The vision to attend the Transplant Games first came to me after reading The Power of Two book and then watching the documentary. The Power of Two is about twins who have defeated the many odds against them, overcoming a life threatening disease, and the double lung transplants that saved them. Their will to live inspired me. When I first heard that the Transplant Games were going held in Michigan this year the thought was already planted about attending. This was while I was in the battle of a serious infection. After the last hospitalization about a month into my recovery I was able to watch the documentary. I was so inspired to attend the games and “finally celebrate” this amazing gift that not only I was given but my family as well received. When I get a “vision” despite the circumstances I go for it. There really isn’t much thinking about it for me. Here I was just fresh out of the hospital; but felt by the time July came I was going to be ready to go.
The last hospitalization I could have lost my kidney transplant. Not only that, they forewarned me that when they knock out my immune system there could be many complications including flaring up the infection I was fighting. They had to juggle everything and figure out how to stop my body from rejecting my transplanted kidney but not kill me in the process. I thought about life and how maybe this was the end. I actually felt peace and I wasn’t scared. I knew I fought hard all the way through and if this was God‘s will I wasn’t going to fear death. I thought about my kids and the past 7 years of dealing with my health issues. The hospitalizations, the appointments, the sickness… Even as hard as we worked to keep everything afloat there is no denying the struggles that came with the territory of being sick. I was thinking maybe it was just finally that time…
The last vacation we took I had gotten the Valley Fever infection just travelling back home. This would be our first family trip after my transplant. We were celebrating the restoration of our lives. I always told my kids we will go on the trip we always wanted when I get my transplant. Ofcourse the dream vacation would’ve been Hawaii, and trust me they asked. Disneyland was next to Hawaii :-). It was an awesome time but we got the call that Daniel’s grandmother who we thought had just a stomach infection was now suddenly dying. That’s when we cut the vacation short and hurried home. Who would know the flat tire on our way home was going to change the course of the next 2 years of our lives, as I fought this deadly infection.
This is a brief background that surrounds this vision of mine. I’m not an athlete by any means but I have the ability to try. My boys are the athletes. Sports has been a form of healing. We kept pushing them regardless of me being in and out of the hospital. We knew this was an outlet that they both loved and excelled in. Seeing the Power of Two documentary made me realize as long as I’m alive; I was going to share my story wherever and however. I was going to take chances and I was going to live life to the fullest. I seen this vision for my family to have this experience. Inspired by a story of strength to push on and to celebrate life. The twins were driven with purpose and was sharing their story in a big way.
I started fundraising for the Transplant Games on April 25th through GoFundMe services. It was really encouraging as I quickly raised money for the registration and team fundraising. I was still in the recovery process and it was uncertain if I was even going to be ready but as I said earlier, if there is something that is ignited in me faith is activated. I have a background in fundraising and the drive to help a cause is in me. It’s a little different that it’s my cause. I had a non-profit before while I was on dialysis and was only able to take it so far. From there the life of service began. Wherever I could help I wanted to help. It was natural to go into the areas that I was passionate about. Helping the youth, recovery, raising awareness for kidney disease and organ donation. My work of course would be challenging by my many health issues but it never really stopped me.
The last infection which resulted in several surgeries definitely put me down. I have never dealt with chronic pain of this level. Dialysis was grooling, getting poked with needles as big as a fork was no walk in the park; but healing from my back has certainly been a challenge. I was blessed with a treadmill about a month after my hospitalization and I started to walk. I had a little trouble when I first started but it has helped me gain strength. Today I am standing strong.
The Transplant Games is now 38 days away. I have a third of the funds raised. Now we need to raise money for our travelling expenses. Team Norcal will reimburse me as a transplant recipient participant but I need to entirely raise the funds for my family. My church is helping me by hosting a Zumbathon event. I have more details about fundraising on a new page dedicated to the: 2012 Transplant Games.
Recently I was boggled down just by everything. There is so many things that are telling me we shouldn’t go right now. Apart of recovery is picking up where you left off. Well its been several months of not being able to take care of many issues especially when it comes to finances. Hospital stays accrues some unexpected cost. When I’m in and out of the hospital from one surgery to the next it gets crazy. Right now we are coming face to face with so much that it feels out of control. I had some needed prayer yesterday because I just felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t even think about fundraising or this trip. The vision is clouded by realism. I was just an emotional wreck from everything. But thank God for healing in tears. Lately I just had to get it out.
This trip was planted out of faith. In prayer yesterday I was reminded of this. Our situation is what we are presently dealing with and we will press on regardless. It’s not like we haven’t been in this place before. Somehow we always got through these challenges. We just have to completely trust God with it. I couldn’t help question if this all was just a crazy idea but everything is already in motion. One of my friends totally set up everything for the zumbathon and my church is helping with hosting. I am going full force with sharing my story and by attending this event I hope it will not only be an encouragement to me and my family but to everyone who has followed my story. I’m excited to join the Stenzel twins along with other recipients and donor families to rejoice in the gift of life!
To my fellow blogging community, friends and family I invite you to come help us. Any amount donated will help. The GoFundMe link is below or you can send payments to the Norcal team: PAYABLE TO: SF Bay Area TRIO with “TEAM NORCAL” CLEARLY WRITTEN IN THE MEMO SECTION. Mail to: SF Bay Area TRIO, PO Box 2804, Cupertino, CA. 95015. Please specify to go towards Maribel Butts.
You can also help by sharing my website and keeping us in prayer.
Thank you so much for all the support and continuing to follow my story! I look forward for this experience to be apart of my story.
Much Love & Blessings, Maribel