Thank you for taking the time to hear about our story. For over a decade, Amy has lived with a devastating combination of progressive and chronic auto-immune diseases. Through more hospitalizations than we can count, our family has struggled to keep pace with the rising cost of Amy’s care. Accepting the vulnerability of asking for help in Amy’s care has not been easy, nor do we take it lightly. However, despite our best efforts to keep pace with the high cost of medical care, as a single-income ministry family, we are simply not able to absorb it alone.
In 2012, Amy’s health declined to the point where she could no longer hold a job. Despite the valiant work of over 20 specialists and doctors, her health diminished to the point where even household chores were not always possible. Since that time, she has spent more than a few holidays in a hospital bed. Through God’s grace she has always given what strength she has to the service of others. While this past decade has been a struggle, there is hope for a better life for Amy.
Last December, the persistence of Amy’s team paid off when they provided a short-term sample of Enbrel. The results have been both encouraging and amazing! While this medication is not a cure, Amy has seen new life. On top of our $29,000 annual medical expenses, our insurance estimates a year’s supply of the medication will cost $8,700. Absorbing this extra cost is both necessary and one that requires our humbly asking for your support.
We cannot begin to express how grateful we are to have you visit our page for any help you can provide.
Asking for help is not easy, but God never intended us to make it through life alone. We want to thank Brian and Caden Brown of BrownCowVideo.com; Kathy Asche, CPA, PC; Frank D. Dumont, MD, FACP; and Steve Johnson, Elder CCEP, for their time and their help in producing the above video. We are grateful to our family, friends, church, and community for your loving support in helping us shoulder the high cost of medical care. Your love, prayers, generosity, and encouragement are an inspiration. We could not do this without such an incredible network of support; we are blessed that we don’t have to.
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Q) Will Enbrel cure Amy?
A) No. Amy suffers from a cluster of progressive auto-immune diseases. Though a distant hope, remission would be the best outcome Enbrel could help facilitate. Enbrel will not cure her illness, but it will significantly slow and potentially halt some of the disease processes. By better addressing these processes, Amy’s disease becomes less intrusive and damaging. Though she has only been using Enbrel for a short time (thanks to her physician giving us a small supply of samples) she has already experienced significant benefits that have improved her quality of life. It is exciting to consider that she may indeed see even more improvement.
Q) Have you tried to work with the manufacturer to get the medication for free or a reduced price?
A) Yes. For the past 2 years Amy has worked with Amgen (Enbel’s manufacturer) and will continue to pursue this. While Amgen offers some assistance to those with commercial insurance, as well as to those who are uninsured, they currently do not offer the same kind of help to those who are disabled (and covered by Medicare). The annual income guideline has been too low to qualify for the “Safety Net” program Amgen does provide, though the standards do change annually. Additionally, Amy is always applying for grants and other medication access programs as she becomes aware of them.
Q) Have you tried seeking aid through other organizations that help families afford prescriptions?
A) Yes, please see above. Every year Amy spends hundreds of hours researching and applying for grants and aid for medication access. Each year she has been placed on waitlists, but as of yet, has not received any aid or assistance. Because each of these grants are renewed on an annual basis, even if she did receive the aid, there is no guarantee it would continue. We will continue to pursue these, but cannot necessarily rely upon them to receive this critical medication for the long term.
Q) Is there a better insurance solution that could lower your overall cost?
A) There are a few options that would lower the cost of Enbrel, but would drastically raise other medical costs and liabilities, including our premiums, making the savings moot. With the possible upcoming changes in healthcare legislation, we will be sure to keep investigating our options. As of now Amy’s current plan is the most cost effective option available.
Q) Is there a generic version that may cost less?
A) No. Enbrel received FDA approval in 1998. The patent on Enbrel was originally set to expire on October 23, 2012, but in the United States a second patent, granting exclusivity for another 16 years, has been granted. This means the soonest we can expect a generic version is 2028.
Q) Are there other biologic medications that Amy could try?
A) Yes, but all would be of similar cost. Since Amy has been using Enbrel she has been showing remarkable improvement. From a medical perspective, there isn’t much reason to make the change. As stated above, all other similar medications are also very expensive and fall into the same prescription cost category. Financially it does not make sense to transition her to a different biologic at this time.
Q) How much do you spend on Medical Expenses a year?
A) We can expect to pay up to $29,000 in 2017 on medically-related expenses and debt (we have paid close to this amount for many years). This does not however include Enbrel, which will be up to an additional $8700/year. We expect similar expenses each year, of course this amount will be lower if Amy’s health improves.
Q) Why didn’t you just start a Go Fund Me campaign?
A) Crowdfunding sites (like GoFundMe) take between 8%-10% of each donation, which is why we have decided to host our own funding page. We want to make sure 100% of your gifts go toward this effort. The online processors we have selected (Square Cash and PayPal) provide safe, secure, and no-fee person-to-person transfers, which is why we selected them. You can learn more about the pros and cons of these and other online funds processors here.
Q) Other than helping with the medical costs, are there other ways I can help?
A) Absolutely! Your prayers, encouragement, letters, and compassion are all invaluable sources of emotional and spiritual support. Knowing that we are not in this alone is huge.
In difficulty we found peace. In suffering we found comfort. In brokenness we found hope. In disability we found determination. In humility we found community.
In community we found love.