This is a photo of Wendy and her father Randy Davis at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Wendy Davis is my niece, who is 37 years old and has Down Syndrome. Wendy has been the center of attention in our family since the day she was born. Wendy is no doubt the happiest person on earth when she is with her family, and it is evident in her contagious smile. Despite her handicap she has lived a very active, heathy lifestyle and has held down a couple of different jobs-one being, of course, a job at Wendy's Restaurant.
Wendy has suffered from heart disease since her birth. She had open heart surgery when she was 4 years old and it was assumed she would need an additional surgery by the time she was 18. However, over the years she did so well on medication and was so active that surgery was not needed.
About two months ago, Randy and his wife Shirley begin to notice some symptoms of swelling in her lower legs feet and ankles. They immediately got an appointment with their cardiologist who had followed Wendy for many years, and he recommended that they take her to Mayo Clinic and have her examined by the cardiologists there.
The Mayo cardiologist suggested that a surgical repair or replacement of her mitral valve and pulmonary valve be considered. After arriving at Mayo Clinic and going through all the initial testing, it was discovered that Wendy had a very low blood count-- extremely low--which was totally unexpected and shocking.
So, the issue of the heart was put on the back burner temporarily and the Hematology Department began to do extensive testing to discover why her red blood count was so low. Wendy had a bone marrow biopsy and for a period of ten days or so, Randy and Shirley feared that Wendy might have leukemia, in addition to her heart problems.
Later we learned that Wendy did not have leukemia, but that the low blood count had been caused by the severe leakage of Wendy's mitral valve and the regurgitation that takes place within her heart which destroys red blood cells. Wendy had to receive a number of blood transfusions because she was very weak and anemic. A date was set for surgery for August 15th.
However, Wendy continued to suffer from intermittent fevers. Sometimes it seemed they were associated with the transfusions. A few weeks ago Wendy had a fever of 105 and was rushed to the emergency room.
The health care professionals discovered that Wendy had some sort of infection and begin to treat it with an antibiotic. After seeming to have that under control Wendy had a couple of "good days" and so we were awaiting the upcoming surgery to solve this issue once and for all.
However, on Sunday July 23rd Wendy was again rushed to the ER where it was discovered she had an infection in her blood known as endocarditis, which is very serious. Doctors believe that a cluster of bacteria broke loose from her heart valve going to her brain which then caused a stroke. She was rushed to Mayo Clinic by ambulance and underwent a number of tests for a few days.
It was touch-and-go for some time, and Randy and Shirley were not sure Wendy would be able to endure all the obstacles she had against her. She was finally released from Critical Care in the Cardiology unit and was accepted into the rehab program at Mayo Clinic to help her regain her ability to walk and talk following the stroke.
Unfortunately, once again, Wendy suffered another fever which was very concerning to the doctors. She was tested for MRSA, which is a terrible infection and is difficult to defeat. After waiting several days for test results, Randy and Shirley were glad to receive news that the MRSA test was negative, but Wendy did have pneumonia.
Wendy had to go back on three heavy-duty antibiotics in order to kill this additional infection and pneumonia. Wendy will need to be on antibiotics for a full 6 weeks. At the end of that time, which would be around September 5th, her Cardiology team will reassess her situation and will then reschedule the surgery possibly for later this year.
Randy and Shirley over the past few weeks have practically lived in Rochester, Minnesota which is several hours from their home in Ottumwa, Iowa. Their expenses have been accumulating daily with hotels and meals and travel expenses for multiple trips to Mayo Clinic.
They have insurance that will pay for some, but not all of Wendy's care. She has had numerous doctors, specialist, therapists etc. Also Wendy will need special facilities in their home which will mean handicapped showering facilities, railings, and the list goes on.
Also- other medical equipment such as wheel chair and walker will be need in some situations. These expenses are just a few I am aware of at this point in time. We do not know what future needs will entail. She will require physical...occupational and speech therapy, with heart surgery coming in the near future.
The most immediate need is Randy's loss of income. Randy for those who do not know him, is the founder of Drawing Closer Ministries in 1987. Randy has traveled to various churches throughout the United States and beyond with his very unique combination of visual Bible teaching, chalk artistry, and special music.
This is, and has been Randy's full time occupation and he relies totally on free will love offerings from churches. These offerings support his ministry and his family. Randy has a very full schedule most of the year with meetings booked months in advance. So in the past weeks he has had to cancel for the first time ever, numerous scheduled meetings thus far and very likely many more in the near future, which is uncertain to say the least. Of course, this has left him with no income.
So this is why we, myself and my wife Julie, my sisters Diana, and Tonya, and my brother Scott, and all family members who care so for Wendy ask for your gift to support Wendy's medical expenses and make her well again so she can come home to stay.
Please join us in "Making Wendy Healthy Again." Your support would be greatly appreciated!