Jenny Ward is my wife and best friend in the world, my partner-parent to our four children, and an all-around beautiful human. She’s in a battle for her health and well-being, and we could use your help.
For over a decade, Jenny has suffered from an autoimmune disease called Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder. It’s been in remission for several years, but became active and harmful again in late 2019. This time, it weakened her lungs, eventually leading to the development of severe Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), which has progessively weakened her respiratory system.
In early March, Jenny was hospitalized for nine days while doctors inserted a Hickman catheter from her upper torso straight to her heart. That catheter was then connected to an external infusion pump, which supplied her with a constant dose of the drug Remodulin. We got her home on March 17, but in the middle of the night she developed symptoms of a septic infection and was rushed back to the hospital. By the end of the night, she underwent surgery to connect her to an ECMO machine, which saved her life.
Since then, she's been in critical but stable condition in a cardiothoracic ICU, fully reliant on ECMO and intubation to keep her blood oxygenated and circulating properly. Her heart will recover almost fully from the septic trauma, but her lungs will not, which means that she will eventually need a lung transplant.
UPDATE (4/9/21): Jenny is home! A happy and tearful reunion with the kids and a good night's sleep were welcome gifts after nearly a month of hospitalization. She'll be on an antibiotic for about a month and we have oxygen at the ready when needed, but she's really come around from all that she's been through. A long road to recovery, but at least we're all together again.
Jenny and I have been married for 20 years and have raised four children (18/17/15/11), all of whom are still at home with us. We’ve lived in four states in the last eight years as I've completed a Masters degree, and found and lost full-time work twice. I am now self-employed (hence, Tony Ward Arts!) and am fighting to build this business and replace the income I've lost since COVID. Jenny has been a day care teacher— an outstanding one, in fact— since our college days, and currently works for a wonderful church-run center in a nearby suburb.
Jenny will, of course, not be able to work for several weeks, which means we've lost her income stream for the time being. We've been blessed tremendously by family and friends, but we have a financial struggle ahead of us as bills begin to come our way... and when the day comes for the transplant, we will face a major problem as to weathering those medical expenses.
Your prayer and good will for Jenny and our family mean the world to us! We’ve heard from or about thousands of people, from our closest friends and family to complete strangers in church commmunites around the world, who have lifted us up in their hearts and minds... we're people of faith and this support has been essential for our spirits. We know that your prayers and love have been huge motivators for Jenny too!
Our dear friends, Joan and Christian Cosas, set up a Meal Train for us. Meal Train is a fantastic service which helps connect, organize, streamline, and manage contributions of money and meals for families like ours in crisis. If you'd like to contribute a meal or other donation, please visit https://mealtrain.com/e5goqo. And if you know of a family in crisis, consider setting a Meal Train up for them!
We're also accepting donations through PayPal at email@example.com, and Venmo at Tony-Ward-Arts. Every penny you donate helps us pay rent, bills, and life expenses, and we promise to be faithful stewards of your generosity.
There are so many people to thank for their love and support through all this. Please know that Jenny and I love you all and are incredibly grateful and humbled by your care.