Emily Progin, Content Manager
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HOPE & LONG ROAD AHEAD FOR LOCAL MAN WHO GOT NEW HEART IN AUG.
“He’s Fighting to Get Better and Come Home to Us”
WEST NANTICOKE, Pa.—In August, 60-year-old Ken Sims and his wife, Susan, received an incredible gift. Ken got a life-saving heart transplant, giving him a chance at a brighter, healthier life. However, the road to recovery after transplant has been challenging: Ken has spent just 14 days in his own home since July. Fundraising with the nonprofit Help Hope Live is a critical way Ken and Susan have been able to fuel his ongoing transplant recovery.
After ten years of intermittent health issues, and plenty of ups and downs with hospitalizations and lack of answers, Ken was diagnosed with a genetic cardiac disorder called cardiac amyloidosis in May 2022. With this diagnosis, individuals like Ken experience shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, and other progressive health concerns. The diagnosis impacts less than 1% of Americans and is fatal if left untreated.
Ken began a medication regimen, but as his condition continued to progress, he required an implanted pacemaker. He and Susan began to await the one thing that could provide him with a healthier, stronger future: a heart transplant.
“It was very scary, very complicated, and very expensive,” explained Susan, “but we were in it to win life for Team Ken.”
In mid-July, Ken’s health deteriorated enough to require hospitalization and constant monitoring as he awaited a transplant. “On August 29,” said Susan, “we got the call that would give Ken a new life—a matching heart was found!”
Ken’s transplant took place on August 30.
Ken’s road to recovery has been complex—and expensive. That’s why Ken and Susan turned to the trusted transplant fundraising nonprofit Help Hope Live. Donations are collected at: https://helphopelive.org/campaign/21499/
“The funds we’ve raised have greatly assisted us,” said Susan. “We’ve been able to cover temporary lodging, medical travel, and so much more. Without financial assistance, there’s no way I would be able to be with him through all these hospitalizations and challenges.”
As Susan pointed out, community support in West Nanticoke has extended far beyond financial help: “The community sent us Thanksgiving dinners and so many prayers. The emotional support is strong.”
Ken was able to make it home to enjoy some of those Thanksgiving dinners at home, but unfortunately, he had to return to inpatient hospitalization after that trip home.
Ongoing health concerns that pose a risk to his heart must be managed carefully. Transplant recipients like Ken live with weakened immune systems due to the anti-rejection medications they must take to increase the chance of their new organ being accepted by their body.
Despite the challenges and setbacks, Ken and Susan choose to move forward with resilience and hope, grateful for a chance at life for Ken—and grateful for their community’s help along the way.
“They say the first year after a transplant is the most challenging,” said Susan. “So far, that is proving to be very true. But we have so many prayer warriors with us on this journey.”
Donations remain a key source of help and hope for Ken and Susan. Make a tax-deductible donation online at any time at: https://helphopelive.org/campaign/21499/
Unlike a GoFundMe campaign, donations to Help Hope Live are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and all funds raised will be managed by the nonprofit to cover verified medical and related expenses. Help Hope Live verifies medical and financial need for every patient.
Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit that specializes in engaging communities in secure, tax-deductible fundraising campaigns for people who need a transplant or are affected by a catastrophic injury or illness. Since 1983, campaigns organized by Help Hope Live have raised over $172 million to pay patient expenses. ###Written by Emily Progin