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Family struggles after dad gets ill

EDITOR'S NOTE: "Light One Candle" is an annual series that focuses on the single need of an individual, family or agency during the holidays. Once the need is filled, donations may be distributed by agencies to others in need.

This young family of four has been struggling for some time since the father was stricken with a rare stomach disorder. His numerous surgeries and medical treatments have taxed their physical and financial limits.

Shortly after the birth of his first child, the enthusiastic new dad fell ill. At first he thought he had the worst flu ever. But after a week of no relief, he started seeing doctors.

Within a month he'd lost 25 pounds and was getting weaker. He could not work most days.

He was finally diagnosed with gastroparesis — a paralysis of the stomach. After doctors unsuccessfully tried more medications, his body was nourished intravenously with a specific formula. This worked for a few months until he developed infections.

He had more surgery to establish a stomach tube for more liquid nourishment. Oregon Health & Science University used a new device called a gastric pacemaker. More infections and more surgeries have ensued, causing the family to spend many weeks at Rogue Valley Medical Center.

Their baby is now 22 months old and has spent many days and nights running up and down the halls at RVMC, much to the delight of the hospital staff who thoroughly enjoy the little girl.

The dad and his wife are expecting their second child in March. Mom has been working at a local market for the past six months and recently got her driver's license. Dad loved his job but has not been able to work for more than a year. The family has been living with a relative and struggles to buy gas to come into Medford as well as all the trips to OHSU in Portland.

Despite the difficulties and frustrations of the past 20 months, this young family is quite remarkable. They have a strong bond and are committed to providing their children with a nurturing and loving environment. They would be grateful for any help.

Donations that will help this family include diapers (size 4), a tricycle, warm clothes (size 2), sweat clothes for dad (large), gas cards, new tires, maternity clothes for mom (large) and/or a gift card to Motherhood Maternity, small diapers and clothes for the new baby (gender not determined) and some rent money.