Stacey Rudy has always lent a helping hand from the time she was a small child. She loved to care for people and animals, and developed a great sense of empathy for others. Growing up, she sought out ways to help the less fortunate and marginalized members of society. Little did she know that she would find herself in a similar position one day when illness struck. As a teenager, she ventured out on her first solo medical mission, and knew then that traveling the globe to serve the needs of the destitute would become a calling. Having had some health struggles from the age of 11, sometimes that would prove difficult. But, she pressed on, pursued a career as a Physician Assistant, and continued serving and leading trips. She even created Lifelines Medical Team for her church of then 10,000 people so she and her fellow members could pursue medical volunteer work at home and abroad together. While leading her tenth mission, to South Africa this time, she discovered she had been bitten by something and within one week, became bedridden, unable to speak or read, and in the most excruciating pain she had ever felt. From that moment on , her busy and active life vanished, and she began the incredible journey of survival, despite all odds. Many years and and many more doctors later, she was diagnosed with several tropical diseases and their complications, known to be fatal, and autoimmune sequelae limiting her from completing even the most menial tasks. Later diagnosed with chronic Lyme Borreliosis Complex, the light was shed on the plethora of neurologic symptoms, common with the encephalopathy (brain swelling and atrophy) from the disease. One answer would lead to hope, then be dashed due to a new stroke, seizure, symptom, or setback of almost any kind. She dealt with unexplained tumors, organ failure, heart aneurysms, lung disease, massive edema, severe headaches, vision deficits, etc, on top of the extreme pain and fatigue. For a while, her life became an existence, waking up in a 10×10 room, lying in a bed with as little sensory input as possible (light, sound, smell…), vomiting, wrapping ice packs around her head, and falling asleep again. Aside from rallying to work when able, all sense of normalcy was gone. She was distanced from family, friends, relationships, missions work, daily schedule, her home, savings, and every sense of security she had known before. No breath or moment in time could be taken for granted. She grappled with her faith in a God who said he loved her and had great plans for her. Yet, he provided in miraculous ways for each and every need, and even moreso, gave her parents and brother the grace and strength to be able to stand by her side and provide support. Over the past 15 years, she has fought back, over and over again. And then COVID-19 happened. Once again, she found herself hospitalized in dire condition for 5 more days. She had been working some shifts on the front lines in Urgent Care medicine, to do her part in this crisis. Not only was this a devastating blow as she has been striving to get back into a serving role, but her finances are now completely wiped out again. Having used her savings and retirement years ago, there is no safety net. The out-of-pocket medical costs have been extreme (over 100 doctors in this country and several others), and her health insurance costs over $700/mo. Any support to help her get back on her own two feet and move forward in the work God has called her to would be greatly appreciated! She and her family are so grateful for your love and concern. Many blessings to you and yours.
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