About the Fund
The friends and family at Powerline Church are trying to help support the continued recovery of one of our dearest members. With this in mind we have established the Stephen S. Smith Assistance Fund. By clicking on the button below you will be redirected to Paypal.com where you can use your Paypal account or any major credit card to donate to this fund.
How Did This Happen?
Stephen was born with a rare birth defect called a horseshoe kidney. He only had one kidney when most people have two. Stephen was diagnosed with diabetes in his late twenties. He is 50 years old now, which means that his body has been dealing with the strain of this disease for about 20 years. It has been so difficult for his only kidney, that he was diagnosed with renal failure or kidney failure in 2006.
To keep Stephen alive for three years, doctors used two different kinds of dialysis. First they tried pertioneal dialysis. When that made other aspects of diabetes worse doctors switch him to hemo-dialysis. Neither of these treatments were expected cure Stephen or save his kidney. All they could do was keep him alive long enough to wait for a new kidney that he could get through a kidney transplant.
A New Kidney
After almost 3 years on the waiting list Stephen received his precious gift of life in the form of an anonymous deceased kidney donor on December 29, 2009! The transplant went well, (GLORY TO GOD!!!!!!). Stephen continues to need life-long medical care and maintenance including anti-rejection medicine daily for the rest of his life. Insurance helps but does not cover everything. Just his supplemental insurance costs over $2,000 a year. We must continue to raise money for both expected and unexpected medical costs for the rest of his life. Thank you! God bless you!
There I was, back in 1996, heavily involved in Wiccan rituals and witchcraft. Then I went to this small, but friendly church, mostly because my wife asked me to. They were not like most other Christians that I had met. They didn’t tell me that I was going to Hell and run away from me. No, they reached out in love and tried to understand what I was all about. They started teaching me about God’s Word and His love and grace for me. I started to come around slowly, but I needed something more substantial. I really didn’t know what. Then one day, my wife and I went to a church cell group meeting at the Pastor’s house and my wife let it be known that we really wanted children but were unable to have any. The group laid hands on my wife, praying for her to get pregnant and to be cured of asthma. That was the last night that my wife had an asthma attack and within 2 weeks she was pregnant. Our first child was born 9 months later, a 7 lb 12 oz baby girl. We figured that she would be an only child. Yet, two years later my wife was pregnant again: this time with a healthy baby boy. I’ll tell you, this got my attention. If God could do this for a sinner like me, imagine what He can do for you.
This crisis does not just affect Stephen. Here are a few words from his wife and children.
Steve’s Wife – Mary
The support, love and kindness from everyone has been so overwhelmingly wonderful. Our one prayer through all of this has been that it would impact The Lord’s kingdom for the better and I see how much God has granted that prayer already. We are truly humbled by every ones generosity in finance and in time and compassion.
Steve’s Daughter – Maerissa
I feel really, really grateful and I love all our friends and family and the people in our church because they are trying to get daddy a kidney.
Steve’s Son – Saxon
I feel grateful that daddy’s going to get a kidney transplant so he can go outside a lot and so he will feel really good.
What is Diabetes?
The simple answer is that it is a disease where the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. This answer is too simple. There are different types of diabetes that affect the body in different ways. They are all very serious and they all are very damaging. Without getting into a long discussion about Type 1 or Type 2, gestational or juvenile diabetes, we would like to explain a few differences. Some people can control their blood sugar levels simply by watching what they eat. They can check their blood sugar levels everyday and maintain a diet which keeps the sugar down to a safer level. Using this technique some people seem to have cured their diabetes. Don’t be fooled. If they ever stop watching what they eat their blood sugar levels will return to dangerous levels. You can’t cure diabetes this way, you can only control it. The body needs something called insulin to manage the sugar in the blood. Some people are diabetic because they don’t manufacture enough insulin for their body to keep up with what they eat. If the body is just a little short, they can adjust their diet. If their body is significantly short of insulin, they must supplement with doctor prescribed insulin. These patients must also watch what they eat, but eating changes alone won’t get their blood sugar levels to a normal number.
You can cure diabetes, through a pancreas transplant. The pancreas is the organ in the body which makes the insulin. If a body doesn’t make enough or doesn’t make any insulin, it’s because the pancreas isn’t working. Replacing the pancreas would solve the problem. Another type of diabetic patient is the insulin resistant diabetic. This describes Stephen Smith. These patients make enough insulin, but their body does not recognize that it has any. For some reason the receptor which the insulin attaches to, don’t receive it and don’t utilize it to control the blood sugar. In thesecases, a pancreas transplant would do no good. Diabetes affects every system and organ in the body. If you ever made a meringue pie you know that sugar actually “cooks” the egg whites. Your body is made up of exactly the same things as are in egg whites. When your blood sugar is high for too long a period it actually damages all your organ systems.
What is Kidney Failure (Renal Failure)?
Renal failure is kidney failure. The word renal comes from the Latin word for kidney. The simple truth is that kidney failure is when the kidneys stop functioning properly. The less simple question is, “What does that mean to a person like Stephen and a family like the Smiths?”
Cells throughout your body take in food and oxygen to use for energy. The process results in waste that is dumped into the bloodstream. The kidney’s job is to take the waste and excrete it through urine. (Your body also gets rid of waste through sweating, sneezing, coughing, and feces.)
Blood heads to the kidneys from the heart, where the blood is filtered. Not only are waste products removed, but electrolytes are balanced in the blood and the body fluids are monitored. So kidneys control levels of electrolytes like sodium or potassium. They also keep normal people from retaining water. When the kidneys fail, there are many consequences! Toxic waste builds up in the blood, making it difficult to think clearly or to stay healthy. The electrolyte balance is thrown off which can cause muscle weakness, confusion, and personality changes.
A person cannot live without at least one functioning kidney. The toxic waste build-up alone would kill him. When someone is in renal failure, they must have their blood filtered by an outside source in a process known as dialysis. For a family like Steve Smith’s, it means that three times a week he must go spend an afternoon in the hospital and have his blood filtered for him until he receives a new kidney.
What is a Kidney Transplant?
A kidney transplant is when you receive a kidney form another person, either a live donor (someone who is living) or from a cadaver, (someone who has passed away already). A transplant from a live donor is always better because it is planned, and the kidney is in MUCH better shape, therefore it works longer (up to 20 yrs) and the kidney recipient has a much longer life expectancy with that kidney. A transplant from a cadaver usually only lasts up to 7 years and therefore the kidney recipient may need another transplant or to go back on dialysis after that time frame.