A Heart for Chris

A Heart for Chris

Money Raised as of December 2020: $1,020

Hi, I’m Jennifer Balletto, owner of Create It!
Some of you may not know I was born with a congenital heart condition. Growing up I was fortunate enough to meet another child in third grade, Christopher Bowers who also had a heart condition. He and I both had petite frames and purple lips (due to lack of oxygen). Growing up together and having someone to understand the same experiences I was facing was a comfort and a start of a very long friendship. Through our teenage years we both had a few open heart surgeries. It was Chris who taught me to be proud of my heart scar and to wear it like a badge of honor. From third grade to present day, we have still been friends and keep in touch.

Now my long-time friend is facing a transplant of both heart and liver. In his 45 years, Christopher has squeezed every beat of life outta his congenitally-fragile heart. He’s living with congestive heart failure and a liver compromised by the many treatments.

Chris is a musician and father of a two-year-old son. After high school he worked with Positive Images, an LGBTIQ group for youth, as a straight ally and speaker. He went on to challenge his white privilege in an anti-racism group, become a social worker and advocate for homeless people in Sonoma County, California.

To help Christopher and his family I have offered to sell ‘A Heart for Chris’ Ornament. The ornament is $35 and comes with a pottery heart ornament, paints and a brush. $30 of every sell will go directly to Chris and his family!

Why this fundraiser is important:
While Christopher has decent insurance, there are hefty copays for both hospital stays, testing, the transplant itself and a lifetime of continuing high volume medications (some of which are specialty medications with high copays or no coverage). Christopher’s family has been warned that they can expect to hit the maximum out of pocket expenses for both medications and treatment which will amount to thousands of dollars. As well, there are many expenses simply not covered by insurance. Christopher and his family will be required to live near the hospital for three months post-transplant, after he is released from the hospital. Stanford is in Palo Alto, one of the highest rental markets in the country. During this time, the family will be paying double rent in order to live near the hospital and keep their current housing in Sonoma County. Lastly, there are also travel-related expenses, lost wages, possible professional physical therapy and caretaking, and other unanticipated expenses.