RICKEY SIMMONS is a retired Marine who lives with his wife, Stacy, and their 8 year old son. He was physically active his entire life and enjoys the outdoors and spending quality time with his family. In 2017, RICKEY started having severe headaches that sent him to the hospital. A CT scan showed a shadow on the brainstem. In early 2019, RICKEY started having difficulty with fine motor skills and speech. He was seen by Duke Hospital in North Carolina, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and numerous neurologists in Charlotte where he lives. MRIs showed a lesion on his brainstem. Heavy doses of steroids were administered to no effect. Meanwhile, RICKEY’s bodily functions declined on a daily basis. Doctors could not diagnose him without doing a biopsy but would not risk operating on his brainstem. Meanwhile, a shunt has been placed in RICKEY’s skull to drain a constant buildup of fluid on his brain. Since emplacement of the shunt six months ago, RICKEY’s decline has accelerated. He can no longer walk or stand and is wheelchair bound. He has lost his ability to speak and cannot communicate beyond “yes” or “no” that he conveys through hand squeezes. He lost control of his eye focus and can no longer read or watch TV . His ability to swallow is almost gone resulting in the recent insertion of a feeding tube. RICKEY’s intellectual capacity remains unchanged, and he is completely aware of what is happening to him and his family. In September 2021, a neurosurgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Florida offered to do a biopsy since RICKEY’s quality of life had deteriorated so much that surgery was worth the risk. Unfortunately, results came back inconclusive, and there are no treatment options moving forward. This is RICKEY’s life now. Stacy is still working with the VA to increase RICKEY’s disability rating, and resources from the VA will not increase unless RICKEY’s rating changes. This is where we all come in. If this is his life going forward, let’s help make it as comfortable as possible for him and his family. RICKEY and his family will need to make the house handicap accessible. They will need specialized equipment, such as a speech machine, so RICKEY can be an active participant in his young son’s life. Thank you for your care and generosity.