In 2011, Anthony began to show symptoms of what doctors now think may be CIPD (https://www.gbs-cidp.org/cidp/), although we didn’t know that, then. Tremors, anxiety, weight loss and trips to a neurologist did not result in answers or a diagnosis. He lost the job that he loved as the Public Programs Manager- Teacher/Naturalist at the Academy of Natural Science (a true vocational job, if not lucrative) and the disease continued to progress, causing visible tremors, further weight loss, decreasing mobility, the clarity of his voice and other symptoms. Anthony’s embarrassment about his condition and the toll it took on his ability to work and earn a living cost him his confidence, motivation, and the company of friends who otherwise might have helped.
"Ant immediately made me feel right at home at the Academy when I moved to the big city on my own. He was also the first to wish me luck when I moved on to the Zoo and gave me the encouraging words I needed to hear when I started that new adventure. He finds joy in bringing joy to others"- Mandy F.
Anthony needs your help now to face a particularly difficult time in both his health and finances. And we, Anthony’s care taking community, need to create a broader network of support for him, both for his sake and ours."Anthony gave me a great start to my career. Interning for him, there was no end to the stories about the museum and the generally quirky commentary. He would push me just enough to try the things that were difficult or new for me then - like learning how to use a drill and making business phone calls.
"- Michelle L.
The current turn in Anthony’s health began on October 14 when, after not hearing from Anthony when expected, my partner and I went to check on him. We found him collapsed on the ground, where he had been for two days. We called 911 and rushed to the ER. In the past two weeks, he’s gone from barely being able to move to almost walking again and though he's doing better each day, he is very weak. He’s almost to the point where he can feed himself but his dexterity and coordination are off. He's currently in rehabilitation with an estimated discharge date of November, 13th 2015. "Anthony motivated me to start running on the parkway when I was there. He used to take me when he would go on his runs! Also took me up to Maine to see the coyote way back when. So blessed to call him my friend" -
The Doctor believes that Ant has CIDP and we are waiting for an official diagnosis from a muscle biopsy. Including the biopsy, Ant underwent a spinal tap, EMG, Ultrasound, MRI, CT Scan, and other tests. We do not know at this point how much of the bill for these tests, Ant’s hospital stay or time in rehab will be covered by Medicaid."Ant always made me laugh and as a manager, always made me feel like no matter what, he was there to help, support, whatever needed. He seemed to always know what to say. He is a part of so many of my favorite memories from Academy. From him cleaning his turtle, to the leader of the "Tim-ettes and Dickens village to the classic "where was I" and lets not forget teaching children flawlessly about dinos with a guinea pig. He is a master!"
- Karen V.
Anthony was able to manage financially on severance and unemployment, budgeting those out to cover the bare minimum at $500 per month, until they ran out. Since then, we helped Ant get SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid. In May 2015, we got through the initial rejection process for Social Security Disability and heard that the hearing would be in anytime from 4 to 14 months."Anthony was an excellent teacher. Pete and I really enjoyed the talk he gave on birds and dinosaurs. Very impressive!"-
Anthony may not be my husband anymore, but he is still family to me. My mom, my sister and even my partner have ‘adopted’ Anthony and become a part of his support network. Others we are grateful for have paid credit card bills, visited him, replaced the hot water heater, sent care packages, walked the dog and given encouragement."He would say Wasserman are you sure you should be doing that...then he would do it right after i stopped. I t's like i want to have fun not you. Thinking of you Ant!"
Please help us support this man that we love from whom disease has taken so much. Thank you for reading Ant’s story and please read on for ways to help!
Ways to help:
"He let me steer the cherry picker to dust dinosaurs! They're lucky they're still standing"-
- Donate through this site (Anthony still needs about $500 per month to cover bare minimum bills.)
- Donate things Anthony needs like toilet paper, cat litter, dog food, cat food, paper towels, deodorant, soap, shampoo, shaving cream, razors, etc.
- Shoes, winter clothes, etc. (Looking neat and clean is important to Ant, which has been difficult in the hospital)
- Cook with Ant or bring frozen meals / leftovers
- Visit (Just think, even seldom visits from many people would average out to alleviate so much of Ant’s experience as a near shut-in)
- Housework / handy work
"Anthony really liked his job., he had a few opportunities to leave but always stayed on. We saw him once on tv when he was interviewed at his place of work with one of the animals he took care of explaining all about the animal. He was very good at his job, I was sad when he lost it.
" - Phil P."All my memories of Anthony are of him constantly moving, talking, sharing, working. I've met very few people that could do as much as him, and really no one that could do it with as much humour, joy, and enthusiasm. He's a treasure."
"True story: Anthony introduced me to the joy that is a Starbuck's mocha. It was always a guilty little bit of happy when my morning started with a walk with him to Starbucks."
- Dusti Lynne M."He was so sweet, funny and very thoughtful of others.....I will keep him in prayer" -
Shantay J. "Ant always made feel like one of the crew when I first started at the Academy and was always willing to help me at work and outside of it. Thru it all he never lost his sense of humor and more than likely never will."
Wil T."He's one of the kindest people I've ever met."
- Timshel P."His sense of humor is spectacular. He also has the type of personality that makes people want to be around him. Even if he was complaining about something, he somehow usually managed to still be in a good mood" -
Nicole K."Funny enough, he was always concerned about my vehicular safety,.....hahaha. I'm all seriousness, he has such an amazing sense of humor that is totally contagious!" -