Meet Bethany, a very special teenager who has endured literally a LIFETIME of surgeries, incurable conditions and bad news. Bethany was born with Turner Syndrome, which--over a decade ago--began weaving a tapestry of events, circumstances and connections that ultimately led you HERE, to this page, to this story, to Bethany's Hope.
This sweet girl and her parents, Matt and Debi (McPherson) Baker, have been through too many tough decisions, too many medical tests, too many surgeries, and too many scary, sleepless nights. Bethany has suffered a laundry list of unrelated, life-threatening conditions and over 12 surgeries since her first (open heart) at just 1 year old. She's also had...
- numerous reconstructive oral maxillofacial surgeries
- three major reconstructive inner ear surgeries
- two non-typical rhinoplasty (nose/sinus) surgeries
- two extremely dangerous parathyroid tumor removals (Tumors on parathyroid glands are extremely rare in people under the age of 70. Bethany has had two already.
- kidney surgery
- digestive system abnormalities
Her endocrine system (the one that releases hormones that influence almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies) has begun to falter. She was recently losing a pound each day and literally starving to death before her parents' eyes. Because of this endocrine system failure, her teenaged body--on the inside--is 70+ years old. She's on medications to "trick" her body into thinking it's 50 instead, which is the best the doctors can hope for.
The meds seem to be working, and she's gaining some weight, but the treatments are wreaking havoc on her already weakened bones. In fact, her osteoporosis has recently been upgraded to "SEVERE." The doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital reported in February that her bones are, quite literally, LIKE CHALK. Bethany is also under the aggressive care of a dentist, who--through tears and much heartache--is trying to treat teeth that will soon deteriorate and/or become so loosened that they must be removed. Because of her accelerated condition and the high likelihood that she won't be able to walk across the stage for her high school graduation, she gets to graduate ahead of schedule.
When Bethany's doctors heard that her graduation had been moved up, they confirmed to her parents that it was a wise decision. They advised Debi and Matt to concentrate on spending the next year doing "fun" things with Bethany, while they still can.
Bethany takes a minimum of 12 different meds, at least six times each day, including more blood pressure medicine than the maximum dosage for a full-sized man. Her meds are necessary for her to continue living, although the damage they're doing to the rest of her body is severe and irreversible. Bethany must also drink at least three Pediasures per day to avoid losing more precious weight.
Among all this sadness, there is hope and gladness, and there is God. Bethany--despite years and years of pain, illness, surgeries and grim news--has more faith in a single breath than most have in a lifetime. She is a true child and servant of God and is an incredible inspiration to her family, her friends, her doctors, nurses and beyond.
Bethany's favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." She clings to this verse with her whole heart and hopes that her story will encourage someone else who's hurting or suffering in some way. Bethany wants the world to know that--no matter how bad things may seem--God is GOOD and GENEROUS and TRUTHFUL and WISE. Trusting in Him really does make you strong and able to withstand the fire. He will use you to impact the lives of others if you will just believe!
The Bethany's Hope campaign is to raise funds for some of the "fun" stuff that her doctors ordered for her, and to help her parents with the astronomical medical expenses that have been incurred over 15+ years. Please consider joining our campaign to make a dream come true for Bethany before she loses her ability to walk, and eventually, her life here on Earth.
Bethany feels a strong connection with "Winter," the dolphin with the prosthetic tail about whom the recent movie "Dolphin Tale" was made. It's an inspiring story of survival and overcoming adversity, and it's given countless children and adults all over the world what money cannot buy... HOPE. Winter the dolphin lives in an aquarium in Clearwater, FL, and it's Bethany's dream to go meet her, along with another rescued dolphin who lives there, whose name happens to be "Hope!" For more information, visit http://seewinter.com
***OUR PRIMARY GOAL was to raise enough money to send Bethany and her parents to Clearwater, Florida for a week to meet Winter and Hope, and to enjoy a real vacation together... While they still can. TRIP PLANS ARE ALREADY UNDERWAY!!!***
***OUR SECONDARY GOAL is to MOVE MOUNTAINS for this family. Just as many hands make light work, many small donations can turn into huge blessings for good people.
HOW WILL YOUR DONATION BE USED?
Up to $2500* will be used to fund Bethany's dream trip to visit Winter. All leftover funds from the trip, and any donations over and above our goal will help Bethany's parents pay for her daily medical and nutritional requirements and to tackle the mountain of medical bills that continue to be incurred DAILY.
Every Gift Counts!
No amount is too small... Even $5 will buy a gallon of fuel for another trip to the hospital (300-mile round trip), a specialist or the dentist (70-mile round trip). These trips occur in varying combinations multiple times each month.
Debi is a teacher, and Matt is a regional truck driver. To cut expenses, they sold many of their belongings long ago and currently live in a small loft.
Besides the overwhelming medical bills, there are the daily living expenses. It's a difficult situation for many to imagine, both emotionally and financially. Despite their obstacles, however, they remain steadfast, hopeful and dedicated to their sweet Bethany.
*Bethany and her parents will donate 10% of the monies raised to Rose of Sharon, a fantastic non-profit Christian summer camp that is near and dear to Bethany's heart. Last year, she was voted unanimously--by campers and staff alike, something that had never happened before--Camp Queen.
***PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!***
Whether your donation is small or you can't donate at all, you CAN share this plight with your friends. HOW?
- by using the SHARE THIS CAMPAIGN options directly under the video on this page - THESE ARE IMPORTANT for our relevance to Indiegogo and will push Bethany's Hope up on the viewing list for site visitors to see.
- via Facebook (click LIKE on one of the posts that shows the bright pink link to this page and then, right next to the "Like" button, click SHARE and go from there.)
- by email
- by phone
Please just pass it along the best way you can!
Clicking the Facebook LIKE link from this page will increase the chances that the Bethany's Hope campaign gets featured on indiegogo's frontpage, which will boost viewing by literally thousands of people. It's like being on the front page of a magazine! Exposure is so important, and YOU are a big part of that!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for choosing to be a part of this in some way.
Within the last week, Bethany’s body has decided to reject one of the required medications to slow her already advanced and severe osteoporosis. The effects of this rejection have made the last week a nightmare for the family. The “good” news is that the doctors and specialists believe they’ve found another medicine to combat the adverse effects of the first one… which means yet ANOTHER necessary-for-life medication for Miss Bethany…. and more expenses for her parents.
Staying home with a sick child versus going to work to collect a paycheck to pay for the child’s medical expenses is a decision that no parent should have to make, but in this case, it’s a reality.
Despite ups and downs with her health, Bethany has so much to be excited about! First of all, she graduates from high school this week. Second, she found out that her trip to meet Winter is actually on the calendar! She, Matt & Debi will be in Clearwater, Florida for a week over the Fourth of July. Please read the posts on the "Updates" tab at the top of this page for details.
Yes, the trip is happening, and we couldn't be more grateful or amazed at the support. Our NEW GOAL is $10,000, so that we can help the Bakers can offset just a handful of medical expenses. Please SHARE this campaign. Help Bethany get her message of hope to as many people as possible and increase the possibility of reaching that small goal that will help this family so much. A bunch of small donations really do add up to something big. THANKS for being a part of this!
Overflowing is OK!
When someone who's faced severe health problems for her entire young life inspires and encourages so many others - and they press on, doing so in the face of grim news, hospital stays and chronic illness - they certainly deserve to have a portion of this good will reflected back to them.
IndieGoGo has seen many wildly successful campaigns to help fund causes and medical expenses just like Bethany's, and most of those campaigns FAR exceed their initial goals.
Thank you for your donation, and for spreading the word about this effort to give back to one of the most resiliant, genuine, faithful young ladies you'll encounter.