It seems like yesterday, but it was nine years ago. I was sitting on the news desk finishing up the morning show in Wausau, WI when I received a life-changing phone call. After a 70-day hospital stay, my cousin, Bill Coon, was going to receive a heart and kidney transplant. In that moment, I was forever changed. Bill was born with a hypoplastic left ventricle (basically half a heart), he was the eighth newborn heart transplant in the United States and the fourth in the Midwest. Fast-forward 20 years, and now he was about to receive another new heart, along with a kidney. The double-organ transplant was successful and thanks to a selfless donor, my cousin has been able to live a full life and accomplish a great deal in that time.
As a patient advocate myself and as someone who battles Crohn’s disease, Bill’s life and experiences have shaped how I take on my disease. His strength, perspective and perseverance constantly inspire me to push through bad flare ups and remind me that each setback, procedure and surgery is nothing I can’t overcome. Bill and I grew up down the street from one another, he’s more like a brother than a cousin.
About four months ago, I teamed up with DripDrop to help promote their efforts to prevent dehydration and keep people healthy. Right now, their #StickToYourMission challenge is underway. Here’s how the promotion works, until November 2, you can receive 20 percent off all DripDrop product, simply by using the promo code: NATALIE20, when you check out.
You can check out DripDrop products by clicking here.
If 20 people use the “NATALIE20” code, DripDrop will donate $1,000 to a charity of my choice! If 40 people use the promotion code, DripDrop will donate $2,000.
Here’s where Bill comes in. As part of Bill’s efforts to give back and make difference, he launched a nonprofit organization called the Keep Swimming Foundation last October. Keep Swimming Foundation provides financial relief to families of critically ill patients so that they can afford the non-medical costs associated with visiting their loved one (bedside meals, lodging, parking at the hospital, gasoline, etc.). As a chronic illness patient, I can attest to how beneficial this is for families as they grapple with health issues and financial concerns.
“Every dollar means the world to us. We make a great attempt to allocate as much money as possible to our mission to help families of critically ill individuals. In turn, one thousand dollars will be one more family we can help. That’s one husband who will be able to get a week’s worth of hotel rooms near his wife’s hospital, a month’s worth of bedside meals for someone’s daughter, or something as simple as two to three months of gas for someone’s loved one to drive back-and-forth from their home to the hospital. This would be big for us, so I truly hope people will help us obtain this contribution from DripDrop,” said Bill.
October 23rd, marks one year since Keep Swimming Foundation went public. Since that time, 13 families from 10 different states have received grant money. By New Year’s Eve, the goal is to help a minimum of 20 families. Please join me on this mission of not only making your hydration a priority, but also helping the lives of others!