Fellow missionary ,and friend, Dale Shaylor with family
Dale Shaylor journeyed to Florida in search of a life-saving liver transplant -- only to find the surgery has a price tag far out of the missionary pilot's reach.
Shaylor, a Deltona father of three who has Hepatitis B, said he was told that to get on a list to receive a new liver from a cadaver, he would have to make a deposit of nearly half a million dollars -- $425,000 to be exact.
"A transplant is not something that's covered as an emergency -- it's more of a luxury item," said Shaylor, 40, referring to what he's learned in the last month about his options.
He grew up in Venezuela, part of a family of Christian missionaries, and has health insurance for Americans living overseas. He says he's found it is inadequate for this kind of emergency.
"For the person who needs it, though, a transplant is the only way to stay alive," said Shaylor, who hasn't been able to fly for a Venezuelan church.
Since hundreds of thousands of dollars isn't the kind of money that can be raised through coin drops or even a poker run, Shaylor's family was forced to do what more and more transplant patients find themselves doing.
Five days after learning the total amount needed for the surgery deposit, he went global with an appeal for friends, family and strangers alike to send money so he can be a candidate for the surgery. Local fundraising events start Monday.
Faced with having to raise funds in this stratosphere, the number of patients going to the Tennessee-based National Foundation for Transplants has tripled since 2000 to nearly 300 new patients signing up annually. In exchange for giving that foundation 2 percent of the total proceeds raised, the foundation makes donating as easy as clicking on the picture of the needy patients -- usually shown with their children.
Shaylor's family members said there was no time to waste -- they don't know how long his health will hold out now that his liver has been irreversibly damaged by the hepatitis, which is endemic all over Latin America.
"To have them tell us that transplants aren't considered an emergency, even though he's in end-stage liver failure, it's been a heartbreaker," said his brother, Douglas Shaylor of Deltona.
Mandy Scherer Stockton, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said patients who enlist professional help for their medical fundraising often don't have catastrophic medical coverage or have maxed out their lifetime benefits. She attributed the increase the foundation has been seeing to more transplant programs requiring a significant deposit to be a transplant candidate.
"There is a huge shortage of organ donors and they want to make sure that patients can afford their medical treatment after the transplant," Stockton said. "The last thing you want is for a transplant patient to find they can't afford the medicine they need to make sure their body doesn't reject that organ."
Shands Hospital at the University of Florida has required payment up front from self-pay patients, such as Shaylor, since they started doing transplants in the 1950s. Dale Shaylor said his insurance will pay $100,000, which he's been told puts him in the self-pay category.
"We cannot offer self-pay patients a payment plan," said Shands spokeswoman Kim Rose.
Nevertheless, Kenneth Goodman, director of the University of Miami's Bioethics Program and co-director of UM ethics programs, sees an indictment of a health care system that requires sick people to write a check.
"Fundraising helps with the cute kid, but an individual has to go out and become a professional mendicant -- a beggar," he said.
Transplants weren't in the picture when the same disease killed Dale Shaylor's grandfather, also a missionary in Venezuela, at age 46 in the 1960s. Shaylor discovered he had the chronic condition when he was in his teens, as the family was being tested to receive hepatitis vaccines.
He had one bout with the disease four years after that diagnosis, but didn't really get seriously ill until last Thanksgiving Day. And, after chronic hepatitis symptoms left him in a coma from the toxins his body couldn't flush, Dale Shaylor knew he would have to go back to the United States for a transplant.
"They don't have the medical facilities to take care of that thing," he said.
Right now, as the fundraising goes on, the family has started to look into other transplant programs that don't need as much money up front. Florida Hospital Orlando has emerged as a contender. They ask the patient to have $50,000 ready.
At Halifax Health, the transplant surgeries -- kidney and pancreas -- aren't as costly as liver transplants, and it's easier to get government insurance for end-stage kidney disease, according to officials there. But nearly every patient has to do some kind of fundraising, said Mike Mulrooney, operations coordinator for the Halifax transplant program.
Like liver transplants, the anti-rejection drugs that transplant patients often must take for the rest of their lives run about $1,500 to $2,500 a month, he said.
Even in the rare case that medical insurance covers everything, there's also time out of work to be considered, he pointed out.
"Fundraising is recommended for everyone," he said.
Still, Dale Shaylor says he's overwhelmed by what he's facing.
"It was a total surprise to us when they told us, for sure," he said.
What should you do?
1 John 3:17-18 (King James Version)
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
1. DONATE! DONATE! DONATE!
Give ONLINE NOW (with Credit Card) at: https://www.transplants.org/DonationForm1.php
Be sure and click the box that says, "in honor of a patient" and then find Dale's name. (DALE SHAYLOR)
Send Checks to:
National Foundation for Transplants
In the memo, write "In honor of Dale Shaylor"
5350 Poplar Ave. Suite 430
Memphis TN 38119
DONATE INSTANTLY WITH PAYPAL (https://www.paypal.com/):
(No personal information needed): I have a Paypal account (BenHazen4cbcyouth@gmail.com) and would be willing to pass on the funds. When logged into Paypal, go to the Send Money tab at the top, type in that email address, and the amount you wish to send. I will send you a reply. I ...will then pass on the money to Dale's Fund (once a sum is accumulated).
Invite others to join~http://www.facebook.com/