Family in Dire Straights

Posted by GSDispatch Editor in by Local Churches, Community


Local mother, Melissa Lewis, has experienced a lifetime of emotional trauma in the past month and somehow remains in high spirits. Melissa, who is merely 35, has the misfortune of being in the 1% of patients whose liver will not respond to treatment for Hepatitis, which was contracted unexpectedly. Without a liver transplant her case is considered terminal. When The Dispatch first spoke to her more than a week ago, there was very little hope for a transplant. Yet, she was bubbly and very optimistic over the phone, despite the odds.

Exacerbating the prognosis is the fact that her husband is currently unemployed, leaving the family without health insurance, an automobile and now, a home. The timing couldn’t be any worse for this young family. Due to the lack of insurance, she wasn’t even eligible for a liver transplant at KU Medical Center.

In the past 10 days, State Rep. Jeff Grisamore, who is well known for his passion as an advocator for constituents with disabilities, has intervened on her behalf on several fronts. He’s helped fast track paperwork which was originally expected to take more than two months to navigate through an endless maze of red-tape. He’s trying to help locate the family some shelter until they can get back on their feet.

Though inconvenient, Brent Lewis’ unemployment has been a blessing in disguise. The free time has enabled him to provide emotional support throughout the ordeal and take care of some of the maternal tasks to which Melissa is currently unable to attend. But he would accept a job offer if the opportunity were available. His most recent background was as a General Manager and sales at an auto dealership, and construction experience dating back further.

There are many miracles which have taken place lately. Melissa has been approved for Medicaid. This enabled her to be placed on the liver transplant list where she is currently number two! Her church family, Heaven’s Gate Gospel Church, has been able to help the family in many ways. Her pastor, Jim Wining, has taken over communication and publicity for the family. He’s even given them the use of one of his vehicles.

Despite the Medicaid coup, the family is in need of community support. Methods in which we can provide assistance are as follows:

1. Reliable transportation is needed to get Melissa to treatments.

2. A place to live.

3. Employment for Brent Lewis

4. Donations to the Melissa Lewis Life Fund at Bank of Lee’s Summit, F&C Bank or directly to Heaven’s Gate Gospel Church, 1221F Southeast Broadway, Lee’s Summit, Missouri 64081.

5. Thoughts and prayers.

6. Attend one of the forthcoming fundraisers.

7. Monitor The Dispatch website for updates and other needs as they arise.

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