Dear Family and Friends,
My life began to take a drastic turn when I was 22 years old. Three days before my graduation from Saint Louis University I had a tragic accident on a riding lawn mower. Because of my deep faith in God, my wonderful family and friends, and a very special guy in my life and his family, I was able to walk again and live my dreams.
I didn’t realize until 30 years later that there would be a connection between my amputation and my diagnosis of Hepatitis C. I diagnosed myself after reading a front- page article in the Saint. Louis Post Dispatch. The article recommended that a specific blood test to detect Hepatitis C should be given to anyone who had a blood transfusion from 1969 to 1990. Frightened, I realized in a split second that I had all the symptoms that the article described because I had a blood transfusion in 1969 as a result of my amputation. Naomi Judd also had Hepatitis C and flew into Saint Louis to receive her treatments from Saint Louis University’s renowned liver specialist, Dr. Bruce Bacon. How blessed I felt to have him so close and to know that there was hope! After six months of interferon treatments, my hopes were dashed when after a year of undetectable virus, it returned. But I still believed in miracles, so I joined a new study under Dr. Bacon’s supervision in which I injected myself once a week with a more powerful pegylated interferon and oral ribavirin. Living through 11 months of chemotherapy is rough but faith, family, and friends and the will for a cure made it all possible.
Now, five years later, I am free of Hepatitis C Virus! I feel so excited about the new research and cures that are within our reach! I ask you to help me raise awareness and money to fund research at Saint Louis University Liver Center so others, like me, can experience the miracle of a cure. God Bless you.