Speaking by phone this week from UCLA Medical Center, Aaron’s mother Elizabeth said she remains hopeful and grateful: “Aaron is stable at the moment and he should be (donor) listed this week. Once that happens, doctors have told us that honestly it could be four to six months before a size and blood match become available, but we’re hoping for sooner rather than later.”
Aaron and Elizabeth arrived at UCLA two weeks ago from UCSF, where they had been living since June. The move was a prerequisite for final approval from the UCLA surgeon who will perform the risky surgery, and from the insurance carrier covering Aaron’s procedure.
This week, the green light was given for both, and while insurance won’t cover all of the estimated $2 to $3 million surgery, it will defray a substantial portion.
“We’ve been approved (by the insurance carrier) and that’s great news,” said Elizabeth. “So now we’re just waiting. Aaron still does his kidney dialysis every other day for three hours at a time and that’s hard for him, but I’m just grateful to be here. We’re four months into this and I just want to get there. It’s getting closer. I can feel it.”
In the meantime, doctors say Aaron might soon be stable enough to be released from the hospital while he awaits the surgery, although the family will need to rent an apartment near UCLA and arrange for visiting nursing care.
And as hope continues to pile up for the Tanners, so do the bills. Back home, community fundraisers remain steady, and with the impending expense of lodging plus everyday food and clothing needs, Elizabeth admitted that it’s financially difficult. “It’s hard, things are expensive,” she said. “We have to pay for meals and the airport travel and now we’ll need a nearby place to live. We’re looking for financial support, and again, we just want everyone to know how grateful we are for their ongoing help. We feel very blessed.”
Upcoming events for Aaron include:
Yard sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Boutique LaBelissima, 2220 A St. in Antioch.
Jump for Heart event at Holy Rosary School, 25 E. 15th St. in Antioch. For additional information, call Kelly Lucido at 925-783-7658.
The Aaron Tanner blood drive from 1:30 to 7 p.m. at Eastside Church of Christ, 1020 E. Tregallas Road in Antioch.
For those able to help in other ways, more options are available. A fund has been set up at the Bank of Agriculture (c/o Aaron Tanner Heart Foundation), 2251 Balfour Road in Brentwood. Contributions may also be made online at www.saveabrokenheart.com.