ZEELAND, Mich., — When Mike Kimber heard his cousin’s 14-year-old daughter was fighting kidney disease, he knew he wanted to do something to help.
“She’s pretty much like my niece, so we needed to do something,” Kimber told FOX 17 News.
Kimber and his wife Trista quickly teamed up and began organizing a “Benefit for Tori.” Business and other community members have also jumped on board to make the upcoming fundraiser dinner a success. The couple has even begun selling t-shirts to help Tori and her family with the mounting costs associated with fighting her condition.
Tori Freeman first learned last summer that something was wrong during a routine check-up.
“My levels of stuff were high, it was all messed up and then they checked it and it turned out to be kidney disease,” said Freeman. “I didn’t have any symptoms.”
Doctors diagnosed the teen with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSG).
“Her kidneys were spilling proteins,” explained Tammy Kiekover, Tori’s mom. “There’s no known cause, there’s no cure… It’s the most scariest thing to watch your child go through it. Just devastating. It turns your whole world upside down.”
By December, Freeman was forced to begin dialysis after her kidneys started to fail. Her condition has caused her to make some big lifestyle adjustments.
“A lot of pills in the morning and then dialysis, I have to hook up 10 hours a night at 7pm to 5am in the morning,” said Freeman. “I have a lot of restrictions to everything, I can’t do much.”
Freeman will ultimately need a kidney transplant; but even then, her condition will still need to be closely monitored.
The hospital costs, visits and other bills are putting a lot of pressure on the family. Kiekover, a single mom with two other children, says she’s not able to work at the moment because taking care of Tori is a full-time job.
“It just gets very expensive, and everything adds up very quickly,” said Kiekover.
News that the Kimbers and others in the community are rallying behind their family, means a lot to Tori and Tammy.
“For months we felt so alone and scared, didn’t know what we were going to do,” said Kiekover. “But, now there’s like light at the end of the tunnel, we see some kind of hope.”
The “Benefit for Tori” is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, 2013 from 4-7pm at Huizenga Park in Zeeland. Dinner will be served at 4pm with a raffle starting around 6pm. Plates are $5/person.
For more information on the event click here.
To order a t-shirt to support Tori, click here.
Or, if you’d like to make a donation, click here.