• Erie Co. Blotter.

Local Firefighter Needs YOUR Help.

North Tonawanda volunteer firefighter Richard Reeves is in a fight for his life. The 25 year veteran has a rare blood disorder called Acquired Hemophilia A Fact...or 8 Inhibitor and medical bills are starting to add up. Plus, Reeves isn't sure if he'll ever be able to return to work to support his family.

Here's a link to a GoFundMe page where friends are gathering donations:

Here is His Story via GoFundMe:

Richard is a volunteer firefighter in North Tonawanda, New York with over twenty five years of service and currently holds the position of Captain. In March of this year (2017) Richard noticed blood in his urine and was admitted to the hospital for tests and an exploratory scope of his kidney. After the exploratory scope of the kidney the bleeding intensified and he began suffering severe abdominal pains. Doctors removed Richard’s kidney and the pathology report showed the kidney had died. At this time doctors had not diagnosed a blood disorder but were running extensive tests to determine what caused the kidney to fail. Fortunately the kidney was removed before sepsis set in. After the removal of his kidney he experienced profuse bleeding from several different locations inside his abdomen that prompted four additional surgeries, confinement to the ICU, and a medically induced coma. While in the ICU and in the presence of a physician something ruptured inside his abdomen. The physician opened up his abdomen, stuck her hand inside of him and held pressure on the ruptured area until they could get him into the operating room. Test results became available around this time revealing the blood disorder. Richard spent almost five weeks in the hospital from the time of his initial surgery, has received seventy six units of blood, platelets and plasma to date. Richard’s doctors have been treating him aggressively with different medications but progress has been minimal and it remains uncertain at this time if they will be able to get this to a manageable level. Richard was allowed to go home on April 22, 2017 but was in a weak and fragile state (50lb. weight loss), unable to sit or stand on his own. Richard began bleeding again on April 29, 2017 and was readmitted into the hospital where he remained until being discharged on May 3, 2017. Richard faces an uncertain future. Unfortunately there does not appear to be a cure for this disorder and medical community only addresses constant and continued monitoring of the situation with attempts to control and maintain the blood chemistry. Prognosis for this blood disorder is problematic and will require constant doctor visits and possible hospitalization. It is unknown at this time if Richard will recover to a point where he will be able to return to work. To learn more about the blood disorder effecting Richard please visit: Richard has a wife and three children. His daughter will be graduating with her Masters Teaching Degree this week but unfortunately it appears Richard will not have the strength to attend her graduation. The older of his two sons is an EMT and drives an ambulance. The younger son is scheduled to begin his EMT training in September this year. Richard has five years serving as an advisor to the fire explorers post educating youth about volunteer and paid careers in emergency services / firefighting. Richard’s wife and youngest son have taken a leave of absence from their employment to care for and assist Richard. All three of Richard’s children are members of the volunteer fire department were their father serves as captain. In addition to serving the volunteer fire department for over twenty five years, Richard has volunteered his services as an electrician for thirty three years to the city’s annual Canal Fest. Canal Fest is a week-long event in the month of July where non-profit organizations within the city can set up concession booths to raise money for their individual cause. Richard installs individual power panels for the nonprofit organizations to the city’s power supply at the beginning of the event, remains on call throughout the event to repair any malfunctions, removes and stores the power panels at the conclusion of the event. Richard is very upset he will be unable to continue to provide his services. Richard has health insurance through his employer but the coverage does not have a maximum out of pocket expense whereas he would reach a dollar amount and the insurance would pay 100%. His insurance has continuous unending co-pays. The seven treatments of factor 8 he has received are thirty-two thousand dollars each and four other treatments of another medication is twenty-two thousand dollars each. At this time Richard’s wife does not know how much their health insurance will pay and what their copay will be. This does not take anything into account for the five surgeries he has had or the lengthy hospital stay and ICU confinement. Richard’s wife has been in contact with the insurance company and it is estimated at the time of this posting they will have at least $45,000.00 in out of pocket medical expenses. Richard is presently receiving New York State short term care benefits totaling $160.00 per week. Richard’s monthly expenses average $3,000.00 per month to include; mortgage payment, car payment, insurances, utilities, groceries, and other common household expenses. There is approximately $60,000.00 left to pay off the mortgage on his home. I recently learned Richard’s wife had been manually lighting the gas furnace (very dangerous) in the residence (unknown to Richard) starting in the month of March. Apparently the HVAC system is non-repairable condition due to the systems age and unavailability of parts. Donations will help cover medical expenses and normal customary monthly living expenses, retire the home mortgage, pay off his vehicle and replace the outdated HVAC system in the residence. Richard has dedicated many years of his life to serving others through his service to his church, the volunteer fire department and a multitude of non-profit organizations in the city. Please join me and his brother firefighters in his time of need by lessening the financial burdens on him and his family. Donating blood to your local blood bank is another way we can all help. If it were not for blood donors, the 76 units of blood, platelets and plasma used to sustain Richard's life would not have been possible. Thank you in advance for your generosity and support.

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