Can you imagine having a child whose fondest wish for a high school graduation gift - is a heart transplant?
Coleman Candelario of Milford is 17 years old, just graduated high school, and is battling Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a form of congenital heart disease in which the left ventricle does not develop. He was diagnosed just two hours after his born, and has undergone three open heart surgeries plus other operations. As a result of one of his surgeries, Coleman also suffers from PLE, which causes painful swelling in his hands, stomach, and face.
There are a handful of children in the world with both congenital heart disease and PLE. Coleman may be the oldest survivor. Because of the rarity of his condition, Coleman needs to see specialists in Pennsylvania, as doctors in Massachusetts have not been able to provide the proper treatment. The best hope for a long term solution is a heart transplant, but that is years and many tests and trials in the future.
In addition to the pain and suffering of his condition, Coleman’s family has been financially devastated. Coleman hit his lifetime medical insurance coverage cap before he was 6 months old, and because he must undergo treatment in Pennsylvania, MassHealth cannot pay for medical expenses, so all medical, travel, and living expenses must be paid by the Candelario family.
To help raise money for the treatment costs, a GoFundMe.com page has been set up at http://www.gofundme.com/coleycandelario. As of Friday, March 21, 2014, the page had raised just over $9,700 towards its goal of $25,000.
To close the gap, RJ Sheedy of Milford TV’s Talk Show with RJ Sheedy will be hosting the Coleman Candelario “I Believe” Live Telethon on Milford Educational TV Comcast Channel 11 and Verizon Channel 40 on Sunday, May 4, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM. RJ’s co-host will be local country artist Shanna Jackman, who will also be performing in the show along many other local musicians and comedians. Limited seating in the studio will also be available for a suggested donation of $10 per seat. Every dollar raised will go directly to supporting Coleman’s care and eventual addition to the heart transplant list.
Performers scheduled to appear on the program include: Guitarist Chip Zale of Whiskey Church, vocalist Margaret Girouard, comedian Scott MacNeil, pianist Rachel MacKenzie, vocalist Arianna Lyrist, comedian Dennis Wirth, members of the Joe B Band, guitarist Cameron Knopp, comedian Shawnie Aldrich, vocalist Libby Lit, comedian Jerry Caruso, vocalist Richie Gaffin, and singer/songwriter Nancy Beaudette.
Corporate sponsorships are available beginning at the $100 level. Again, every dollar raised will go directly to supporting Coleman's care and eventual addition to the heart transplant list.
Recently, Coleman passed his driving test, obtaining his driver's license, just like any 17 year old might like to do.
"Coleman, he's just an amazing kid," his mother Kathy wrote. "You would never know anything was wrong with him, looking at him. He's a really good kid, he's just a great soul. He's helpful and he's an old soul, he's just got this common sense and peace about him."
Please join us on Milford TV on Sunday, May 4, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM on Comcast Channel 11 and Verizon Channel 40 for the Coleman Candelario “I Believe” Live Telethon.