^^^^^^PLEASE LIKE US OR TWEET! It will help us to reach the indieGoGo frontpage!
UPDATE 1/27: WOW, folks. I mean WOW. We never anticipated such an amazing response from friends, and friends of friends. Please keep spreading the word. We set our goal at $2500 because we wanted to be sure we could hit it (IndieGoGo takes a significantly larger cut if you don’t reach your goal), but we can use every dollar above and beyond, so we are upping our goal to $4000. You have covered our living and medication expenses for the time we will be away, but anything above and beyond that will be used to pay Tim’s deductible, co-pays, and the bills on which we have fallen behind paying. We actually need $6500 to cover all the outstanding medical bills, so please keep the word of mouth going, and thank you so much for all you have done for us!
We're the Flinn Family-- Tim, Bobbi and our ten year old Clara. Tim is a retired school teacher, I work with kids with learning problems, and Clara is a hard-working Fourth grader. Tim and I are also folk art potters.
Our life has been pretty great. We spend a lot of time together, we all love our little old house, which we are renovating ourselves, and we love to cook, garden and make stuff together. We work hard to make ends meet, much like the rest of the world, and we have always tried to take care of ourselves and our friends to the best of our abilities.
Things were going great for us until February of 2010, when Tim got a sinus infection. After two rounds of antibiotics, Tim still had a sinus infection--and a fever, night sweats, and a horrible headache. On March 23rd we went back to the doctor to request bloodwork. They drew his blood at 10am, called us back to the doctor by noon, told us he had cancer, and by 3pm he was having a bone marrow biopsy. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and spent the next five weeks in the hospital for aggressive chemotherapy, which completely destroyed his immune system. After two more rounds (five weeks each, inpatient) he was found to be in remission.
For two years, Tim did exceptionally well and we thought we were out of the woods. As he approached his two year remission anniversary, we were planning a party for all our friends to thank them for their years of love and support. Several days before March 23rd, Tim got a fever and had a night sweat. We went to the oncologist and found that his white blood cell count was exploding again. A biopsy on March 22nd confirmed that the leukemia had returned.
Rather than try inpatient treatment, Tim's oncolgist opted for a treatment called dacogen, which let him have outpatient treatment for the leukemia. For seven months, Tim was neutropenic, meaning that he has little to no immune system. This has limited his ability to leave the house, to make pottery and to do many of the other things he loves to do. However, in September, there was no evidence of leukemia in his bone marrow, and his doctor thought he was in remission. He was referred to Northside Hospital for a stem cell transplant. He went through all the prerequisite testing, and was almost cleared, but he had to have a final test--a lumbar puncture. That test came back positive for leukemia in his spinal column, and by the time they found it there, it had migrated back into his bone marrow.
The doctors at Northside admitted Tim for yet another round of high dose chemotherapy. They gave us a 50-50 chance of putting him into remission again. We were lucky, and after a three-week stay at the hospital, Tim is once again in remission.
Now, we are at yet another crossroad. We know that if we do nothing else, we know that the leukemia will return again, probably within a year. At that point, it will be resistent to to the chemotherapies they have used before, and his treatment options will be very limited. However, it is our hope that an allogenic stem-cell transplant will cure his leukemia. It is a procedure not without risk--he runs a 20% chance of dying within the first year due to complications from the procedure, and it is possible that he will have lifelong complications due to his donor's cells attacking his body (Graft-Vs-Host-Disease). But the three of us know the alternative, and it's a risk we're willing to take to try to keep him with us as long as possible.
The transplant will require us to relocate to a facility near Northside Hospital, 70 miles away from home, for approximately four months. During that time, I will not be able to work, and have not been taking new students since the summer because we were told to be ready to go to transplant on September 15. Tim's full recovery can take up to two years, during which time he will not be allowed to work with clay due to it being a potential source of mold and other pathogens. We have already lost a great deal of income due to our missing multiple art shows, as well as my business being severly impacted by Tim's illnesses for the past three years. We are fortunate to have health insurance, but we are already behind on our bills and property taxes and we are going to have to help offset some of Clara's living expenses while she stays here in town with friends so as not to miss school. I have done the math repeatedly, and as of right now, we not going to have money for groceries, gas, or any incidental expenses once we leave for transplant, let alone the cost of Tim's medications. We are also thousands of dollars in debt due to some medical costs that were not covered by insurance, including dental work necessary to prevent infection, and travel costs associated with the treatment he has already received. So we are asking for your help.
No donation is too small--three dollars puts a gallon of gas in the car so I can visit Clara on the weekends. Six dollars pays for a day of parking at Northside Hospital. Ten dollars buys us both lunch. Everything helps. We also have some excellent perks that have been donated by our amazing friends. We thank you for your consideration and your generosity.
Also, if you're so inclined, you can buy some pottery from us at http://www.etsy.com/shop/flinnfamilypottery?ref=pr_shop_more.
Every day, Tim reminds us that he isn't going to die because has a high school graduation to attend in eight years. Thank you for helping to make that happen.
Bobbi Jo Imbrogno
Caregiver and Wife