Melissa and Andrew Need Your Help!
Melissa Schons Bishop, age 51, and her son Andrew, age 82, both suffer from the effects of a rare genetic disorder called Barakat’s Syndrome. Approximately 1 in 1 million are afflicted with this syndrome, which causes major medical issues including hearing loss, poor vision, dental problems, hypoparathyroidism, and worst of all, kidney failure. Melissa is currently in end-stage renal failure and on dialysis, receiving treatment 3 times a week. Andrew was blessed with a new kidney in right before Christmas in 2015.
Melissa is a devoted wife and mother and a respected Greek and Latin language teacher and writer. To supplement classical high school textbooks, she creates online teaching aids. While struggling with the exhaustion of kidney disease and awaiting her transplant, she has managed to continue to develop new materials for her online business. Unfortunately, her health has continued to decline and she now has respiratory failure.
Andrew is currently starting college at Columbia State University in Tennessee. In addition to Barakat’s Syndrome, Andrew suffered a stroke as a young child, resulting in brain damage that causes nearly constant seizure activity. Consequently, he is only able to attend school part-time requiring significant support structures at home to maintain his schoolwork.
Extraordinary expenses are now arising because of these medical issues. After the kidney transplants, additional expenses will be incurred as well. This family is in need of your support and any financial assistance you can offer.
To help reduce the financial burden for this family, a fundraising campaign in Melissa’s and Andrew’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive, a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for 30 years. All donations are tax-deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the Southeast Kidney Transplant Fund and are administered by HelpHOPELive for medically-related expenses only. If you can make a donation today, it will be most appreciated.
For credit card contributions, please click the Donate Now button.
Your support is critical to the overall success of Melissa’s and Andrew’s struggle. Please know that your contribution counts. We thank you in advance for your kind consideration.
With sincere gratitude,
Dian Schons and Ed Schons
(Melissa’s parents, Andrew’s grandparents)
December 21, 2015
Posted by Andrew’s Grandmother, Dian Schons
Andy is home!!! He is doing wonderfully. Takes 16 different medications twice a day, but he is doing fantastic. Learning about the side effects and how to manage them. We are looking forward to seeing one another over the holidays. We have so very grateful to the family who donated the kidney. We will never be able to pay them back! Many, many blessings to everyone who has so generously supported us. Please offer special prayers for the donor and their family. Merry Christmas to all. Can’t wait to see Andy in person over the holiday season!!!
December 12, 2015
Andrew Bishop received his new kidney yesterday, December 11, in Tampa. We are all so grateful for the love and support shown to our family.
Andrew is doing fine, the surgery went very well, and his new kidney is beginning to function and give Andrew a new life.
June 16, 2015
As of 6.14.2015 Melissa is active on a transplant list for Florida Hospital and is pending at Tampa General Hospital where we expect her also to be listed.
If you are interested in donating a kidney please get in touch with the following Transplant Coordinators:
Denise Brady – Fl Hospital Orlando 407-303-3605
Christine Burnett- Fl Hospital Orlando 407-303-3626
Paula Dubiel – Tampa General Tampa 813-844-5649
This is done in complete confidence. This is your process and we can not be involved. Best of luck to you. We wish you only the very best and please know that you are a blessing to us.
April 13, 2015
Thanks again to the students at Caldwell University for sponsoring another fundraiser for Melissa and Andrew. On Tuesday, April 14, a Jukebox Event will be held on the Caldwell University campus in the Cougar Den from 8:30AM to 8:00PM. Jukebox Selections for .50 for each song played, 1.00 to get your song played next, and 2.00 to have a song turned off and changed. Also ‘helpmelissaandandrew’ purple bracelets will be sold. Event is sponsored by Caldwell University Student Alumni Association and the Film Club.
April 12, 2015
Based on the orientation with Fl Hospital Transplant Ctr Melissa is leaning more and more towards that facility. They are all very good, but this one certainly make the most sense in terms of logistics since she resides right here. She is very comforted and buoyed by all the support and fundraising that has and is being done on her and Andrew’s behalf at Caldwell. She is very cognizant of the special efforts on everyone’s part. Careful monitoring of her fluid intake and attempting to get in more exercise as she goes along is her focus right now. but it’s not easy. This week has been a particularly difficult one with dialysis and she is drained by noon every day. Andy worries about his Mom a lot and has his own struggles with increased seizure breakthrough and side effect of Fycompa. We had to pick him up today from school where he was attempting to practice for standardized and end of year testing. He became pale, weak and had tremors. Don’t know how we are going to get him through the last month of school. Standardized testing is nearly impossible for him. We are continuing to look for solutions – maybe an exemption is in order here? May mean some kind of petition.
March 27, 2015
Again, we are eternally grateful to the students at Caldwell University for sponsoring another fundraising event. The Charity Softball Game event is being organized by the students in the Caldwell University’s Sport Event Management Class as a special project for their class. There will be a doubleheader with the Caldwell Women’s Softball Game at 12pm and a Staff/Student game at 2pm. There will be a buffet style food and beverage tent: $10 (students – $5). Participation fee for the staff/student softball game is: student $3 and staff $10.
March 10, 2015
The Caldwell University Math Club is sponsoring a special Pi Day bake sale and pie eating contest fundraiser on March 11, at 2:00 PM in the Cougar Den with the proceeds going to the fund to help Melissa and Andrew. Again, we would like to thank the students at Caldwell University for their wonderful support.
March 3, 2015
We are so fortunate to have students at Caldwell University, where her Dad is a professor, offer their support. The Caldwell University Student Alumni Association and the Caldwell University Film Club are sponsoring a Jukebox Fundraiser on Tuesday, March 10, for Melissa and Andrew.Things are particularly challenging right now as Melissa is questioning the outcome of a transplant given how medication side-effects often impact her. The risk with anti-rejection drugs is very scary and she worries that her quality of life really won’t be that much better. She has a valid point and nothing is guaranteed. So we are embracing our faith, asking for your continued prayers and providing her with all the support we can possibly give her. We are so grateful for the generous support that has been extended already.
February 21, 2015
Good news this week! Andrew had a good numbers report on Tuesday at an appointment with his nephrologist. Excellent – his diet and medication is keeping him in a hold pattern for a transplant – exactly where we want him as he needs more time to grow and develop before we head down this road! Good for you Andrew!
Melissa is working towards getting off her pain killers and this is her second month is cutting down her doses and she is doing better!!! Great news – less risk when she transplants! Keep up the good work Melissa!
February 8, 2015
Feb 8, 2015 – After a tough start to the New Year with two hospitalizations and the flu, Melissa is coming back! Yea! Yesterday after a trip to the Farmer’s Market in Winter Garden, she made own Green Salsa with fresh Tomalittos from the market. Andy loves tacos but can’t have tomatoes – so they have switched to green salsa instead of tomato based salsa. This way he can have something with a little pizazz without jeopardizing his potassium levels.
We are requalifying Andy for his transplant and have nearly completed the testing. Appointments are made and we should be able to finish up in early March sometime. Melissa will be doing an orientation this week with Fl Hospital here in Orlando to give herself another resource and cachement area for receiving organs. This is a long road – and your support means a great deal to us. Please post a note to Melissa and let her know that you are thinking of her. It really helps her morale. Also don’t forget to tell our story and share our page on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Pinterest. Know you are a blessing to us! Thank you.
January 17, 2015
Melissa is officially on the Shand’s Transplant Ctr List in Gainesville, Fl.
Completed her application to the Tampa Transplant Ctr in Tampa, Fl and is waiting for their approval. She was able to meet the financial requirement – one year of insurance premiums in savings thanks to all your support — Thank you.
Andrew’s status is in process at the Tampa
General Hospital with testing underway.
January 10, 2015
Melissa has completed all of he requirements to be added to the Tampa Transplant Center!!! Thanks to so many of you who have contributed to her fund she has met the financial and the medical requirements. They are reviewing her status and we expect them to approve her as a candidate in the next several weeks!
She is also recovering from a recent infection she has been battling after the holidays. She had a 6 day hospital stay just in time for New Years, but is at home now recovering. Has left her very weak and tired so we expect it to take a bit for her to return to an energy level that will get her through a day.
Andrew is doing great – back in school after the holidays and learning how to write papers! Has discovered the fun of a new Presentation platform – Prezi – and loves to use this as a way to layout his thoughts and ideas. He loves to learn new things and gets so excited. For Christmas he received binoculars for star gazing. He is anxious to get out and try it out and we have scoped out some ideal places to go star gazing.
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Help Hope Live
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In honor of Melissa & Andrew Bishop
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087