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GiveSendGo.com Free Christian Crowdfunding Help an Artist Regain His Sight

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Campaign Created by:
Melissa Edens Newport News

$11,323 of $15,000

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UPDATE: WE STARTED A FACEBOOK PAGE TO ALLOW FOLLOWING FOR UPDATES AS WELL SINCE NOT EVERYONE SEES THE UPDATES HERE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/286867002402137/

As our family, friends, and followers know, in addition to being a father of 8 and an Air Force veteran of 20 years, Jeff Edens is a talented iconographer and artist. If you follow his Instagram you may be wondering why he went from posting on JeffEdens.arts.and.icons (links at bottom if you want to see) every day to not posting at all for a few weeks. Here is an update to why he has gone silent:

In mid-June Jeff contracted a double eye infection (Pseudomonas) that left him blind. In the following week, he went to 5 doctor appointments in a desperate effort to save his sight. The first 48 hours were spent giving him antibiotic eye drops every 15 minutes - the doctor said we were in a race for time to keep his eyes from “melting.” Now three weeks later, he still has to use antibiotic eye drops every three hours to try to kill the infection before we can move into a phase of healing.

To say that this is a challenging and devastating blow for an artist with 8 kids is an understatement. And though he has kept his sense of humor, and we have been blessed by our amazing church family, we are starting to get a picture of some of the vision-impaired assistance devices he’ll need, the cost of medications, and - depending on how his eyes heal going forward - double cornea transplants. The doctor says his prognosis is good, and that with the transplants he may regain as much as 95% of his vision in another six months.

That is 6-months of adjusting to a life without his sight; it is also 6-months in which he needs extra help getting around, and where the family’s income-earning opportunities are reduced as a result.

We hesitated to do a fundraiser before now because we had no idea of what we would need going forward. We kept up with bills and other family needs using savings and being careful with our income. After adding car repairs to the list of immediate needs that really could not wait, we have at last depleted our savings. We are working now to rebuild our reserve funds to get Jeff tools and software that will allow him some return of autonomy, and to make sure we have what we need when the time for surgery comes.

A great big THANK YOU goes to our family and friends for the help, love and support you have given us in the last few weeks. As we move forward, here are ways we could use help with the next phase:

> Pray for us, that we will weather this life challenge with grace and good humor,
> help us raise the funds needed through a donation to this fundraiser link,
> share the link with veterans and art lovers in your social circles for a broader reach


----------------

TL;DR: You read the warning labels on the insert in the contact lens solution box but never think it will happen to you. On June 17, Jeff Edens, iconographer and artist, woke up to expect a normal day; by evening he was blind. With two cornea transplants the doctor feels like he could regain as much as 95% of his sight in another 6 months. In the meantime, he, his wife, and 8 children are learning to adjust to and navigate in a different world. The medical bills and tools needed to help him navigate the world more independently add more to their financial burden  than they are able to do with the loss of income for Jeff, and reduced income for Mel. As we move forward, here are ways we could use help:

> Pray for us, that we will weather this life challenge with grace and good humor,
> help us raise the funds needed through a donation to this fundraiser link,
> share the link with veterans and art lovers in your social circles for a broader reach

Thanks for being part of our community and blessing us with your prayers and your help,
Jeff, Melissa, and the kids
https://www.instagram.com/jeffedens.arts.and.icons/
https://www.facebook.com/jeff.edens.3
https://www.facebook.com/melissa.edens.509/

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The Walkers

2020-07-13 07:04:44

Love

Julie & Chuck

2020-07-13 11:32:37

Praying!!!

Zigrangs

2020-07-13 11:43:37

Praying for a complete recovery.

Anonymous

2020-07-13 18:19:32

Thinking about you all & praying for a full recovery. Hugs, Michael & Dana

Yana Lowry

2020-07-13 19:38:58

Will be praying for healing and quick recovery post-transplant, and strength in adjustment until then.

Molly

2020-07-13 22:55:46

I’m praying for you Jeff, Melissa, and family. ❤️

Anonymous

2020-07-13 23:12:33

May God grant you healing and a full recovery...

Carmen

2020-07-14 00:31:47

Praying for healing and strength for you and your family!

Melissa and Gordon Miller

2020-07-14 02:06:02

Our prayers for continued strength, healing, and endless love and laughter.

Ronbo

2020-07-14 06:35:18

Jeffrey - you were a guardian and care taker of my now FIVE adult children when you were a teenager at Ft Meade... you followed in the footsteps of many you admired and looked up to as true leaders and just damn good people and found your calling through the USAF - achieving promotion to the top-2% of all enlisted troops - a promotion that requires the same level of congressional scrutiny as an O-6. I know you are an incredibly strong believer in God - and that you KNOW God will help you through this no matter the outcome... Because of all of the above and so much more - I personally know - that this will not keep you down - it will only make you stronger... Keep the faith - God Speed - and please reach out - let me know if there is anything I can do to help you and the family....

Nancy Schmidt

2020-07-14 19:03:56

Lots of prayers being sent your way. You are such an amazing person and such an inspiration. ❤️

Anonymous

2020-07-15 13:00:22

We pray for healing for Jeff and many blessings for your family! Love, Jeff and Laurie

Steph Barrell

2020-07-15 14:24:34

We're praying for your family!

Anonymous

2020-07-15 16:24:33

We are praying for you all.

J&A H

2020-07-15 17:29:33

Praying with you for a quick & complete recovery.

Heidi Hovan

2020-07-16 14:10:26

We love y'all!! Lord, have mercy on our brother Jeff!

Duane

2020-07-16 20:04:57

Love you guys and praying for a good recovery.

Jim & Jodie Prahl

2020-07-16 21:49:52

Prayers for you and your family.

Nan and Brew

2020-07-16 23:57:53

God will always have the last word or touch on healing...you are healed in His Name. Amen

autumn and bryan

2020-07-17 02:54:41

Love and prayers. Our God is so far reaching and always good in his mysterious ways. His blessing over you and your family. May he multiply every dollar given into a spiritual blessing beyond imagination.

Anonymous

2020-07-18 03:40:02

Praying for you.

Hana and Merfake

2020-07-18 14:44:34

We’re Praying for you the hope of God leads you to better days to come !!! 🙏

The Magee Family

2020-07-18 14:56:41

You are in our prayers and thoughts.

Susan Fullerton

2020-07-18 18:50:23

Your attitude is amazing Jeff! Praying for complete healing of your eyes.

Jeff and Laura Jackson

2020-07-18 18:52:03

We’re praying for you and love you bunches. 😘

Amber and Juan Cerda

2020-07-20 05:18:24

We are lifting Jeff and the family up in our prayers. We are asking for healing, for every need to be met, and for you all to be surrounded with love and light during this trial.

The Purdies

2020-07-21 12:50:56

Love and continued prayers.

Derek H Bowman

2020-07-23 20:25:44

I pray that you can raise the money you need! I look forward what God is going to do through Jeff's faith through all he is going through.

Pete and Dianne Sun

2020-07-24 00:45:18

We are keeping you in our prayers.

anonymous donor

2020-07-27 14:50:21

anonymous donor

Konstantine & Rebecca Pietronuto

2020-07-27 23:38:41

Jeff, You are in our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery!

Steve Wilson

2020-07-28 04:49:50

Melissa, I’m thinking of your entire family. And praying!

Ysidora

2020-07-28 07:10:29

May this token help bring relief and carry my love to you and prayers to Heaven on your behalf. I love and miss you all. +++

Butts Family

2020-07-28 14:36:18

Sending love and prayers!

Planinka and John

2020-07-30 17:38:56

Praying for you to get better soon!

Sheila and Lenair

2020-08-01 19:19:50

Love you cousin!

Update #5
August 7, 2020, 4:04 am
facebook twitter

After getting the Pirate (eye) patch, we discovered in the wee hours of the morning that Jeff is allergic to the surgical tape glue they used to hold the patch on. Poor guy looked like I had hit him with a hot iron!  So we were given the go-ahead to ditch the patch, and start both eyes on steroids.

We'll return to "see" Doc Benson in mid-August for a progress check. 

In the meantime, we have gone to Michael's to get some things to try his hand at some artistic pursuits that are new to him - modeling clay and such. Those will be a little while before they get used. He has been pouring into learning Braille. 

You'll see a picture of Jeff and the baby sleeping - I thought it was very sweet that the baby snuggled up so close to him while he was resting after some hard study time. 

You can see some of the new Braille tools we have in the pictures, including the super-handy printed instructions for how to use the Braille Label maker!

I took Jeff for a brief overnight trip to Pittsburgh to pick up icons another artist was commissioned to make for our church. While we were there, he showed me a great breakfast place that he has been talking about for a couple of years now. The baby enjoyed spending time walking at the outdoor table with us!

We had a handicap-accessible hôtel room. That was certainly a different experience seeing the amenities they try to provide. As we walked from the parking areas to the hotel room, breakfast place, etc, it was equally interesting to see ways in which visually impaired folk are barely given a second thought for accommodation and safety- and to begin to understand more of what works, and what doesn't., 

Some have asked if any of his sight has returned, and he says perhaps 5-10%, where he still cannot make anything out per se, In the pics with his nose pressed against the screen of his cell phone, you can get an idea of what he can do - getting that close allowed him to see that there was a blown-up picture of himself with his label maker.  

How much more might we get? I don't know. But we were reading aloud from a book about the life and teaching of St. Seraphim Off Sarov, in which the blessed Saint healed people thought to be irreparable. In the meantime, we're taking it one day at a time. 

Update #4 - Keeping Socks Matched, Braille Tools, & Paperwork Challenges!
July 27, 2020, 11:30 pm
facebook twitter

Jeff and I drove to Pittsburgh this weekend to pick up some icons to bring back to the church. It was a trip originally planned to take place last March, but then the world stopped for Covid. Then the world was shaken again when this whole eye infection started.

Last week we got in some new things to help organize the kitchen in a way that he can begin to navigate in there more confidently. We eagerly were waiting for his new Braille things to arrive. And thinking of ways he might be able to continue working on things like the gold leaf at the church.

In the meantime, we were also in touch with his VA doctors and case manager, who advised us to apply for the VA Caregiver Stipemd, Social Security Disability, and increasing his VA disability rating since this is not going away any time soon (we're looking at sometime early next year.)

In looking over the mail from the weekend, we have been denied the Caregiver Stipend for the amount of time I need to be around to help him - their comment was that he should get into a blind rehab program (thanks, VA ). The SS office and VA disability will require more information - they are unsure of his blind status maybe? The paperwork and legwork for those will take up much of the next two weeks, I expect.

In the meantime, his new Braille goodies arrived today - including a way to keep socks matched! Who knew there was a solution to that out there all along?? So we spent the afternoon learning the alphabet (he feels like he about has that down already!), exploring abbreviations, and trying out his new reader pen. When you have 2500 books in the house, not having a way to read them is a real kick in the shins!

We are busy doing all that needs doing but really excited at what we're doing to move forward in a stronger position, and are so glad to get your messages and letters. He can respond verbally to texts now too if you are of a mind to send one! Check out the FB update on his page to see pictures of some of what we did today.
more to come ​​​​​

- Melissa

One week on the new drops
July 23, 2020, 7:38 pm
facebook twitter

Jeff's energy is coming back some now that he's come to the end of the antibiotic eyedrops and is now working with the steroid drops. With the help of our older sons, he has found ways to get back into the gym for some weightlifting, and has been able to go out with Melissa on excursions to the grocery store or on short walks. He feels like he can say he has about 10% of his vision back - but that does not mean as much as it might sound. At the periphery of his vision, he can see shapes, patterns, and colors. But nothing concrete, and still only light and dark colors directly in front of him. All the same, this is an improvement to work with so we are running with it. 

In the meantime, we're eagerly awaiting new materials to learn to read braille, and tools to help him better function in the world more independently. We have also begun working on getting tools in place to navigate the house more safely. You never think about little things like how well something is organized, or having handrails on the front steps as being so important until you need to use them to navigate the world without sight. He still has increased sensitivity with all of his other senses - what they say is true: Lose one of your senses and all the others become much more sensitive. It is like sending the brain into high alert all the time. On the plus side, good food tastes even better than it normally would. 

We have begun talking to Jeff's doctors with the VA and syncing up his increased medical needs with the care he receives from them, and are waiting out the next three weeks in anticipation of whatever changes will come next. We'll update again when the new Braille box arrives! 

Thank you all again for your continuing love and support. We would not be able to get many of the braille supplies, and safety tools that he needs without you all. 

~ Melissa

Phase two... and finding an unexpected allergy
July 20, 2020, 4:06 am
facebook twitter

Last Tuesday we saw Dr. Benson and Jeff was put in a patch until Friday "at noon!" Thursday morning though, Jeff needed to take off the surgical tape because it felt like his skin was being burned.

As we took it off, I could see where he had gotten a chemical burn from the glue in the tape - in fact, it looked like someone had taken a hot iron and held it to his face! 

Back to Richmond with us so the doc could look at his eye and decide if we needed a replacement patch or if we could move on to steroids in that eye too. The doctor and hung this assistant both looked and said he is cleared to do the steroid drops! No more antibiotics woohoo! 

I finally got some answers (sort of) to some FAQs too - so, we do the steroids for a month, and continuing on until the whites of his eyes are white in their own. Once that happens, he'll be added to a surgery/transplant list. - as of right now, because of the shelter in place stuff, they are scheduling operations into Next October. That means we are looking at December at the earliest but more likely January-> April sometime. As to cost... the doctor is not the one to call for those answers, so I'll be calling the insurance company tomorrow as well as a lawyer about the contact lens solution. 

in the meantime he feels like he can see about 10% of what is around him because of regained vision. We'll continue to anoint him with the holy oil, and build strength up with a good diet, and his increasing ability to get back in the gym or take walks again. we are so glad for small steps forward.

Moving on from antibiotics and going Pirate
July 15, 2020, 2:07 pm
facebook twitter

Saw the doctor yesterday. He is pleased with Jeff's progress, but one eye is doing better than the other. They put him in an eye patch. We'd like to know: couldn't they at least spring for a cool leather pirate patch?? Or maybe offer them as something we could purchase? 🤨 

Anyway, it comes off Friday, and we begin drops in that eye too. The other eye will get steroid drops all this week. 

As to whether his vision is coming back "at all"? That is a relative term - so in terms of "at all", strictly speaking yes. It has returned enough in his peripheral vision to see that the kids have their feet on the furniture or have left toys on the floor - but not enough to see the details of *what* the toys are. Enough to remind the kids that Blind Pop can still call them to task though! 😂 

We will not have any kind of timeline for corneal transplant surgery until at least six weeks or so, because we are waiting for the whites of his eyes to be white again. In the meantime, he is easing back into his gym workouts with the Big Boys helping, and keeping a super healthy diet so he is as strong as we can make him, inside and out. 

Pirate pic will be on my FB timeline. I don't see a way to post it here...

Read Latest Update

Campaign Created by:
Melissa Edens Newport News

$11,323 of $15,000

75.486666666667% Complete
0% Complete
75 % Complete 70 donation(s)
Give Now
19

Recent Donations

$ 100

Anonymous Donor

5 hrs ago


$ 500

Anonymous Donor

1 days ago


$ 543

Anonymous Donor

4 days ago


$ 200

Sheila and Lenair

5 days ago

Love you cousin!

$ 600

Anonymous Donor

5 days ago


$ 100

Planinka and John

7 days ago

Praying for you to get better soon!

$ 150

Anonymous Donor

8 days ago


$ 150

Anonymous Donor

9 days ago


$ 50

Butts Family

9 days ago

Sending love and prayers!

$ 450

Ysidora

10 days ago

May this token help bring relief and carry my love to you and prayers to Heaven on your behalf. I love and miss you all. +++

$ 50

Steve Wilson

10 days ago

Melissa, I’m thinking of your entire family. And praying!

$ 40

Konstantine & Rebecca Pietronuto

10 days ago

Jeff, You are in our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery!

$ 400

anonymous donor

10 days ago

anonymous donor

$ 20

Anonymous Donor

10 days ago


$ 50

Pete and Dianne Sun

14 days ago

We are keeping you in our prayers.

$ 100

Derek H Bowman

14 days ago

I pray that you can raise the money you need! I look forward what God is going to do through Jeff's faith through all he is going through.

$ 100

Anonymous Donor

15 days ago


$ 500

Anonymous Donor

16 days ago


$ 100

The Purdies

16 days ago

Love and continued prayers.

$ 25

Terry Mixer

17 days ago


$ 100

Amber and Juan Cerda

18 days ago

We are lifting Jeff and the family up in our prayers. We are asking for healing, for every need to be met, and for you all to be surrounded with love and light during this trial.

$ 200

Jeff and Laura Jackson

19 days ago

We’re praying for you and love you bunches. 😘

$ 50

Susan Fullerton

19 days ago

Your attitude is amazing Jeff! Praying for complete healing of your eyes.

$ 50

Anonymous Donor

19 days ago


$ 100

The Magee Family

19 days ago

You are in our prayers and thoughts.

$ 100

Hana and Merfake

19 days ago

We’re Praying for you the hope of God leads you to better days to come !!! 🙏

$ 25

Anonymous Donor

20 days ago

Praying for you.

$ 100

autumn and bryan

21 days ago

Love and prayers. Our God is so far reaching and always good in his mysterious ways. His blessing over you and your family. May he multiply every dollar given into a spiritual blessing beyond imagination.

$ 20

Nan and Brew

21 days ago

God will always have the last word or touch on healing...you are healed in His Name. Amen

$ 200

Jim & Jodie Prahl

21 days ago

Prayers for you and your family.

$ 50

Duane

21 days ago

Love you guys and praying for a good recovery.

$ 100

Tyrney

21 days ago


$ 72

Heidi Hovan

21 days ago

We love y'all!! Lord, have mercy on our brother Jeff!

$ 50

Anonymous Donor

21 days ago


$ 20

Shawna Poliquin

22 days ago


$ 30

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago


$ 100

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago


$ 25

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago


$ 20

Britney G.

22 days ago


$ 100

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago


$ 10

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago


$ 100

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago


$ 1000

J&A H

22 days ago

Praying with you for a quick & complete recovery.

$ 23

Chris Davis

22 days ago


$ 150

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago

We are praying for you all.

$ 10

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago


$ 300

Krueger Family

22 days ago


$ 50

Steph Barrell

22 days ago

We're praying for your family!

$ 250

Anonymous Donor

22 days ago

We pray for healing for Jeff and many blessings for your family! Love, Jeff and Laurie

$ 100

Nancy Schmidt

23 days ago

Lots of prayers being sent your way. You are such an amazing person and such an inspiration. ❤️

$ 100

Anonymous Donor

23 days ago


$ 200

Joyner’s

23 days ago


$ 20

Anonymous Donor

23 days ago


$ 100

Greg Henniges

24 days ago


$ 100

Ronbo

24 days ago

Jeffrey - you were a guardian and care taker of my now FIVE adult children when you were a teenager at Ft Meade... you followed in the footsteps of many you admired and looked up to as true leaders and just damn good people and found your calling through the USAF - achieving promotion to the top-2% of all enlisted troops - a promotion that requires the same level of congressional scrutiny as an O-6. I know you are an incredibly strong believer in God - and that you KNOW God will help you through this no matter the outcome... Because of all of the above and so much more - I personally know - that this will not keep you down - it will only make you stronger... Keep the faith - God Speed - and please reach out - let me know if there is anything I can do to help you and the family....

$ 50

Melissa and Gordon Miller

24 days ago

Our prayers for continued strength, healing, and endless love and laughter.

$ 140

Anonymous Donor

24 days ago


$ 100

Carmen

24 days ago

Praying for healing and strength for you and your family!

$ 100

Brian, Alix, Brighton and Maddox

24 days ago


$ 500

Anonymous Donor

24 days ago

May God grant you healing and a full recovery...

$ 200

Molly

24 days ago

I’m praying for you Jeff, Melissa, and family. ❤️

$ 100

Yana Lowry

24 days ago

Will be praying for healing and quick recovery post-transplant, and strength in adjustment until then.

$ 250

Anonymous

24 days ago

Thinking about you all & praying for a full recovery. Hugs, Michael & Dana

$ 100

Marina

24 days ago


$ 200

Mike and Dawn

24 days ago


$ 20

Zigrangs

24 days ago

Praying for a complete recovery.

$ 1000

Anonymous Donor

24 days ago


$ 100

Julie & Chuck

24 days ago

Praying!!!

$ 10

Lauren S.

24 days ago


$ 200

The Walkers

25 days ago

Love
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