Please Help This ALS Warrior, Derek

For: Derek Brennan
Pasadena, MD
Organizer: Nicki Lane and Roxanne Regiec Torres
Please Help This ALS Warrior, Derek (Derek Brennan)
$7,505
of $20,000 goal
37% Complete
Raised by 107 donors

The Story

To know him, is to love him…”Derek’s story”.

At the end of October 2016, Derek was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). He first noticed something was wrong when he developed a speech impediment. Like many people living with ALS, Derek’s symptoms could be explained away. Finally, after having an MRI and testing to include/exclude other diagnoses, Derek received his ALS diagnosis.  Derek is only 29 years old, and has a beautiful, young family.  In June 2016, Derek married the love of his life (and the one that keeps him in line!), Christina.  Together Christina and Derek have a 7 year old Son, Aiden. Derek and Christina had planned the normal life plan…purchase a house, have more children and live happily-ever-after.  Being diagnosed with ALS has altered, and will continue to alter, Derek and Christina’s goals.  They are now facing, with grace and strength, a heinous monster.  

Derek loves his job as a Home Improvement Specialist (which he likes to call himself), and works very hard to provide for his family.  Derek and Christina’s families would like to raise money to send them on the honeymoon they never had, and also a trip for Derek, Christina and Aiden.  Because of the progressive nature of ALS, we would love to be able to make these trips happen as soon as possible.  The money raised will also cover co-pays, procedures/medicines and durable medical equipment, not covered by insurance. We would love to raise enough money for a lift-van, as this would make trips to the grocery store, etc. much easier. It is also very important that we raise money for Aiden’s college fund, so Derek and Christina do not have to worry.

Derek does not know how long he will be able to work, and being a proud man, it hurts him that the financial burden will fall on Christina. The families have started doing fundraisers, selling bracelets, t shirts and reaching out to organizations that are willing to help. We are hoping to earn money so when the time does come, his wife will not have to worry about what the insurance will and will not cover, and be able to take care of herself, husband and son and focus on what is important...making memories with Derek. The family would like to thank anyone who donates money ahead of time. Let’s hope they find a cure for ALS, so no more families have to endure this pain!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 2, 2018

Posted on February 2, 2018

Hello supporters!  We wanted to let you know that Derek is currently in the hospital, after having difficulty breathing.  Derek decided his best option, at this time, was to have a tracheostomy surgically placed and have a ventilator hooked up to it.  The trach surgery was done Wednesday, January 31st and we aren't sure when/if he will be weaned from vent. Derek's O2 and CO2, since having the surgery are WNL.  We are so happy to see Derek's goofy smile again, and we can tell how good he feels, because he's back to teasing us!
Unfortunately, with trach & vent, Derek will now require 24/7 skilled care.  Because Christina has to work and care for Aiden, we want to make sure she gets the rest she needs, and is not up all night tending to Derek. (This is especially important, because she is only 2 months post-op from her brain surgery.) 
We are unsure how much out-of-pocket expense we will incur, but know ALS and specialized care is very, very costly!  
Again, we want to keep Derek at home, but he must be provided proper, round-the- clock care, for that to happen.
As we anticipate this newest part of the ALS journey, we ask that you continue to donate and share!
***Please remember the amount stated on this site is not accurate.  The money is periodically deposited in our fundraising bank account, and much has already been spent on supplies, home care (Thanks, Nicki for continuing to do such a wonderful job, as Derek's aide!).
Thank you for every dollar, every prayer and every word of encouragement!  Wishing you all the very best of health!
Are latest cover photo is Derek with his newest ALS Warrior armor!

Posted on December 28, 2017

Posted on December 28, 2017

Hello, everyone! We are very sorry for not updating sooner, but it has been a busy, fulfilling, and humbling year.

To start, in June Derek and Christina bought their very first house! Although Derek is no longer physically able to do the home repairs he loves to do, family and friends have been there to help in any way possible. (….and Derek still directs everyone, at every turn of the repair!) Derek and his family went to Punta Cana, Nickelodeon resort and they had a blast! (As we all know the voice of SpongeBob passed away from ALS earlier this year.) Derek and Christina also went Skydiving…kicking another thing off the bucket list! Derek turned the Dirty 30 on October 14th and we threw him a party, surrounding him with friends and family and lots of love and support. Not long after his Daddy’s Birthday, Aiden turned the Great 8….so we had another fun-filled party!

Unfortunately, December 6th Christina had brain surgery. Thankfully, her brain tumor was benign, as this family has the weight of the world on their shoulders. Although she continues to heal successfully, Christina is unable to lift/transfer Derek. Because of Christina’s current health issue, and Derek’s declining health, Christina’s Sister, Nicki has been hired (thru an agency) to be Derek’s caregiver. It is a great source of comfort, to have someone that loves and supports Derek care for him, instead of a stranger. Unfortunately we only have limited, short-term grant money to pay the agency, and it is a lengthy process to get a Medicaid Waiver. Although we will continue to have co-pays, bills, etc….providing Derek with the absolute best in-home care, is the most important reason we continue to raise funds!

Unfortunately the BEAST that is ALS has reared its ugly head, and has begun to ravage this once strong, fit, virile man. Derek is non-verbal at this point (although he always makes his point known!). Derek also has a feeding tube, and his doctor recommended he be NPO (nothing by mouth). He is at very high risk of choking, and aspiration pneumonia is the #1 cause of death for people living with ALS. Derek has a cough-assist machine and also uses a suction machine, to help with any excess mucous and while brushing his teeth. Derek’s ability to walk, navigate stairs, etc. has also quickly declined. Because he is a high fall risk, Derek has been Rx’d a walker. He has also recently been fitted for a custom wheelchair (W/C). By far, the most dangerous, physical symptom Derek is experiencing is failing lung function. ALS is a motor-neuron disease that “kills” ones’ ability to use their muscles. The main support for breathing is your diaphragm….which is a muscle. Because Derek’s O2 is low and his CO2 is high, he is fatigued much of the time. Derek has begun to use his breathing machine (Bi-Pap) more consistently, but the damage that has already occurred, cannot be reversed. As you scroll through the newly posted pictures, you will see the effect ALS has had on Derek’s body, but you will also see his big smile remains the same!

Please continue to donate, so this wonderful ALS Warrior Family, has the ability to pay for out-of-pocket handicap-accessible products/medical expenses and in-home care! Again, our goal is to keep Derek OUT of a nursing home or Hospice house, so please DONATE as much or as little as possible….and as soon as possible. Also please note that the amount stated on this page, does not reflect the true amount. The amount shown is the amount raised since the fundraiser began, it does not show deductions for medical supplies already purchased. Currently we are down to just a few hundred dollars.

We thank you, and kindly ask you to share this update! Wishing everyone a happy and HEALTHY New Year! -------Nicki & Roxanne #Screwals 

Posted on March 10, 2017

Posted on March 10, 2017

Hello Everyone,
We want to start off by thanking everyone for their donations and prayers. The love and support we have gotten we can not put into words. Although Derek still remains his goofy self, he is experiencing the progressive symptoms of ALS. February 28th Derek went to his appointment at JHH ALS clinic. His lung capacity is at 50%,  the doctor said that they want Derek to start wearing a bipap machine at night to give his lungs a break. Derek has also began to have a heavy foot so they recommended him to start wearing bilateral afo's to help with his walking. As mentioned in the last update, Derek, Christina and Aiden are going to Punta Cana Nickelodeon resort in May. We can only pray ALS will not progress to much by than and he will be able to have his family trip that we have planned for them. Our prayers go out to all other ALS patients, and we hope to find a cure for ALS in 2017. ScrewALS

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