Friends and Family for Frank

$4,260raised of $20,000 goal
21%

Organizer: Friends and Family for Frank Beneficiary: Frank Kirby

This fundraiser is closed

(NOTE: As of Wednesday, April 17, Frank Kirby has received a liver and is in the midst of a miraculous recovery! We're keeping the fundraiser up and running because of the considerable cost of the care as well as loss of income. All donations, as always, will go to help the Kirby family with their bills!)

Frank Kirby is a kind, loving, and generous family man with an amazing wife, Diane, and three fantastic kids, Justine (25), Jordan (22) and Jeremy (16). He loves Jesus and serves as an offering helper at Lebanon Area Evangelical Free Church in Jonestown, Pennsylvania. Frank loves family, football, and most of all, Jesus Christ.

Frank has an inherited liver condition which has recently been taking a huge toll on him and his family. As he gets sicker and weaker, the medical bills continue to pile up. Consequently, the Kirby family has had to make some adjustments: since Frank can only work one day a week (to keep his health insurance), Diane works full-time at a nursing home even as she attends nursing school, and Justine (whose husband was recently deployed to serve America in Afghanistan) moved back in with her parents to take care of the day-to-day cooking, cleaning, and other tasks around the house.

Needless to say, the situation has become unaffordable at best, debilitating at worst. Frank has been constantly meeting with medical specialists to determine the appropriate course of action, which is likely going to be a liver transplant in the near future.

But Frank has two things on his side: A loving God who has hope and a future planned for him (Jeremiah 29:11), and some friends and family who want to help out!

In the Bible, Jesus tells us exactly how to respond as Christians in situations like this:

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" (Matthew 25:34-40)

Throughout the Bible, we are shown what true Christianity looks like: it's not singing the loudest at church; it's not wearing a cross necklace; it's not putting a fish on the back of your car. True Christianity imitates Jesus Christ, who "came not to be served but to serve" (Mark 10:45). Please help us show Christ's love to a family in need, to a man of God who would quickly do the same for you if the tables were turned.

Friends and Family for Frank: We're going to get Frank Kirby back to health, in the name of Jesus Christ!

Updates

Updates

05/01/2013
by Friends and Family for Frank

We've got a GREAT update to share! But I'm going to save it for just a moment while I tell you about some other important things the Friends and Family for Frank benefit is doing right now in support of Frank.

We've raised a lot of money so far, but we still have a long ways to go and a lot of bills to pay off for Frank and his family. So we've got a couple more fundraisers lined up ... emphasis on FUN!

FIRST, we're having a big PANCAKE BREAKFAST AND YARD SALE May 18, at the Lebanon Valley Youth for Christ building on Grace Avenue in Lebanon. Here are the details:

BENEFIT PANCAKE BREAKFAST AND YARD SALE (link: http://on.fb.me/18dfOUd)

WHEN: Saturday, May 18, 8 a.m. to 12 noon
WHERE: Lebanon Valley Youth for Christ, 1691 Grace Ave., Lebanon
WHAT: Combination breakfast (pancakes, bacon, fruit, orange juice, and coffee or tea) and yard sale (featuring gently used goods, probably lots of clothing, and maybe some classic vinyl records!).
HOW MUCH: Breakfast is $7 for adults and kids 13 or older, $5 for kids 6 through 12, free for children 5 and under. You can rent your own yard sale table for $10 to sell your stuff. If you're coming to browse the goods, the yard sale items are priced to sell, baby!
ADDITIONAL INFO: All profits from breakfast and yard sale table rentals go to Frank and his family. Sellers keep all profits from any goods they sell. Let us know if you want to donate food or rent a table!

SECOND, about a mile and a half away (as the crow flies) or 3.2 miles away if you want to drive on roads instead of through private farmland, a BENEFIT SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT is also happening.:

BENEFIT SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT AND BAKE SALE (link: http://on.fb.me/1044qU7)

WHEN: Saturday, May 18, 8 a.m. until ... whenever it ends!
WHERE: Heisey's Diner Field, 1740 Rt. 72, Lebanon
WHAT: Enjoy watching a blast of a baseball tournament: Between 10 and 12 teams will battle for a cash prize! It should be a beautiful day. You don’t want to miss it!
HOW MUCH: Free to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the game! Baked goods will vary in price. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be available. If you want to play … please see below. 
ADDITIONAL INFO: A few more teams are desired! The cost is $100 per team plus $10 for the ump each game (an additional $20). If you’d like to play, tell us, and we’ll put you in touch with the right folks. If you have a table we can borrow to sell baked goods from at the game, let us know!

Also, in case you're waiting or wondering: The "Keep Calm and Fight for Frank" T-shirts you've come to know and love should arrive by the end of the week. We're working on a good pickup time and location and will let you know we figure it out.

Anyway, here's the BIG, GOOD NEWS: After weeks in the hospital, some very frightening days of uncertainty, and an awful lot of prayer and support...

Frank is coming home on Friday, May 3!

Not sure when he'll be taking visitors or showing up at church, but believe me, he's ready to be home. I know people throw the term around a lot, but Frank's journey (our collective journey!) has been "epic" in every sense of the word. What an incredible reminder of God's blessings, and to me, a constant encouragement to be a blessing to others. We've still got more love to show Frank, the local community, and (hopefully through our family and friends) the rest of the world too!

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more! (link: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsAndFamilyForFrank)


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04/23/2013
by Friends and Family for Frank
Friends and Family for Frank,

I realize I've been itinerant in posting an update recently, especially on here. (Most of the time, I've been posting these things on Facebook - click here to visit the Friends and Family for Frank page there!) I just wanted to wait until we had a bit more information to share. The good news is that most of what you read below will be overwhelmingly positive! So please don't forget to "Like" this post and "Share" it with your friends on Facebook. We want everyone to know exactly what a miracle looks and feels like.

First and foremost, Frank is doing excellent. Better than anyone could have expected this soon after the surgery. The doctors, I understand, are absolutely in shock over the recovery, and the transplant team is extremely pleased with his progress. (Some of you might know this: When I’m not out fighting crime in a cape and mask, I work as a public relations director for a physician nonprofit. I've found it takes an awful lot to surprise medical professionals, and anyone reading this who is in health care knows exactly what I mean.) Yesterday, Frank worked with speech, physician and occupational therapists. He apparently has lots of reading materials to go over now that he’s getting healthy. But better to have a functioning liver and a lot of paperwork than the opposite, right?

I got to Frank’s not had much of an appetite, but I wouldn't either if all I was offered was hospital cafeteria food. (I’m kidding. I ate there last week. It’s fine.) That he’s able to eat at all is astounding. Amazing to think of where we all were on this journey just two weeks ago! Anyway, Frank won’t be eating the hospital food much longer, because he’s headed to a rehabilitation facility at some point within the next day. He’s staying close enough to the hospital, though, that Diane won’t have any trouble getting him to and from his various appointments. 

A bit of bad news: Frank has developed diabetes from his liver disease. Sometimes that dissipates, and we’re hoping replacing his liver will help his body recover from all that’s been ailing him, including that particular problem. Right now, Frank has a PICC line (that’s an acronym for “peripherally inserted central catheter) in his arm so he can continue receiving his medications intravenously for the next three months. Diane will be continuing to learn how to care for Frank over the coming several days, but she plans to go back to work at the nursing home next week. She won’t return to her job, however, until she and Frank are both confident that Frank is able to care for himself.

Speaking of Diane, she has been an absolute trooper throughout this ordeal! When I talked to Frank on Friday over the phone, he said “She’s my angel!” and she certainly has been that and more. Send her some encouraging words if you get the chance, because she’s been through the wringer almost as much as Frank has!

Keep Frank, Diane and the Kirby family in your prayers. We’re not at the top of the mountain yet! Finances will continue to be a struggle, not just from the medical bills, but from the loss of income. They’ll also likely need help in other ways when Frank comes home, so please keep that in mind and ask if God might be able to use you to cook meals or otherwise pitch in. We are so blessed and thankful for everything that’s already been done: What a massive undertaking it’s been so far, and everyone from Frank’s closest family members to people he hasn't even met have been absolute saints responding to some dire needs.

I’d be remiss not to mention the fundraisers we’re working on right now: The first is a sub sale through Morrissey's Meats in Lebanon ($6 for a large, tasty sub) fresh and made to order; another is a Rockwood Soy Co. candle sale, 16-ounce jar candles for $24 plus $1.44 tax; and we're also selling Friends and Family for Frank T-shirts, and bracelets. You can also still consider giving right here on YouCaring. All are great ways to help Frank, and if you decide to buy a sub or candle, you're supporting local businesses as well! So what do you say? Just shoot us a message on Facebook if you're interested.

All right … I believe that’s it for the moment. We’ll chat again soon. God bless you this week!

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04/12/2013
by Friends and Family for Frank
This is going to be a heck of an update, so I apologize in advance for the length.

I took off work to drive to Philadelphia to see Frank today. The Schuylkill Expressway and its "merge or die" exits are no fun to drive under any circumstances, much less alone during rush hour in a rainstorm. I made it and one piece with no damage to my car or body. Wish I could say the same about my psyche, alas.

Anyhow, this isn't Bryan's Blog here, so let's talk about Frank. First of all, as soon as I saw him, I was pleased to see that there is color in his face and life in his eyes. In fact, when I told him "You're the most popular guy in the hospital!" he rolled his eyes at me. Frank had more than a dozen visitors today, probably close to 20. How fantastic is that?

The last couple of days have been scary, but the nurse told Frank this morning, "You're doing a good job! Keep fighting!" and he whispered back, "I am fighting." And the fighting, in addition to the great work of the physicians and hospital staff, are paying off, incrementally but significantly.

Here's what Frank's team of doctors said today (if you can imagine the team from the TV show "House," that pretty much sets the scene for you): in short, everything that's going wrong with the poor guy is either stable or improved. The infection that's been devastating Frank's body and essentially caused his hospitalization has been narrowed down, and instead of six or eight or a million antibiotics, he's now on just two. Fantastic! The doctors cautioned that sometimes the problem looks like "X" and it ends up being "Y," but if all goes well, they'll nail down the infection tomorrow and treat accordingly.

Frank's still on dialysis for his kidney. The hope is that he'll be done with that particular unpleasantry within the next couple days or so, but "septic shock" is still the name of the game for now. The doctors also briefly discussed taking Frank off the ventilator, but right now, they want to leave well enough alone and reassess tomorrow. I might be missing a couple things, but those are the big changes overall.

Additionally, the team ruled out one specific infection that forced all of his visitors to have to wear gowns and gloves and wash their hands after visiting Frank. So everyone is welcome to visit Frank without suiting up. His blood is still thin, so he's getting a coagulant once a day, and he'll be receiving more albumin tomorrow.

Right now, the Kirbys have a vital need for financial support. It's always uncomfortable to talk about money, but it might help you to know where the cash from the funds is going. Everything that's donated is either being put aside for when the hospital bill comes, or helping the family to survive on the bare necessities (a roof, a shower and food) while Frank lies in his hospital bed with tubes in his nose and throat. It's not pretty, but that's the reality of the situation. No one is getting enough sleep, no one is gorging themselves at a fancy downtown restaurant, and certainly nobody is getting rich off of the generosity of others. Every dime is accounted for to take care of the most basic needs of a sick man and his family.

They Kirbys are staying in a hotel connected to the hospital which is not particularly cheap given its modesty (the room is small and quite no-frills, and simple things like cots for the kids and a microwave actually cost extra a la carte). Nevertheless, Diane doesn't want to leave Frank alone. And why should she have to? Of course, that means neither Diane and Frank are working right now, so they're racking up bills without taking in any income. And that's before the tremendous cost that the care itself will incur. If you are unable to give (and in this economy, that is perfectly understandable), please remember to pray for the family's finances as you pray for Frank's health. And if you are able, give to the Friends and Family for Frank fundraiser on YouCaring (click here:http://bit.ly/12TplQf), or come out to the benefit concert on Sunday evening and enjoy some music and food. The sounds are free (and they will be fantastic sounds!), but we're taking a donation.

Thank you so much, once again, for your support and love. All the kind words just melt our hearts. It makes me think of all the people who become sick without access to care, without families praying for them and supporting them, without such things as a roof, clothes and food. Even in these dire, desperate times, we are so blessed. That profundity isn't lost on the Kirby family.

One final note: The T-shirts we ordered for the fundraiser that Frank's friends and family will be wearing at the benefit concert are a variation of the (perhaps overplayed) "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster that the British Ministry of Information developed at the start of the Second World War. What a great motto for all of us to hold dear right now, you know? When my mom and I went to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital gift shop to get a simple notepad for guests to leave encouraging notes in, we couldn't find anything appropriately sized ... until we spotted a nice, thick, hardbound and simply lined journal sitting on one of the giftshop shelves. It was fortuitous, in that tiny cramped store, that we even found something that worked for our purposes. But the more remarkable part was the inscription on its bright red cover:

"Keep Calm and Carry On."
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04/10/2013
by Friends and Family for Frank

All: We have a rather unfortunate update on Frank and his condition this afternoon, and we hope that you continue to keep him and the Kirby family in your prayers.

Frank was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania yesterday due to several complications. He was experiencing severe back and shoulder pain, a very high white blood cell count, and his kidney (he was born with just one) was not working properly. I (Bryan) had the opportunity to speak with him over the phone, and he was pleasant and lucid, but today his condition is quickly deteriorating.

Frank was unable to sleep last night, and this morning, he once again needed to have fluid removed from his abdomen. Moreover, his health is so poor that he's unable to take a liver from a live donor; he needs a complete organ, not just a portion of one. Needless to say, this dramatically complicates matters moving forward. In addition, Frank’s kidney functions are continuing their steep decline.

According to Frank’s sister Sherry, eight members of the liver transplant team saw Frank today and asked if he was willing to accept any liver that arrives while he’s in the hospital. So we’re asking everyone to pray for that specifically. Also keep the Kirby family in your prayers, and ask that God blesses all involved with a deep peace that Frank is in very capable hands.

Please pass this message along to all of your friends and family. They may not know Frank personally, or even at all. But the Bible says in the book of James, “Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” And we believe that to be true, even in these discouraging, trying times.


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04/06/2013
by Friends and Family for Frank

Hello, Friends and Family for Frank! Bryan Peach here, Frank's nephew, polymath and aspiring amateur magician. This last week has been such a whirlwind of activity that we haven't even been able to post an update here, so let's see if we can sum it up.

First things first: Speaking of "sum," look at that total that we've been able to raise so far! It's incredible, isn't it? We still have a long ways to go, but we're doing great work through this YouCaring page. Nevertheless, that doesn't even scratch the surface of what's been happening. We set up a Facebook group for Friends and Family for Frank (just click the name of the page to visit it!) that has been garnering significant attention and support for Frank and the Kirby family. If you haven't seen it yet (and I suspect most of you reading this have), please go to that page, "Like" it, comment on it, "Share" it on your on Facebook wall. We cannot stress enough the importance of these small actions.

In addition, please consider coming to a BIG benefit concert we've set up! The Friends and Family for Frank Benefit Concert will be taking place at the Lebanon Area Evangelical Free Church in Jonestown, Pa. on April 14 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Click here for directions.) There will be great music by The Bryan Stevenson Band and Josh Zimmerman, fantastic baked goods, and plenty of smiles and great conversation. It sounds like a fantastic time, right? You need this fun night out!

Now, for an update on Frank: His disease, called alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, has caused liver cirrhosis, and his condition is deteriorating quickly. Frank has been receiving paracentesis to remove fluid from his stomach, and this past week also included visits to a lung specialist, a battery of tests at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, two breathing tests, and finally a trip to the emergency room on Friday, April 5 because of dramatically low lab levels. At the hospital, he was given four bottles of albumin, and his blood kept clotting because of high potassium levels. What made it worse was that it was Frank's wife Diane's birthday! Those poor souls spent her special day not on a date or out to dinner, but in a hospital. The image breaks my heart. Frank was finally discharged from the hospital eight hours after he arrived at 10 p.m.

Obviously, there is a tremendous need here financially, but your prayers and kind words of support are even more precious during this immensely difficult time. It's the hope and wish of Friends and Family for Frank that these gestures of kindness, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time, continue to multiply!

We'll be updating more as time and circumstance allows. God bless you, have a fantastic weekend, and we hope to see and hear from you all soon!


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04/01/2013
by Friends and Family for Frank

Hey guys! Bryan Peach here, nephew to Frank and Diane Kirby, cousin to Justine, Jordan and Jeremy, and gourmet pizza enthusiast. Just wanted to give you an update on Frank's condition.

But first of all, thank you so much for all the love and support you've shown Frank so far! the Kirby family feels so blessed. Even if you're unable to donate financially, your prayers and words of support are even more important.

Frank enjoyed the Easter sunday service (a musical drama) at the Lebanon Area Evangelical Free Church in Jonestown yesterday morning. Afterward, we all got to eat a nice big Easter dinner as a family at my mom's house (for those who might not know, she's Diane's sister). Diane, Frank, Jordan and Jeremy were all there, as were my parents (George and Dana Peach); my grandfather (Diane's and Dana's father, Dan Grumbine, or "Papa" as he's better known these days!) and his wife, Linda; my wife Amiekay and her mother Jill and sister Samantha (my great in-laws!); my twin brother Brandon and his wife Kathleen; and my little brother Britton. Notably absent, of course, was Justine's husband Ryan, who deserves your prayers as he flies aircraft in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, because of his condition, Frank is unable to eat much, but he nevertheless had ham and other traditional trappings of a proper Easter dinner. He was in good spirits, and if you've ever spent time around our extended clan, you're well aware that you won't leave without a full stomach, a smile on your face, and precious new memories.

Frank's schedule this week includes visits to specialists and the like, and he expects to be placed on the list for a transplant. I'm no expert, but from what I've gleaned, he'll move up and down the list according to both his need and the urgency of the needs of others, so this part of the struggle has only just begun. As I believe I've alluded to on the "Fundraiser Details" section of this page, Frank works one day a week as a welder tech at Bluescope Steel, and that's becoming increasingly difficult. Frank showed me his legs yesterday, which are swollen and cause him immense pain, so just being at work is no simple task. The pain also makes it difficult for him to sleep.

We'll continue to update you here as we see fit, on no particular fixed schedule. Thanks, once again, so much for your love, care and kindness! Perhaps the most important thing you can do right now, short of praying, is sharing this page on your Facebook or Twitter and encouraging other people to do the same. If every one of Frank's family and friends tells their family and friends about Frank's needs, his support will grow exponentially. Don't hesitate to do so! In addition, if you've got any special gifts and talents that you think Frank and the Kirby family may be able to benefit from, let us know in the comments section and we'll find a way for you to help.

All the best! We've got a long way to go ... but what an amazing, encouraging start!


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