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Posted: January 31, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Fund, fundraiser to support local man’s pancreas transplant

 Jake Gilbert, 32, has suffered for many years with Type I diabetes. During Gibert’s battle with diabetes he has endured many medical problems including vision loss, neuropathy, stage 3 kidney disease, hypertension, depression and damage to all of his major organs. Gilbert has gone into diabetic keytoacidosis twice in the last year and both times the doctors have told his family that they came very close to losing him.

 After weeks in the ICU he did recover, but only to find that even more damage had been done to his body because of these episodes. Gilbert’s doctors recently decided that he was in need of a pancreas transplant as soon as possible to try and stop the damage being done to his body. After a long evaluation process and weeks of waiting they have received notification that he is now second on the National Transplant Registry and his procedure could happen much sooner than his family ever anticipated.

 Gilbert and his wife, Waver, realize that this could be a life-changing surgery for him, but at the same time it is very frightening for both of them.

 The Gilberts also have a 16-month-old special needs child. After the birth of their daughter last July, it was determined that she had a 3q chromosome deletion and would be faced with many medical challenges herself. This in itself has been an emotional and financial burden on Jake and Waver as she is unable to work in order to care for their daughter, who is unable to attend daycare.

 Gilbert continues to work daily at Sunbelt Rentals in Covington, where he thoroughly enjoys his job and co-workers. He does have health insurance, but he will be responsible for 20 percent of all of the medical costs incurred during this process. He will have a long hospital stay at Piedmont Hospital as well as several weeks of recuperation and then begin the process of preventing any anti-rejection of his new pancreas. At some point in the future, Gilbert will need of a kidney transplant also.

 A Jake Gilbert Transplant Fund has been established at Suntrust Bank to help offset the cost of the transplant as well to help his family during the time that he will be out of work. If you would like to help, any donation made is tax deductible (tax ID number is 27-0507203). The account number for this fund is 1000098843476. A donation can be made at any Suntrust branch using the account number above.

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