Latest Blogs: (437 total)
Latest Blogs: (437 total)
October 20, 2006 from Casper, Wyoming
Melissa is a 15-year old girl from Casper, WY. She's full of musical talent, athleticism, spirit and a great smile. She's involved in her community and adored by all. This morning I talked with Karin*, who told me all about Melissa and her story. I have a great sense of who she is, how strong she, and just how amazing a community can be. It was hard to hold my tears back.
Melissa was diagnosed last summer with autoimmune hepatitis. On September 1st she had a liver transplant, and on October 9th she was put on a waiting list for a second liver transplant. At one point Melissa had gone into a severe coma and before surgery they were very concerned about her survival, with only 1% of her liver functioning. At this point Karin told me Melissa has about three months to live with her current liver. Her body has fluctuated in weight nearly a hundred pounds, and she's become very weak.
Melissa is currently living at the Ronald McDonald house across from the Denver Children's Hospital. Her mother has been by her side the entire time. However, her father is back home working to help pay for the medical bills. She also has a younger sister, Jessica, who is 12. They make the trip to Denver as frequently as they can to be with Melissa.
When I started this trip I was blown away by the community. The MSU community, Baraga community, and my old high school have blown me away by how they have come together and raised money and supported me to help send me to all 50 states. Before this trip I didn't realize how much a community could do (at least not to this degree), and how strong the sense of community was. I'm impressed even more. In six weeks this community in Casper has raised over $100,000 for Melissa. They've had concerts, soccer tournaments, and potlucks to help raise money. I applaud this community for helping this great 15-year old girl in need. It shows how important a community is, how much can be done, and how amazing it is when people come together.
I have realized what a collective effort can do. And I've been asking for donations for myself, merely for gas, for a few months now. Since this trip has started I've had a growing sense of how much I need to give back and want to give back. For all the people who have helped me, I want to help others as a way of showing my thanks. Now I'm asking for donations for Melissa who NEEDS this. If you were planning to donate to my trip, please reconsider and donate in the honor of Melissa. It would mean a lot to me and a whole lot more to Melissa and her family. Donations are tax deductible and can be made several ways.
Donations for Melissa Berg
Checks can be made payable to COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association)
2501 COTA Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
*with memo stating "In honor of Melissa Berg"
Credit card donations can be made at www.cota.org
Cash donations can be deposited at any Wells Fargo location with the account #1813332721
For questions please contact Karin at 307-247-2902
There are thousands of children in need across the country and I encourage you to visit these sites and consider general donations now and in the future:
Children's Organ Transplant Association
Ronald McDonald House Charities
The Children's Hospital
Talking to Karin this morning and hearing Melissa's story meant a lot to me. There are so many people in need for all sorts of things and I've seen how a community can reach out to help, and it's not just cash donations. It can be something as small as opening your doors to someone, or your arms. I going to make a strong point of it to visit the Denver Children's Hospital when I'm in the area. To all the people in Casper, what you're doing is amazing!
*I met with Karin this morning for about 40 minutes. My host family here initially told me about Melissa's story and then mentioned Karin who lives right down the street. Karin's family is very close with Melissa's family, and they've been friends for several years. Karin is helping coordinate fundraising events. So I made sure to get in touch.
Posted: Oct 20, 2006 1:11pm EST | 768 words | 2 Comments
Comment by Adam
From Madison, WI
Denver Children's was the first customer I visited for Epic. I spent 3 days there working.
Comment by Karin Fakelman
From Casper, WY
Thanks for the concern for Melissa. What an awesome thing you are doing in spreading the word and asking for help for her. You are right in saying she really needs it. She and her family are very special people. Thank you for the visit the other morning. It was a pleasure meeting you. Have safe and wonderful journeys for the rest of your trip. If ever back in Casper, would love to visit with you again. Take care and God Bless. Karin Fakelman