Family from Texas struggles to get beyond medical bills

12/05/2011 5:00 AM

12/05/2011 9:49 PM

Share the Season is an annual campaign that offers one-time aid to people affected by unforeseen hardships. The people are not identified to protect their privacy.

This 27-year-old man is beginning a new career and trying to make ends meet.

Originally from San Angelo, Texas, he moved with his wife, 28, and son, 4, to Wichita when he was diagnosed with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy.

“When it first happened, we didn’t know what was wrong, so we spent a lot of money seeing different doctors, MRIs, emergency rooms,” his wife said. “With no insurance, that is hard.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, Leber’s is passed down through a gene from one’s mother. Affected people experience acute vision loss suddenly in young adulthood.

Before being diagnosed, he was a semi-truck driver. He lost his job because of his diagnosis and became depressed. By the end of 2010, all of the family savings had been spent on medical bills.

“When we were paying the bills, it happened sometimes that we would have to survive with $10 for 15 days,” she said.

In July, he moved to Wichita to take a full-time job with Envision, an employer for the visually impaired.

“We moved, but we bring back all our bills from Texas,” she said.

They are asking for help from Share the Season to finish paying off their medical bills.

“We’ve almost paid off all the bills and are hoping to start over in Wichita,” she said.

Send contributions to Share the Season at the Wichita Community Foundation, 301 N. Main, Suite 100, Wichita, KS 67202.

Donations also can be made through PayPal online at www.wichitacf.org. Donors will be listed in The Eagle; please note if you prefer to remain anonymous. For more information, call 316-264-4880.

To apply for help: Download an application at www.sharetheseason.org, or pick one up at the Salvation Army, 350 N. Market, Wichita. For more information, call 316-263-2769.

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