I would like to tell you about my friend Ivan . I have known Ivan for over 30 years now and he is a wonderful husband and father, and a great friend. Ivan has always been the guy who will make you laugh. He has selflessly helped many others and now it is time for us to help him. Many of the words written below are actually from Ivan’s daughters, Tayla and Shannon.
Ivan was your average family man, with a wife and 2 kids, living a normal life. But in 2008, all of that drastically changed. Ivan was seriously injured in a hit and run accident by a man doing an illegal u-turn. This accident resulted in a 91 day hospitalisation, in which he endured 7 surgeries to try to reconstruct his degloved foot. During this stay he almost died twice, once with septicemia and once again due to a severe allergic reaction to the medications. To this day, he is still in constant pain from this accident.
The ongoing effort to control Ivan’s pain resulted in an addiction to the prescribed painkillers. Realising his need to get himself off of these painkillers, Ivan checked himself into a psychiatric clinic, followed by rehab, in order to deal with his addiction. I am proud to say that Ivan has been clean since 6th November, 2013! But during this stay in rehab he was checked by their doctor, who heard something unusual in Ivan’s lungs, and recommended further testing.
After many tests, the doctors discovered that he has Sarcoidosis, which is an inflammatory disease that is thought to be autoimmune in nature. The exact cause is not known, and there is no known cure.
The symptoms of Sarcoidosis can vary greatly from patient to patient, but in Ivan’s case the doctors have given him a limited amount of time to live. He suffers from constant pain from his disease. It is now in his lungs and his heart, bladder, kidneys and he has lesions on his brain and spinal cord. One lung has limited capacity, and he has trouble breathing at times. He has lost drastic amounts of weight, as the disease has caused muscle atrophy and decreased bone mass. As his disease has progressed, his motor functions are weakening, and he needs a cane to walk. The doctors expect that within the next few months, Ivan will become a paraplegic, and then a quadriplegic. His doctors have told him there is nothing more that can be done.
The only known way to slow the progression of the disease is massive amounts of cortisone. Ivan has had countless trips to the hospital, during which he received large doses of cortisone each time. Unfortunately, large amounts of cortisone can be toxic, but there were no other options to slow his disease, and Ivan ended up with fluid on his brain. This resulted in him having to attend brain training classes to retrain his brain to do normal tasks again. His specialist at that time put him on a new medication, but the possible side effects were not explained, and it ends up that one of these is Skin Cancer, which Ivan is now also suffering from. Throughout this, Ivan has sought to give of himself to the community, speaking to the youth on the perils of addiction. He was a member of the board for a national 12 step program having to recently resign due to his illness. In his 5 years of being clean and sober, he has sponsored around 30 people and used to chair weekly meetings for a rehab facility.
As if all of this was not hard enough, Shannon, Ivan’s youngest daughter, experienced a sports accident about a year ago, which resulted in scarring on her brain and epilepsy. She was unable to complete her final year of schooling at that time, but is currently completing her studies at home this year.
Through all of this, Ivan’s wife, Caroline, has been her family’s rock, but of course has not been without her own issues. Given all that has happened and continues to happen, as well as struggling for her family’s survival, she needed to be admitted briefly to a psychiatric hospital to deal with the depression resulting from the devastating events in their lives.
With all of the expenses that keep piling up, Ivan and his family are drowning and desperately need our help. Caroline continues to work, but with Ivan being unable to work due to his disease, they are in dire financial need, for both medical and living expenses. They are currently contending with mould in one area of their house, the remainder of the house suffers from a leaking roof during rain as well as leaking water pipes and multiple electrical issues. This is no way to be forced to live. It is hard enough not being able to afford all of their medications, and have their lives fall apart, but now their home is falling apart around them as well. I cannot begin to imagine the desperation and hopelessness that they must be feeling during every moment of every day.
With Ivan having been given a limited amount of time left to live, my hope is that we can raise enough funds to allow him to be able to spend his final time with some comfort and dignity. If we could help with Ivan’s necessary medications, living conditions, as well as pending mounting medical costs and hospitalisations due to the progression of his disease, we can offer Ivan and his family some hope and change their lives for the better, as much as possible. We can’t save Ivan, but we can make his final time easier, for both him and his family.
Thank you for your support!
“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”
– Sally Koch