While this is about Benjamin, we first want to share with you a little about Erica. Before Erica started working at Winton, she had cancerous tumors that went misdiagnosed for 7 years. When she finally got the help she needed, the cancer had spread to a large mass in her side. She underwent chemotherapy, but after a couple of doses, she had a serious allergic reaction to it. She opted to have the mass removed and had an open wound that took a year to heal. Last school year, Erica had a bout of Bell’s Palsy. She struggled through it, using up all of her sick leave and taking time off without pay. She is now 90% healed! As she was recovering last school year, her family’s lives took a turn that no one could possibly have expected.
In the Spring of 2017, Benjamin began slurring his speech and acting erratically. Without the offer of help or resources, he was let go in May, 2017 due to rapid cognitive decline. He could no longer do the job he had excelled at for 18 years. Thinking he might have early onset Alzheimer’s, Benjamin was hospitalized in June for 3 days. Tests alone totaled over $60,000. Frustratingly, nothing came back positive. It was then determined that he was suffering from a severe mental nervous breakdown due to a form of PTSD. Benjamin is now functioning at a child’s cognitive level. Benjamin’s condition has continued to decline these past 10 difficult months and his confusion seems to grow daily. He has been through months of therapy, endured several batches of tests and procedures including MRIs and swallow tests - Benjamin now chokes on the simplest of foods. After months of doctor appointments, tests, and diagnoses, his symptoms continue on without any concrete answers. Just last week, Benjamin met with a new Neuropsych doctor. His former diagnosis is now under new consideration.
These days, Erica is standing beside a husband who can’t provide for his family and is himself confused as to his situation. Erica is now both mom and dad to their struggling kiddos and also the only caregiver to her husband. They are receiving no government help at all, no unemployment (he can’t go to interviews), no disability, no Social Security, no respite help, nothing.
But now for the good news! Benjamin has been accepted as a candidate for consultation and examination at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota at the beginning of June! Erica is excited, nervous, scared, and worried to embark on another part of this mysterious medical journey and is hoping to find answers and possible healing through the Mayo Clinic's expert staff of doctors. The Mayo Clinic said that Benjamin and Erica will need to get a hotel and stay for roughly 12 days as an outpatient. They will stay in the hotel at night and do the tests and meet with several kinds of neuro and psych doctors at the clinic during the days. As Erica wrote to us yesterday, “I can’t believe we may actually get some REAL answers!!”
Of course this fantastic opportunity comes at a cost that the family simply can’t monetarily afford. Erica’s net take-home pay of under $400 a month, (after insurance premiums are deducted), isn’t nearly enough to support a family of five, let alone pay for a trip half way across the country. This is where we all come in. Because Erica, Benjamin and their children are dearly loved by their friends and family, Erica is often asked how they can be helped. Well, here is what we have been waiting for, for we now have a tangible way to support this wonderful family through this givesendgo.com opportunity. If you would like to help with their flights, hotel, food expenses, or any other necessities, please donate any amount to this fund. We promise you it will be received by very worthy and appreciative hearts.