This is my Uncle, Ronnie Barnes. He was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2016. IPF causes lung tissue to become damaged and scarred and can not be repaired--and can affect even non-smokers, like my uncle. In most cases, doctors can not pinpoint what causes the problem. After working at Hunter Marine for 30+ years, he attended Florida School of Massage and became a licensed massage therapist. However, due to the very aggressive form of IPF that he has, he is no longer able to work at all. He is currently on oxygen 24 hours a day and is progressively getting worse every day. My Aunt Donna (his wife) also had to quit her job at CMC to help care for him. We can not even imagine how overwhelming and devastating this disease has been for both of them--and especially after enjoying the previous year together in volunteer work for over 800 hours.
Since his damaged lungs can not be repaired, Ronnie needs a double lung transplant to stay alive. After applying at four hospitals in Florida they discovered that the surgeons that can perform this as a "bloodless surgery" with the best possible outcome are at Houston Methodist in Texas. My Mom, Vicki, helped drive them there for the transplant evaluation in early March and he was approved. But, he was told he would have to move there to be put on the list. So they had to pack their bags and leave their son, family, friends, and pets (boxers) behind and move to Houston. Ronnie's sister, Linda, helped drive them back last week to wait for his new pair of lungs. Thankfully our Cousin, David, gave them his heavy-duty Ford Excursion to use, since they had to transport about 30 oxygen tanks for the long trip and flying wasn't an option.
After a few final tests he hopes to be listed soon and according to his doctors he will be very near the top of the transplant list. After the transplant, he will have to remain in Houston for several more months and he will have to be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life.
They will need help covering all of the medical and living expenses. Ronnie has insurance, but the medical bills that the insurance will not cover, are accumulating.
Please help Ronnie breathe a little easier, knowing that his medical bills are being taken care of, and allowing him to focus on his upcoming surgery and recovery.
We thank you for taking the time to read my Uncle Ronnie's story. Thank you for your continued advice, encouragement, donations and prayers. We will keep this page updated with Ronnie's condition.
With a heartfelt Thank You,
From Amie and the Barnes Family
P.S. We look forward to the fulfillment of Isaiah 33:24, "and no resident will say: "I am sick." In the meantime, please, register to be a donor. April is National Donate Life Month. 118,000 people are waiting for organs.