On February 7, 2019, 44-year old Swanton resident Joe Crouse underwent heart transplant surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Normally, a six to eight-hour procedure, the operation was completed in less than three hours because the donated organ was a nearly a perfect fit for Mr. Crouse’s overall physical factors. The doctors at the world renown clinic have since given Joe a good prognosis and an excellent chance at a relatively normal life if he takes care of himself.
However, the mounting medical bills and the ongoing costs of his care going forward left Joe and his family in a very precarious financial situation. Heart transplant surgery is the second most expensive operation in the world and post-op care always involves more procedures and life-long medications.
Needless to say, when word of the Crouse family dilemma became known, help from the good people of Swanton was on its way. This time it was Kathy Yunker and members of the Faith Lutheran Church in Swanton who organized a fund-raising benefit to help Joe, his wife Michelle and their two children, son Devon and daughter Hannah.
A benefit was held in the banquet hall at the Bunker Bar on Eber Road with several other community organizations and many other individuals helping out. A spaghetti dinner was served, several raffles were held and there was auction for dozens of donated items. Joe was overwhelmed with the amount of love and support he and his family received.
“I’ve received cards and e-mails from people I’ve never even met,” he said. The compassion and generosity of people in the Swanton community gets put on display time and time again in these scenarios. It’s always amazing, but never surprising and it does your heart good. Especially if it’s your second heart.
© 2019, Bill O’Connell. All rights reserved.