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25 years ago Joe’s life was thrown into upheaval when he was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Despite being given this life-altering diagnosis, Joe did not let it stop him from serving in the US Army in the Persian Gulf War, helping to build houses with Habitat for Humanity, working with the Boy Scouts of America, graduating college or getting married. Over time, his condition gradually worsened and during the last two years ago his kidney function decreased more rapidly and Joe was placed on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. We are happy to share the goods news that on March 29th Joe received his gift-of-life – his kidney transplant. He is home and resting – taking it one day at a time.

Joe grew up in Northwest Indiana just outside of Chicago and graduated from Merrillville H.S. After graduation, he joined the US Army for four active years. Joe also served, state-side, at Fort Rucker, AL, and spent two years in South Korea in the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey and later served in the Army Reserves in Terre Haute. Joe received degrees from Vincennes, Purdue and Indiana Wesleyan, along with a Masters in Human Resources Management. Joe and the love of his life, Allison, were married in 2002. He has worked for both Frontier and Verizon Communications for over ten years and his love of the hotel industry has kept him working both full/part time for over 20 years for Marriott. Joe has always been the person everyone could depend upon — whether it is his wife, a disabled ovarian cancer survivor, people at his workplace, his church or his family. Joe has always had a positive and generous spirit that has helped many throughout the years – now it is our turn to help him.

Updates (15)

February 2, 2018

2/02/2018 Thank you for your continued support. After 30 days at Cleveland Clinic he has been able to return home with a successful surgical outcome. He will continue to do follow ups and recover. Your help has allowed us to be able to support his costs and continued care! Thank you for your help! We appreciate all the kindness and help during this time. Allison & Joe

January 8, 2018

As you may know, Joe was transplanted in March, 2016. He has had some complications from the transplant that will require another procedure at Cleveland Clinic and we will have to stay close to the hospital for 1.5 months while he recovers. We are so grateful to everyone for your support and donations that have helped so much. We are continuing our fundraising efforts to help with the costs associated with this unexpected complication. If you are able do make a donation, we would be so grateful. Thank you.

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February 26, 2016

Joe, you were always the nicest guy in high school. It was pleasure to have you as a classmate back in Merrillville. Congratulations on all of your schooling and achievements thus far in your life, there is much more to come! Hang on to that great smile and stay strong during your struggles Big Joe!

-Jonathan Zeha

July 17, 2015

Joey, y'all have been the only cousins that have kept in touch with yearly Christmas cards over the years and that has meant a great deal. Your thoughtfulness is appreciated. Even though we haven't seen each other in person since we were little kids, I love you and your family very much and will be praying. Your cousin,

Bonnie Mayer Morales

July 15, 2015

Joe I love you kids like you are my own and I sure hope that call comes soon. You have such a positive attitude don't let this delay get you down. Hang in there you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Love you

Sharon Payne