Thymus Transplant for Baby Gabriel

Campaign Created by: Bobby, Tommy & Elizabeth (Keith) Gilstrap

The funds from this campaign will be received by Bobby Gilstrap.

Goal: USD $2,500
Raised: USD $ 2,145

This Fundraiser is designed for anyone who would like to use it as their birthday, anniversary or special occassion fundraiser to support the thymus transplant surgery needed by GABRIEL NOLASCO. The funds raised are for miscellaneous expenses for the Nolasco family, since most medical expenses are covered by insurance. Read more about Baby Gabe’s condition, surgery and more on this page (below), plus the PRAYER and the UPDATE PAGES as follows:

  • UPDATE 1: Give to Specific Financial Needs
  • UPDATE 2: What’s it Like to Live with Gabe?
  • UPDATE 3: Gabe’s Condition, Meet the Surgeon & Hospital
  • UPDATE 4: Insurance pre-approval process has begun

Gabriel is turning 3-years old on July 30, 2022 (a miracle in itself). Baby Gabe was born with several major heart defects, a kidney defect, and with no thymus (no immune system). He has miraculously lived over 2 years without an immune system. He has survived multiple heart surgeries, general surgeries, and even 2 rounds of chemotherapy. The family has sacrificed all they have for Gabriel. They are doing everything they have learned to do for keeping him safe.

In North Carolina, Duke University has a research program for children with congenital Athymia (like Gabe). He is number 21 on the transplant list so the family and friends are eagerly waiting for his time for transplant. Since the first time Gabriel came home from the hospital, the family has been in isolation (see UPDATE 2 to read “What’s it Like to Live with Gabe?").

After transplant surgery, they will be able to lighten up on their isolation lifestyle and live life again (anticipated by summer 2022)!

Gabe LOVES his family! The Nolasco family includes:

  • Dad: Eric
  • Mom: Chelsy
  • Brother: Johnaton (11)
  • Brother: Isaiah (7)
  • Sister: Elliana (5)

Chelsy (mom) said, “He is not our child but, our Father’s child. God blessed us with this journey of resilience, faith, and grace. He will continue guiding and leading us. We could not have done this without strength from the Holy Spirit and the love and support of our village.”

  • VISIT THE GALLERY FOR A FEW PHOTOS OF GABE AND HIS FAMILY

UPDATES

Update #13: Out of Surgery
October 24, 2022
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God is good!!! Just got updated that they are preparing to close Gabriel up!! He is off of bypass, the new valve and conduit are ”working beautifully” as the nurse stated!!! we were told that it would be 6-8 hours after they started before they were done. It’s been about 3 and a half hours! We are headed to the waiting area to talk with the surgeon, and wait to see him in CICU! All praise to God! He is so awesome, powerful, loving, forgiving, merciful, and SO much more!! -Chelsy Nolasco

Update #12: Heart Surgery at 8:00 AM
October 24, 2022
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Tomorrow morning (10/24/22) at 5 AM we will get up and start our pre-op check list! Gabe is ready for surgery! We have prepared him the best we could. His spirit is on fire and he is ready to show his fight! It’s been a hard last few months but we won’t give up!
Our ask for you is tomorrow morning at 8 AM (CT) please PRAY for Gabe. Let’s flood the gates of heaven with the name Gabriel Solomon Alexander Nolasco!
If you want to please wear red and blue in support of CHD (congenital heart defect) awareness! Kids like Gabe fight every single day. Tomorrow is just our little fighters chance!

Please share and spread awareness! God’s got this! -Chelsy Nolasco

Update #11: Heart Surgery Moved
October 24, 2022
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Heart Surgery is being moved to Monday! No need to wait around if the surgeon is available!
I didn’t think that was going to be the plan but we are on Gods timing not our own. We definitely felt like they would be moving his surgery up just not that fast.

Current needs!
My mom (Elizabeth) will be watching the kids for a few days. As many of you know my mom is disabled and can use some help! I had planned on meal prepping but I won’t be able to obviously! If there is anyone who could help make a meal and take it to her house in Cleburne for them I would really appreciate it! Village this is your time to shine!
Thank you all in advanced. Another need is gas money/cards for Eric. He will still have to go home everyday to care for our dogs.

Gabe is so strong and we know that he has fought for this life and will continue fighting! 

Update #10: Remaining in Hospital, More...
October 21, 2022
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Update update!!!!
Today had a lot of news. Warning this will be LONG.
1st and most important, transplant has been approved financially! The last bit of paperwork will be signed and get the transplant team in network with insurance. The next baby behind us will not have the fight that we have and we praise God for that. This was our biggest and longest hurdle to overcome!
Next, Gabe is not responding like we thought he would. Today he got pretty sick and we took some steps back. Unfortunately we can’t actually fight the Norovirus that is kicking his butt. The meds we have tried have semi helped manage the symptoms but ultimately not helped enough. If we continue this decline and things get in a bad spot our only option is a bone marrow transplant. Best candidates would be Ella and Isaiah. They will get testing done soon. Waiting to set that up with the BMT team. That is a last resort because it would bump him off the transplant list is my understanding.
Not the place we want to be in right now but God has provided infinitely for our family. Lots of big things happening.
Some of us are not ok. This is all hard and emotions are all over the place. It so hard and painful and uncomfortable. We are grateful we are heartbroken. Our faith is strong but we are just tired of the rollercoaster. - Chelsy Nolasco
*picture is Gabe ordering his dinner. He can’t talk…. He just looks cute trying to order his ”green trees”

Update #9: Gabe is Hospitalized
August 3, 2022
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Gabriel has tested positive for Norovirus. He has been admitted to Cook's Children's Hospital. Gabe is miserable and is really struggling. He hasn’t had food in 3 days. 

As long as everything goes well and he is able to get the virus out of his system, he will be there at least one week. 

They are starting an antiviral medication today, to try and help him. 

Your prayers are needed and appreciated.

Update #8: See UPDATE #1 for REVISED Expense List
July 16, 2022
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This is just a quick notice to inform you that the expense list in UPDATE #1 has been updated due to inflation. 

In reality, there are a lot of balls in the air. Once they are notified of the date and time of the surgery definitive plans will be made. They've been told it could happen really fast. They've also been told that Gabriel may be flown to Duke Hospital in NC by medical air transport. If so, many plans will have to change. 

We'll keep you posted. PLEASE share the fundraiser page (https://www.givesendgo.com/BabyGabriel) on your social media, by email, with your church groups, etc. Ask people to go to the page an commit to PRAY and give if they can.

Thanks. 

Update #7: GOOD NEWS! Thymus Transplant Update:
July 14, 2022
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[Posted 7/14/22, 5:30 p.m. EDT]

Yesterday, we found out that Gabriel's case was being sent to an outside immunologist for review. Fast forward to today; About two hours ago, Chelsy received a call from Gabriel's case worker from his insurance. She called to tell us that they were going to have an answer by tonight or tomorrow. Forty Five minutes ago, we got a call from the supervisor, that wanted to personally tell us that Gabriel's thymus transplant was approved!!!! 

We do not have a timeline of when he will be going. But I have a feeling it will be sooner than later. While I 100% believe in prayer, and have faith, I also know that God expects us to do our own work as well. So we started posting daily on social media, tagging news stations, elected government officials, whoever we could, to try and get Gabriel's story out there. To get awareness to athymia. Chelsy has a friend that had a contact at WFAA, and we did an interview via zoom on Monday. Along with the letter I sent to the insurance, we let them know we had gotten the media involved. We will be talking with the reporter next week, and hope to continue with airing the story. In hopes of gaining more awareness for athymia. Gabriel is not the only child in Texas with this condition. There are others, have been others, and will be others. We fought, and will continue to fight for ALL these babies, in hopes that they and their parents will not have to go through what we have, and have access to a life saving transplant that they need. 

GABRIEL IS GOING TO GET HIS THYMUS TRANSPLANT!!!!!!

Update #6: Medicaid Has Denied Transplant
June 30, 2022
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Hey all, just wanted to give a quick update on Gabriel's Thymus Transplant issues. We are currently VERY upset. Duke has accepted him for the program, but Texas Medicaid denied it the first time, and has denied it after the appeal stating that the transplant "is not medically necessary" for him. Chelsy spoke with his case worker in Medicaid today (in TX), who spoke with the Medical Director, and stated that it was likely that they would NEVER approve his transplant because it does not fit in their guidelines for a transplant.

At this time, short of trying to get media coverage and/or moving to a state with better insurance, we ask for prayer. This is a big brick wall we've hit. And I know that God is bigger... but I'm shaking I'm so infuriated right now. I've spoken with some lawyers we were told we could call, and they've been no help at all. I will continue to call, and pray that something gets done.

Eric & Chelsy Nolasco

Our "Journey by Faith" Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JBFGodIsMyStrength


Update #5: SURGERY APPROVED
May 19, 2022
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Several weeks ago, Eric Nolasco posted this note of Facebook.

Today Gabriel had his DiGeorge Clinic appointment at Cooks. I received a phone call from Chelsy during the visit. Gabriel's Immunologist got on the phone with me, and brought me to tears. She introduced herself over the phone, and told me that the hospital in North Carolina, where the thymus transplants take place, had called her and told her that Gabriel has been accepted into the thymus transplant program!!!!!! We have waited two and a half years for this news! Two and a half years of isolation. From family. From friends. All the time not knowing when our son was going to have a life saving transplant to help him grow an immune system. Now, we will still be living in isolation for the foreseeable future. I don't remember the actual length of time from transplant, but I believe it was 8-12 months before seeing any real change in T-Cell count in patients. But this is a HUGE step in Gabriel's life. The next step towards transplant is fighting the insurance. That's a post for another time. Right now we celebrate this momentous step in Gabriel's journey! He has fought hard to be here today, and God has poured His strength into Gabe every. Single. Day. Thank you to those who have prayed for him, helped us financially, emotionally, and spiritually. GABE IS GOING TO GET A THYMUS!!!!!!!!!

Update #4: Case to be Reviewed
March 3, 2022
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Today we got a call!! This month, Gabriel’s thymus transplant case is FINALLY going to be reviewed by Duke! We will start the process with the insurance after the board of the hospital approves his transplant candidacy, and get things started! We are very VERY excited that we got this call today! We had not received a single phone call from them since everything started when he was a baby.  Two and a half years of questions. Living in complete isolation, homeschooling, fear of every cough or runny nose Gabe had, not hugging family, hanging out with friends, sanitizing all the groceries, and so much more. Keep on praying for fast answers, no fights from the insurance, and a quick transplant date! Gabriel and many others need a thymus! 

-Eric and Chelsy

UPDATE 3: Gabe’s Condition, Meet the Surgeon & Hospital
July 17, 2021
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Gabriel has DiGeorge syndrome (22q11.2 deletion syndrome)

UPDATE 2: What’s it Like to Live with Gabe?
July 17, 2021
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Isolation. When you live with Gabriel, your isolation is more than any of us experienced during the pandemic. For instance, their family can no longer go to parks, museums, zoos or aquariums. If Gabriel has to go to the doctor, he is literally put into a mobile bubble. The entire family wears masks a lot.

When someone goes to the grocery store or pharmacy, they have to strip on the porch, enter through the back door and go straight into the bathroom so they can shower immediately with antibacterial soap. Then, all groceries or other items are thoroughly sanitized. Speaking of food, no one else can cook for the family due to health and safety concerns.

When immediate family grandparents would like to visit, it almost always has to happen outside with adequate distance kept between them and Gabe. They cannot attend church, school, or any other in-person gatherings. They are in isolation from the world.

UPDATE 1: Give to Specific Financial Needs
July 17, 2021
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NECESSARY EXPENSES (Give to meet a specific need)
     [Updated due to rising inflation]

  • $1575 - Groceries for family of 6
  • $450 – RV lot fee (current plan is for no hotel, family will stay in their RV trailer)
  • $125 – 1 tank of gas for Suburban towing trailer
  • $75 – Family per meal cost (Chick-fil-a or fast food) while traveling
  • $36 – Toddler diapers
  • $42 – Toddler pull-ups for overnight
  • $23 – Baby wipes
  • $25 – Healthy snacks for kids (they love fruit & veggies)
  • $30 - Sandwich stuff
  • $5 - Case of water

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Pray for every child on the thymus transplant list to get their life saving surgery.
  • Pray for Gabriel (and the other children) to stay well until his transplant.
  • Pray for the Nolasco family to find financial solutions to keep them comfortable in quarantine until the surgery. They will have to isolate for 1 more year post surgery before breaking down isolation barriers and entering the world unmasked.