Father needs costly treatments; insurance denies coverage

Posted at 6:45 PM, Dec 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-30 18:49:13-05

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. -- David Kwekel suffers from a crippling condition known as small fiber sensory neuropathy. A family friend started a gofundme page to help the father of three pay for medical expenses.

Kwekel, 34, is a husband, a father, and a fighter. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013.

"We knew the life expectancy. That it would be 5 years or less that I would live," Kwekel said.

The man of faith said he found peace knowing his family would be taken care of if he died. However, with his wife by his side the entire time, the then-33-year-old battled. He had part of his pancreas removed.

"They did the surgery, and we're very blessed that it was contained to the pancreas," he explained.

Immunization shots followed, and so he's been cancer-free for one year now. But for one year, Kwekel has suffered from small fiber sensory neuropathy. He believes the nerve disorder may be a complication of the cancer treatment.

"It all happened within 5 hours after the immunizations shots that I got," he said.

"So it could have been the immunizations that caused it. It could have been the immunizations that reacted with the tumor, and it gave off a chemical hormone in my body which caused it," Kwekel explained.

It has crippled a man who's used to working 70-80 hours a week to feed his family. He shakes, becomes easily fatigued and feels pain all over his body.

The simple joys we take for granted are now difficult for Kwekel.

He said he traveled to see doctors in Chicago and specialists in other states. A few months ago, he learned he needed a series of treatments called IVIG.

"It can either cure it, could stop it, or it can set my symptoms back to where I can at least function," Kwekel said.

It's expensive. He turned to his insurance carrier Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"And then it was denied," he said.

In the denial letter, Blue Cross calls the procedure "investigational." He's appealed twice and plans to appeal a third time.

A family friend reached out to FOX 17 about the issue. At $20,000 per treatment, a total of $300,000 is reportedly needed.

A friend started a "go fund me" page for Kwekel, and it's already gaining support.

"I've never been the type to ask for anything. I always figured that I could do it myself," he said.

Kwekel added, "I've' learned really quick that you can't do everything yourself and you got to depend on other people and god and pray about it. You know people just came out of the woodwork. Which is a real blessing to us."