee (14), sister of Jeremy and Joshua, and good friend to many. Jessika works full time teaching Braille and is going to school at night to get her degree in Elementary Education. She loves spending time with Kylee and friends and family.
In 2002, Jessika suffered from end stage renal failure and received a life-saving kidney transplant from her mother. Unfortunately, the kidney is failing and her doctors at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center have told us that her only option now is a 2nd life-saving kidney transplant. Family members are currently being tested to see if they are a match.
Funding this surgery is a monumental task. Even with insurance, there are many expenses that must be paid for out of pocket. Some of these expenses include deductibles, co-pays, living donor expenses and Jessika will continue to be on a life-time of anti-rejection medications. This puts us up against a challenge that we cannot meet alone and your help is desperately needed
A fundraising campaign in Jessika’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive (formerly NTAF), a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for nearly 30 years. All donations are tax deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the Southwest Kidney Transplant Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for transplant-related expenses only. Please consider making a contribution today.
Family and friends of Jessika Steier are raising money to pay for uninsured medical expenses associated with transplantation.
Jessika has chosen to fundraise with HelpHOPELive in part because HelpHOPELive assures fiscal accountability of funds raised and tax deductibility for donors. Donors can be sure that funds donated 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!
It’s Jessika with a K!
So the story begins. Jessika was a good baby and grew up in a family as the middle child in between two brothers. When Jessika was 11 the family moved to Florida. There Jessika made lots of friends and had a wonderful middle and high school experience. In Jessika’s senior year she meet a young man she thought she was in love with and got pregnant.
In the spring of 2000 Jessika was working at a preschool and came home that Friday feeling like she had the flu. It was Easter weekend and she was looking so forward to getting ready for Easter Sunday. After spending all day Saturday and Sunday in bed, Jessika got up to move to the couch when she notice bumps all over her hands. It was then that her Dad and I decided she needed to go to the hospital. It was a long night for me waiting to hear and then the call came. Jessika’s kidneys were failing. They could find no reason for this occurrence. Jessika had been suffering with headaches in the days leading up to this and they thought it might have been the ibuprofen that she had been taking but that was never fully determined. The doctor that Jessika saw in the hospital was awful. He made the statement several times because she had no medical insurance she was probably going to die. She was in need of a transplant and medicade did not cover that. Jessika was kept in the hospital for 9 days. They ran test after test after test. The day they sent Jessilka home her kidneys were working but just barely. Her and I took on the arduous job of figuring out how to get her medical coverage. The owner of the preschool she worked at had just been starting to look into coverage for her employees. Her father spent days making phone calls to see if he could push through coverage for Jessika. A task that took up a lot of time and determination on his part. They finally got it but with a hefty price of $464.00 a month. Now Jessika was only making about $600.00 a month and she still had a car payment, and other expenses. Luckily her dad and I at that time were able to help. She also received a lot of help from friends and family. The school I was working at raised money from the teachers to pay one month if her medical coverage. It was heartwarming and amazing the amount of support she received. It was then she started seeing the nephrologist covered by her plan. He and his wife were partners in their practice and they instantly took on Jessikas case with an enthusiasm and zealous that I was even feeling the high from. They kept her kidneys functioning with diet and medication for a year. Jessika continued to work and spend time doing the things she loved with Kylee. The road was about to turn. After that year of such great progress the function started to slip. We were asked to come in for a consultation to figure out our next move. It was then we were faced with the possibility of dialysis. We were hoping to avoid that and it looked like the beast had come home. After careful consideration we were referred to Jackson Memorial in Miami, Florida. We were introduced on our first visit to a male nurse who would become our liaison and friend for the next year. He was tough on Jessika and did not want to hear any poor me or I forgot, excuses were not in his vocabulary. He along with the wonderful doctors at Jackson brought Jessika through the next difficult 6 months. We wanted to stave off dialysis for as long as we could and the toxins in her body were growing. It was then I said it was time to test me. There is a 6 point match that they look for and I already was an O Positive blood type which was one point closer. The test results took forever but on a Friday afternoon the call came and the male nurse on the other end. The man who had taken us tis far said” Good News! You are a 4 point match.” ” Lets get started” I said. ” What do we need to do next.” There was another long road ahead of us. The testing was incredible and we both had to endure hours of psychological testing. This all took another six months. I had to be free of any infections and they had to make sure that I was able to handle the before and after emotional roller coaster called surgery. When all was said and done and the day of surgery arrived, Jessika , Kylee , Dad and I drove down to the hospital. We checked in very early and were told that there were no rooms available and we would need to remain on call. The drive home was too long and we decided to stick it out at the hospital. After a very tense morning we decided to get a hotel room and rest until we were called. Jessika and I slept while Kylee and Jessika’s dad watched tv. We got the call finally at 7:00pm and drove back to the hospital. After getting us both into our rooms my husband took Kylee and headed home knowing he had to be back early as they were taking us in for surgery early in the morning. I will always remember when they wheeled me in along side Jessika all prepped for surgery. She looked like my little girl again. She was so scared and she kept apologizing to me for making me go through this. . I feel asleep to a silent prayer. The surgery took 6 hours, Jessika’s dad will tell you now that it was the longest 6 hours of his life. He was alone as no family members were able to come from out of town. I woke up by 6pm that night and my husband was all smiles and let me know all had gone well. We of course were not out of the woods yet. Rejection was still a possibility. I was not able to see Jessika for the first day. I finally was allowed after the second day and she looked good. Of course there were tubes out of every part of her body but her spirits were good and she looked wonderful to me. She did stay in the hospital for 14 days and had a few set backs along the way. She developed lock jaw from low calcium. Her levels spiked a few times but all in all she had an amazing recovery and a very caring group of doctors and nurses. Jessika has had my kidney for nine years this past October. A transplanted kidney is not a cure just a treatment so however and hers is now failing again. I of course cannot give another kidney and her dad has to many medical issues himself so Jessika is looking to other family members. Her older brother is willing to give and although he has not been tested yet we are keeping our fingers crossed that it comes to pass. He does live in New York and we are hoping that the testing can be done there. So that’s not an added expense for Jessika. This time Jessika has insurance, although it is not the best and her copays are extremely high, we are glad that is one hurdle we do not have to climb. She will need help though with the exurbanite amount of co-pays and meds that will be coming her way before and after surgery , some in the hundreds. Limiting her well thought out monthly expenses. She works at Cave Creek School District full time as a Braillist teaching blind and low vision kid’s braille. Jessika is also attending college courses at night to get her degree in Elementary Education. She has a great network of friends and family who will be beside her through this next journey of her life. Just to let you know that Jessika use to be spelled with a C. Jessika changed it a few years back . I asked her why of course. Her answer was plan and to the point I am Jessika with K . I am not like any other Jessika. I have a special journey to take…
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February 12, 2012
Jessika....it has been a pleasure getting to know you. Your strength, courage, faith, and love inspire all of us who know you. Keeping you on my prayers. Much love to you and your family.
February 12, 2012
i have know jessika for years. she has a amazing heart and a smile that lights up a room. it breaks my heart to know the pain she has gone through...but to know how far she has come is a miracle. near or far she will always be a friend. xo
Kim Andrews / nj
February 2, 2012
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!
Mail a Check
Make checks payable to:
Help Hope Live
Note in memo:
In honor of Jessika Steier
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087