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RD Neighbor needs help fighting eye disease

Published by Johnny Davis on March 19, 2012

My name is Kimberly Hart and I am writing to you about my husband, Douglas Hart. He is suffering from a debilitating disease called Ocular Histoplasmosis, which he contracted February 4ththis year. This is a serious disease and a leading cause of blindness. At present, he has lost sight in his left eye and has multiple lesions present on his right eye. He is getting injections of Avastin into his eyes to treat it. He is waiting to see if he is a candidate for surgery.

Doug’s job only has long term disability benefits, which will not kick in for a few months. We need to get individual health insurance but this is a huge problem since his retinal specialist ordered him to cease working for his own safety. Since Doug is now without pay, we are low on funds and high in debt with medical bills since treatment is costly. He will have to be covered for the upcoming procedures needed to possibly save his eyesight in his right eye.
Doug is only 29 years old and has three children to support. He is a devoted father, son and husband. His biggest fear is of losing his sight completely and not being able to work to support his family. But even through this tragedy, he always keeps a bright smile on his face and shows us so much love, even though I know he hurts deep inside. I am only working part-time to put food on the table, and our growing children need a lot of emotional and financial support to keep up with their active lifestyles. Our youngest son, Jacob, is 5 and about to start kindergarten. We also have a teenage son, Dominic, who just entered high school and now plays football and a daughter, Savanna, who is competing nationally in Taekwondo. The expenses for raising children are already high, and keeping them active and happy are even more expensive, but I believe it is important to keep their spirits high as they go through this terrible situation.
What is so tragic is that Doug and I not only have to worry about healing him from the disease, but also stress over how we are going to pay for skyrocketing medical costs. It brings tears to my eyes when I hear from Doug that all he wants to do is see our daughter compete at the American Taekwondo Association World Championship this Spring if that’s the last thing he’ll see. Doug is Savanna’s number one fan and it would be heartbreaking if he could no longer see her. Even with this imminent in his mind, he still remains upbeat and supportive, as he has a pure heart and loving soul.
What is Ocular Histoplasmosis and how could this happen? Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus found in soil where bird and bat droppings have accumulated, such as in chicken coops, caves and old buildings. Doug, who is an industrial plumber, frequently works in older buildings where he might have gotten exposed to the fungus. Fungal spores can become airborne if the soil is disturbed and then be inhaled into the lungs causing flu-like, cold symptoms. Even though the symptoms are mild, it can cause a serious retinal condition called Ocular Histoplasmosis Syndrome (OHS). OHS is a leading cause of blindness in the 20 to 40 year old age group and affects men and women equally. More people need to be aware of this disease in the U.S., especially those who have high-risk professions such as farmers, construction workers and landscapers. Blindness can happen quite suddenly since the symptoms seem like the common cold. Doug woke up one day with one blind eye, and it was incredibly scary.
We are searching for corporate sponsors willing to donate money or items that can be used to raise funds. In addition, we need radio or other media outlets to help us get the word out and raise the money we need to get through this. I have created a fundraiser page for him through the Giveforward.com website at this link:
Alternatively, we can accept donations with check by mail. Please send to:
Douglas Hart
6363 Memorial Drive
Sandston, VA 23150
Donations will be used to cover the cost of insurance, household expenses, medical bills, injections not covered by insurance and daily living needs. As Doug is the Head of Household when it comes to income, we really need your help. We are raising money to offset and assist with these expenses. Our hope is that we alleviate the financial burden so he can concentrate on getting better. We want to spread our story and let people know about this horrifying disease. Please find it in your heart to help Doug with a gift of sight.
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