Martin Needs Our Help!
My name is Lizzy Vece. Marty is my 47 year old husband and after a three year wait on the transplant list, this past December, he finally received received his new heart. It was the greatest Christmas present our family could have ever imagined. Since the transplant Marty has struggled with complications but he continues to remain positive and fight every day.
Prior to the transplant, Marty was dependent upon an LVAD (a mechanical implanted heart pump), in order to remain alive.
The day before Thanksgiving of this past year, during his routine check-up and tests, his team of doctors at UCLA Medical Center admitted him because of a blood clot inside his LVAD. Because of this very dangerous situation, the team of doctors made the decision to keep him in the hospital until a donor heart became available. We were anticipating a wait of up to four to six months, but after three weeks Marty got the call for his precious gift.
We live in Las Vegas and Marty is a high school teacher. I was a dancer in a show on the Las Vegas Strip until having our third child. For the past four years I have been a full time caregiver, while pursuing multiple part- time employment opportunities. We have three girls, Ava, 10, Lucia, 9, and Rosie, 4. My 79 year old father, Lowell, lives with us as well, which is such a blessing. He is able to help with the girls a little, while I work part time; and I offer him support after the devastating loss of my mom two years ago. Thankfully, he is also able to provide us some income from retirement pension.
Marty is currently on a medical leave of absence from work for at least 9-12 months. We have applied for social security disability, which, with our three daughters will be roughly 1,000/month. However, that money will be needed to cover our health insurance premium that the school district will stop paying once Marty is on leave.
We have been been fundraising for the past three years to help pay down the medical bills and moving expenses from his LVAD surgery in 2014, when we very unexpectedly had to relocate our entire family to the LA area in order for him to have the life saving surgery.
Fortunately, we have been blessed with many donations, but realistically, its practically impossible to be prepared for something of this magnitude. Although we’ve prayed for this time to come, along with it comes much added stress, when the most important concern is and should be – Marty’s health.
Right now, we need to raise funds for travel back and forth from Las Vegas to UCLA, post transplant as Marty must stay near his doctors for three months of follow up care.. This time will prove difficult for me to keep up on our monthly bills, let alone extras. Additionally, the first year after transplant for Marty will be critical. The concern will be rejection of the new organ. Because of this, and the danger of enormous amounts of germs Marty will encounter as a school teacher, he will remain on medical leave for up to one year as he recovers. His donor heart will be our priority.
I have tried to break down in numbers what will keep my family safe and at peace during this struggle, so that we have a clear fundraising goal. Thank you for your support and prayers.
Total Fundraising Goal: $25,070
Pre-transplant (possibly 4 months)
For Lizzy and girls
Travel lodging: 3200
***We have already exuasted all of our financial resources just to carry us through the pre-transplant stage.
Post-transplant (required 3 months Marty must remain in LA near his doctors)
For Lizzy and girls and Marty
Travel lodging: 9600
Post-transplant (Once Marty returns home for but must travel back each month to UCLA for follow up care during the first year of recovery).
Travel for follow ups and biopsies: 2670
Post-transplant addition expenses for Lizzy and girls while Marty is on leave (10 months)
Extra expenses above and beyond necessary bills: 4000
May 9, 2018
Marty will be 5 months post-transplant on the 18th of May. He is increasing his walking up to a mile every time he walks. He continues to struggle heavily with the side effects of his medications. Over the past few weeks he has had daily migraine headaches and for the past two months he has struggled with insomnia. The doctors are making adjustments to get a handle on the headaches, but for now, he will have to deal with the insomnia on his own. The steroids along with the anti-rejection medications are likely the cause for the insomnia and the doctors do not want to prescribe any sleeping aid medications in fear of the chance of addiction.
April 12, 2018
Marty is quickly coming up on his four month post-transplant anniversary and he is doing much better. He has been walking daily and has gotten up to 1.3 miles. He is still struggling with some of the side effect of his anti-rejection medications, mostly headaches, nausea, and insomnia, but he states, “It’s a small price to pay for a second chance at life.” He continues to be out of work during his recovery period so your continuous generous donations are making a major impact the the Vece family’s lives. Your donations are helping them through this difficult period.
February 6, 2018
Marty received his new heart on December 18th. He spent five days on a breathing machine in the ICU because at first his new heart didn’t want to beat on its own. After five days, Marty’s heart stared to beat and Marty was woken from sedation. Since the surgery he has experienced some complications that have landed back in the hospital a few times. He has had a rough start to his recovery, but his resolve is strong, he fights to improve each day, and he still has not lost his sense of humor.
December 6, 2017
Marty is currently in the hospital at UCLA. He has a blood clot in his LVAD and is being given aggressive medications to thin his blood in an effort to prevent the clot from enlarging. The major concern at this time is Marty suffering a stroke as a result of the blood clot. His doctors are monitoring him closely and he has been moved up on the transplant list to 1A status. He will remain in the hospital until a donor heart becomes available.
November 5, 2017
Marty is fast approaching the three year mark of being on the heart transplant list. It has been a challenging journey for Marty living dependent on the LVAD as he waits for his new organ. He continues to remain positive and lives his life to the fullest everyday, despite the numerous challenges. Over the past six months, he has had some health setbacks due to complications with the LVAD, but a strong mind and an endless desire to persevere and be the best husband for his wife and father for his three girls, allows him to keep the fight going.
May 23, 2017
It’s been two and a half years on the waiting list and Marty continues to wait for a new heart. Although it has been a difficult journey, he remains extremely positive and grateful to be alive. Every day he gets to spend with Lizzy and the girls is a blessing. He continues to be an advocate for organ donation awareness and recently became a Patient Ambassador for St. Jude Medical. During Marty’s free time he meets with patients who have recently been diagnosed with Congestive Heat Failure and gives them positive advice about living with an LVAD as a bridge to transplant.
February 22, 2017
Marty is currently number 16 on the transplant waiting list. His two and half year anniversary living with the LVAD is quickly approaching. The Vece family continues to fundraise in preparation for “the call.” When Marty get the call for his new heart, he will need to be on a medical leave of absence from work for at least one year. For the first six months after the surgery, he will have to stay in Los Angeles to remain close to the hospital for recovery. Your generous donations will help the Vece family pay for housing, food, and much needed medications while they fight their way through the first year of recovery without any income.
November 6, 2016
Marty’s latest news feature.
November 6, 2016
Marty has moved up on the transplant list to number 18. We are quickly approaching the two year anniversary of Marty’s LVAD surgery. He continues to remain positive and use his limited energy to promote awareness about organ donation. Please continue to donate. Your generous donations help the Vece family stay financially afloat by helping alleviate the tremendous burden of monthly uninsured medical costs. A financial breakdown of monthly medical expenses can be viewed by scrolling down to the February 10th, 2016 update post.
September 21, 2016
On September 17th, Marty was a guest speaker at Nevada Donor Network’s Annual Donor Remembrance Ceremony. Marty continues to use his limited energy to raise public awareness about the importance of organ donation.
August 1, 2016
Please join Marty and his beautiful Wife Lizzy for their upcoming fundraiser at Pinot’s Palette at Boca Park on Friday, August 12th. Bring your significant other, friends, family, or all three for what is sure to be a fun evening of paining, drinking wine, and lots of smiling. Reserve your spot to paint by going to www.pinotspallette.com
July 11, 2016
On July 1st, Marty met with Nevada Congressman Joe Heck to discuss the lack of transplant facilities in Nevada, as well as eleven other states. The meeting went very well as Marty and the Congressman discussed several issues of concern including, private and state insurance covering transplants out of state, funding for families that have to travel out of state, and raising awareness nationwide about organ donation. Marty continues on his quest to raise awareness about organ donation and helping others. He has recently reached out to several national news tv programs as well as Ellen Degeneres. He is anxiously awaiting responses.
February 11, 2016
FINANCIAL BREAKDOWN OF MONTHLY UNINSURED MEDICAL COSTS:
LVAD Device – $1800
Medications – $606
Local Doctor Visits and Bloodwork co-pays – $180
Medical Supplies for Cleaning my Driveline Site – $214
UCLA Follow up Clinic Appointment every six weeks (travel & co-pays for visit, testing, and bloodwork) $360
Your generous donations, no matter how large or small, make a difference in Marty’s life and the lives of his wife and girls. With each donation, he can take a step closer to receiving a new heart!!!
February 1, 2016
As of January 1st, 2016, Marty’s teacher’s insurance has adopted a new policy in which the patient is responsible for a 30% co-insurance cost for treatments and medications. The co-pay for Marty’s most important medication, responsible for keeping his lungs healthy, has increased from $9 a month to $328. This is only one of his 27 medications. Without this particular medication, Marty’s pressures in his lungs will increase to a dangerous level and he will additionally need a lung transplant along with the heart. This medication is imperative for him to have. Please continue to donate to help Marty and his family manage the costs of this devastating disease and insure that sometime in the short future, he receives a new heart.
November 25, 2015
Marty’s news feature on the ABC local news.
October 29, 2015
Marty has been on the waiting list for 11 months now. In the last month he has dropped from number 22 on the list to number 28. Because Marty has an LVAD, his is listed as 1B status. People who are hospitalized are listed at 1A status. The reason why he fluctuates on the list and can actually drop depends on how many “very sick and hospitalized’ are on the list at one particular time. In other words, even though Marty has been on the list for 11 months, if someone tomorrow develops a heart condition, is near death, and is hospitalized, that person will automatically be listed ahead of Marty. For Marty to get a heart, a perfect match for Marty would need to come in and bypass everyone listed at 1A status (because that particular heart is not a good fit for each of them), Marty would then need to be at the top of the 1B status list or be near the top and have to donor heart bypass the 1B’s that are ahead of Marty for the same reason as the 1As. Then and only then, Marty will get the call for the heart.
October 7, 2015
Marty’s article in Addison’s “MySuburbanlife” newspaper.
October 7, 2015
Marty’s article in VegasSeven magazine.
October 7, 2015
Marty is out of the hospital and for the time being, he doesn’t need gallbladder surgery. Even though he has gallbladder stones, the doctors are apprehensive about performing a surgery while he has the LVAD. If the condition gets worse, they will revisit the idea of surgery.
July 26, 2015
After a two day stay in the hospital, Marty is back home with his family. Adjustments needed to be made on his medications. His blood thickened to a point where he was extremely susceptible to blood clots forming and possibly causing strokes. His blood thinning medicine was adjusted and his numbers are back in the normal range. Thank you for all of your prayers and positive thoughts while he was in ICU.
July 18, 2015
Listen to Marty’s live radio with Ava Kaufman on ESPN radio.
July 18, 2015
Watch Marty dance with his LVAD acting silly at Venice Beach.
July 18, 2015
Marty and his family’s story are featured in the following documentary based on organ donation.
July 18, 2015
Read Marty’s Father’s Day Super Dad article for ESPN at:
July 17, 2015
July 12th was Marty’s seven month anniversary of being on the transplant list. He is currently number 38 on the list. Marty continues to keep positive and is staying active by walking 30 minutes a day. He hopes to get up to 1 hour by the end of next month.
Photo Galleries (3)
May 19, 2018
Marty & Lizzy, I'm just a spectator in your journey and I wanted you to know that I am blessed each time I read any of your updates. God is doing a work in and through you and today, your 5 month anniversary Post-Transplant, WOW what a Celebration!! Congratulations!! P.S. I love that smile Marty..keep it up :)
March 28, 2018
We love you, Marty! Keep fighting the good fight! C-Springs, you know!
March 15, 2018
Love you Marty. :*
March 8, 2018
This guy is gonna make it... Just sayin'. (I know a survivor when I see one) Marty; You're the awesomest!!! Feel da love, my friend!
February 23, 2018
As I wallow in self pity over losing my job, I read this and realize I need to count my blessings more. You guys are close to my heart and I thank God every day that you gave Bella the best gift ever- Ava & Lucia true friends to love and who love her. God bless you guys and you got this Marty!
February 9, 2018
Keep fighting and don’t loose your sense of humor! Rooting for you and the family!
February 7, 2018
I am a friend of Kurt Sage and he posted this link – I wish you the best and safe healing. I have been in the position to need help during my husband’s hospitalization this last summer. Glad to help.
February 6, 2018
Big hugs and love your way!
December 31, 2017
Hope the New Year brings many wonderful days to celebrate and answers all your prayers! xoxo...The Steimer Family
December 25, 2017
Thinking of you all....Merry Christmas! So much love, Wes, Hilary & Max
December 20, 2017
Sending all the love in the world to your incredible family and inspiring Marty! Prayers and God Bless!❤️
December 14, 2017
God bless you and your family always! I'm sure with your spirit God will take care of you! You always bring so much light and happiness into everyone's lives you are able to touch. I love watching all your videos on Facebook they always bring a smile to my face. My dad spent a lot of time in that hospital he had a strong spirit and it kept him alive for a long long long time. I know you got this without a doubt positive thoughts always coming your way and prayers! I know this is not where you want to be for the holidays but I have a feeling no matter where you are you will shine and bring happiness to your family and others. Hope to see you back here in Las Vegas soon! Yours truly James and Rozelle Zito
December 13, 2017
Aloha Vece Family, Goodness you have so much going on - it’s clear even from a distance what a strong family you have. One of these days we need to get together now that the Cook Family is back in Vegas! Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers. Hope our support helps you along this journey!
Much love, Caitlin, Lane, Emily, Charlotte, & Dylan Cook
December 12, 2017
Hello Vece Family, praying everything goes well and sending you lots and lots of love from the Fairbairn clan!!!!
December 11, 2017
God Bless you guys. Praying for you.
December 11, 2017
Keep on Marty!!!
Cee Cee and her house full of boys!
December 11, 2017
Keep fighting Marty! Your determination and spirit are truly remarkable. We are praying for a new heart for you for Christmas!
Much love to you, Lizzy and the girls, Anna and Brett
November 15, 2017
Marty, You're courage and strength is an inspiration. We love your spirit!!
Francesca and Robert Goldberg
November 7, 2017
Much love and support to you.
July 5, 2017
Marty, We just love what you're doing to help others while you wait for your new heart. Keep up the good fight my friend. We love you...
The Raburn Family
December 16, 2016
Marty, Every Christmas my family makes donations to worthy organizations instead of giving each other a load of crap we don't need!! I couldn't think of anything better this year than to try to help you, Lizzy and the girls with the unbelievable financial challenges you face on this journey to a new heart! Know that we love you guys and are praying for a match ASAP!!!
Much love, Anna and Brett
November 18, 2016
We have followed your story through my sister Amy and brother-in-law Eric. I'll always remember their wedding and you and your wife dancing up a storm, and the energy you bring to a room. My husband and I recently celebrated our 30th anniversary, and I told my daughter if she needed a gift idea, it would be donations to your fund. She relayed that to guests who she invited to a surprise party for us, and several donated. It seems small compared to what you have gone through. You are in our prayers.
Beth and Mike Tolomeo
November 5, 2016
Praying for you and your family. Wishing you the needed the strength to see this through...donation made in honor of Mike and Beth Tolomeo. Peace and Love, The Javell Family.
The Javell Family
August 3, 2016
Dear Martin, My husband had his transplant Oct 3 in Columbus Oh. at OSU. His call came 16 mos after being listed and 15 mos of having pic line. His next step would have been an LVAD. He doing wonderful and zero rejection each mo. I pray you get your call for a heart soon.
August 1, 2016
Dear Martin, My husband had a heart transplant at UCLA almost 17 years ago. His new heart is still doing great! We hope that you will receive a transplant very soon. All our best wishes to you and your family,.
Debra and Shaun Tulles
July 20, 2016
Latest donation courtesy of the Lamb Family.
December 24, 2015
For the life of me, we could not think of anyone who's a candle person, so we're just pretending we did. Merry Christmas to all of you!
E, K, & lil C
December 24, 2015
May God Bless you and your family this Christmas! Praying for your healing Marty
Seth & Kristin Muse
December 21, 2015
You are the best teacher out there and always made me smile, you are in my prayers :):)
November 30, 2015
Hi friend! I just watched your new segment. You, Elizabeth and your 3 beautiful girls have been in my thoughts and prayers every single day. Trust in God and in those who love you. You are strong and so so loved. I will share your Yankee Candle campaign with my students at Lincolnshire Academy of Dance. Stay strong and God Bless. Sending love from the windy city.
Brenda Didier and Michael Seiler
November 23, 2015
Hey buddy, I am still praying every single day for you. I can't imagine the taxing emotional and physical toll of this incredibly long wait. I pray your new heart comes very soon. Love to you, Lizzy, and the girls.
Brenda Craft Barrett
November 23, 2015
Praying for you!
August 4, 2015
Hi Marty, We wish you and your family the best and will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
The Gaskill Family
July 29, 2015
If I don't remember anything about your class, I'll remember that you had a great spirit & it shown clearly that you loved what you did. I hope all goes well w/ you & I will be praying for you.
July 29, 2015
Hey Marty! Thinking of you.... Remembering you when you were about 4 feet tall with a curly head of hair and dancin' on tiptoes! Love you Dude! Prayers and Love!
Linda Macior the "E" Ma!
July 16, 2015
He is an awesome teacher !!it was great to be in his class :)!our prayers go to you .
July 14, 2015
Hi Marty! I had such a fun time with you in Grease back at Pheasant Run. You always made my sister Lara and I laugh! I am confident you will get the heart transplant that you need! I will spread the word! Sending love and prayers, Felicia
Felicia (Filip) Burkovskiy
June 2, 2015
HeyMarty. You made our childhood a great experience.Hanging out the condo,using the pool,overnight laughs.Hangin with your family. I would'nt trade my childhood for anything.Thanks for making it special.Frank Reda Jr.
Frank Reda Jr.
Mail a Check
Make checks payable to:
Help Hope Live
Note in memo:
In honor of Martin Vece
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087