Blake Bowden via Crowdrise
April 03, 2011
BENEFITING: National Kidney Foundation, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Mar 20, 2011
Although it would be noble to donate to the national kidney foundation directly through this site (and I don't want to discourage you from doing so as well), I am collecting the money for Big Russ outside of an actual charity to ensure that every dollar goes to him and his family-- please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to help get this thing rockin with your pledges. I will enter the amount and donators on this site "offline" unless you request to remain anonymous. You can either give me cash or make out a check payable to Lynnette Bridwell. I hope you find Russ's story as touching as I did-- here is some background on Russ.
"Big Russ" has been diagnosed with FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis). FSGS is a rare disease that attacks the kidney's filtering system causing serious scarring. FSGS is also one of the causes of a serious condition known as Nephrotic Syndrome. There are millions of tiny, microscopic filters in the kidneys called "glomeruli". They filter the blood, taking out the water-like part that becomes urine and leaving the protein in the blood. If glomeruli become scarred, then they stop doing a good job filtering the blood and protein starts leaking into the urine instead of staying in the blood. 50% of the children that are diagnosed with FSGS don't respond to prednisone. Of those, 50% of them will, in their childhood, require dialysis, and transplant. Then, of those who have kidney transplants, 20-30% of them get FSGS again within hours to weeks after their transplant. There is no known cause for FSGS yet. Research is being done to find out what causes FSGS and to find a cure.
Big Russ' Pediatric Nephrologist has prescribed many strong medications, which he takes every day. (2 different high blood pressure medications, Prednisone (a very strong, but effective steroid), and vitamin D and calcium supplements (because Prednisone takes away the calcium and vitamin D that your body gets normally, causing osteoporosis). He has to have his urine tested daily for any signs of protein or blood. He also has to have his blood pressure monitored closely, so that we can be in touch with the doctor in case it gets too high.
As though that weren't enough, FSGS also lowers your immune system dramatically. So, his doctor has restricted him from going to school, for several months. He will miss more than 2/3 of his 6th grade year of school, this year. He has been in a terrific at-home school program called Hospital Home. He really likes his new teacher; However, he really, really misses his friends and the interaction that going to school provides. (This really sucks for him, being that he is a very active and social 11-year old boy). He does have friends that come over to visit, but he doesn't get to go out much, being he can't take any chances with catching anything.
When Big Russ was in 2nd grade, the school had an assembly for Locks of Love. He was so moved by what they do that he decided, on his own, to grow out his hair and donate it to Locks of Love. He grew his hair for longer than 8 months, tolerating his classmates teasing (telling him that he looked like a girl and whatnot) then donated 8" of his beautiful, thick hair! He is just so considerate of other people's feelings and trials that it brings him to tears when he thinks about how much his hair meant to some other child who has cancer. He's got a heart of gold.
The past two years have been extremely trying one for the Bridwell family: Russ' grandmother recently suffered a stroke, never regained consciousness and passed a few days later. His grandfather passed away earlier in the year, and the cherished family Rottweiler was lost to malignant lymphoma. The medical costs associated with the treatments for Russ' condition have presented a substantial hardship on the Bridwell family-- so much that they are in jeopardy now of losing their home.
Please help me give them hope and the ability to stay in their home during this difficult time.
Thanks a bunch,