Emily Progin, PR & Social Media Coordinator
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LINDEN WOMAN GRANTED “TWILIGHT WISH” TO SEE THE YANKEES PLAY
LINDEN, N.J.—On September 15, Linden nursing home resident Jane Koza will get a once-in-a-lifetime wish: to see her beloved New York Yankees play at Yankee Stadium in New York. The wish is a bright spot in what has been a harrowing medical journey and an ongoing battle for independence for the 60-year-old.
Jane was an all-star athlete in her youth, playing competitive basketball and softball for her alma mater Mother Seton High School in Clark. In her 40s, Jane learned she would need knee surgery to keep walking comfortably. During the surgery, she contracted MRSA. A second surgery for a total knee replacement caused Jane to slip into a coma. An infection traveled through her spine and left her with transverse myelitis, a rare neuro-immune disorder that resulted in paralysis from the chest down.
Unable to care for herself, Jane began living in a nursing home before she turned 50. For ten years, she has been fighting to afford the costs of a daily caregiver and physical therapy—both investments that could enable her to move out of the nursing home and into independent living. She has been fundraising with the national nonprofit Help Hope Live since 2015 at helphopelive.org.
At the encouragement of Cathy Byrd, a very good friend and nursing home staff member, Jane reached out to Mother Seton to explain her medical journey and her need for assistance. In 2017, she met her first fundraising goal with help from the Mother Seton alumni association and was able to purchase a new wheelchair. She primarily sells her eye-catching original coloring artworks in exchange for donations.
Earlier this year, Jane received exciting news: the Twilight Wish Foundation was granting her wish application to see the Yankees play the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, September 15. Transport will be provided to her free of charge.
Long after the stadium lights turn off, Jane’s hope will continue to burn brightly. “All I want is a house, a dog, and a live-in caregiver,” she said. Jane is asking members of the community to make a tax-deductible donation in her honor at helphopelive.org so she can achieve her ultimate wish: to finally move out of the nursing facility and resume an independent life, supported by a therapy dog and a live-in caregiver. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and all funds raised will be used to offset medical expenses via Help Hope Live’s Mid-Atlantic Catastrophic Illness Fund.
Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit that specializes in engaging communities in 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 $131 million to pay patient expenses.