Halifax man with heart disease needs help to avoid impossible decision

HALIFAX, Pa. -- Jeremiah Adams rarely leaves his Halifax, Dauphin County home. He cannot.

Summers are the most difficult, with its hot, thick air and humidity. When Jeremiah steps outside, he can't breathe. When all his daughters want to do is run around and play tag, he's forced to sit down.

"Just walking around the park makes me winded," he says.

Jeremiah's heart and lungs have been slowly dying for the last 10 years. In 2006, he says he was living an "active lifestyle", going to the gym three times a week and participating in normal life events, when doctors discovered blood clots.

"I woke up out of breath, and went to the doctor to have x-rays done," Jeremiah remembers. "(The doctor) sent me to the (emergency room) and next thing I know, I was in intensive care."

He has survived the last decade thanks to a daily dose of the blood thinning medication Coumadin, but the 31-year-old Dauphin County native and father of three young girls is largely home-bound.

In January, doctors diagnosed Jeremiah with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, more commonly known as CTEPH. Over the years, it's gone unnoticed, and has led to multiple other conditions, including a case of sleep apnea, and deep vein thrombosis, which essentially causes blood clots in his legs. Doctors have told him surgery is his only cure, but in order to get the best possible treatment, he would need to see doctors at the University of California in San Diego Medical Center.

Jeremiah says doctors told him without the surgery, he has anywhere from 1-to-3 years left to live. For the best chances at a full recovery, surgery needs performed in the next six months.

"My girls are scared and they ask a lot of questions because daddy goes to the doctor and awful lot," Jeremiah says. "You can't live without your lungs and only a quarter of my lungs are working as they should be."

Surgery, one would think, is an easy decision. Except, there is an incredibly unfair dilemma facing Jeremiah and his family: If they cannot raise enough money, medical costs could run more than what it would take to raise a family.

Jeremiah estimates his insurance will only cover part of the surgery, which does not include costs to travel to San Diego and to stay there for potentially months of post-surgery care. All the meanwhile, the Adams expect to lose months of income from not working, which would impact childcare needs for their three daughters, food, and paying the rent for their home.

Jeremiah, his wife Jennifer, and other family members have started a GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising money for the surgery and other necessary costs. They hope to raise $10,000. If they do not, the choice is an impossible one: Have the surgery to potentially save Jeremiah's life at the risk of his family's well-being, or avoid the surgery and possibly die within the next three years.

"It's not really an option for me: My kids and my family come first," he says. "But it would be hard to put them through everything that's going to happen over the next few years without this surgery happening."

Jeremiah says his wife, Jennifer, would have it the other way around, but he says he couldn't take away the home, or his daughter's well-being, which could come as a result of the surgery.

If you would like to donate to Jeremiah Adams' GoFundMe page, visit at this link: https://www.gofundme.com/2e9l7gc.