How to help Gladstone man with rare, incurable disease
AFTER almost dying in a car accident 13 years ago, a Gladstone resident is still paying the price with a medical bill worth more than $100,000.
Michael Burrows was diagnosed with lymphedema, a rare and incurable disease after his right leg was broken in a car crash.
The disease causes swelling in his leg and makes him extremely susceptible to infection.
Despite suffering the condition, Mr Burrows is not eligible for government funding, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme, or private health assistance.
"At the moment I can't get any government funding because there isn't any subsidies to go towards surgery for diseases that are rare and incurable," hesaid.
Mr Burrows said he was also not eligible for the NDIS due to his full-time employment as a marina mechanic at Ship and Sail.
He needs the money for a lymph node transfer, an experimental surgery that will help slow the progression of the disease.
As the surgery is deemed "experimental", Mr Burrows is not covered by Medicare or private health insurance, and faces out-of-pocket expenses of about $100,000.
He will also need to cover his living costs, as he will be unable to work for four weeks post-surgery.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover Mr Burrows' surgery, treatment and general living costs.
"The GoFundMe means I can get some support as there isn't any," he said.
"Without money, you are buggered."
In three days, more than $3000 has been raised from friends and family.
Additionally, Mr Burrows' friends and family have started fundraising throughout the community.
"We've started doing raffles around the community to help bring in money and through friends' businesses around town," he said.
Mr Burrows said he hoped the GoFundMe initiative would allow him to meet more people who have lymphedema or doctors who might be able to help.
"I hope to spread the word about the disease … most people don't know you have it unless you tell them," he said.
To support Mr Burrows, go to gofundme.com/f/e29kh-help-me-live-a-better-life