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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 30, 2016


4/20/2013 3:15:00 PM
A Heart for Brad
Brad Figy of Cottonwood, whose heart operates at 20 percent capacity, has less than a 50 percent chance of living two more years without a heart transplant. VVN/Bill Helm
Brad Figy of Cottonwood, whose heart operates at 20 percent capacity, has less than a 50 percent chance of living two more years without a heart transplant. VVN/Bill Helm
Brianna Figy, left, and her mother Angela say they have spent many hours at their computers, researching Brad's heart condition. Due to a lack of medical insurance, Brad cannot be placed on a heart transplant list until he can raise $90,000 towards the cost of surgery. VVN/Bill Helm
Brianna Figy, left, and her mother Angela say they have spent many hours at their computers, researching Brad's heart condition. Due to a lack of medical insurance, Brad cannot be placed on a heart transplant list until he can raise $90,000 towards the cost of surgery. VVN/Bill Helm
QUOTE
"Suddenly, our savings is gone. The hospital bills are tremendous. Your lifestyle completely changes."

--Angela Figy


Bill Helm
Reporter


COTTONWOOD - Brad Figy of Cottonwood needs a new heart. And he cannot afford to do anything about it.

Figy checked himself into the hospital on Feb. 16 with flu-like symptoms and fluid build-up in his chest. On Feb. 21, after a series of medical tests, doctors told Figy that his heart is operating at 20 percent capacity and that he has a 50 percent chance of living two years without a heart transplant.

"Brad's breathing got worse and worse, says Angela Figy, Brad's wife. "His legs had swollen to twice their [normal] size. Doctors said if we hadn't taken Brad to the hospital, he would have died right here [at home]."

Brad says he feels "better now than before I went into the hospital. But I have good days, and I have bad days."

"One day last week, I felt bullet-proof. The next morning, I could hardly breathe."

It is bad enough to need such a surgery. But Figy and his family own a small business, and they do not have medical insurance. "Unless you have nothing, you don't qualify for AHCCCS [Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System], says Angela. Without insurance, Brad does not qualify for a heart transplant until he has raised at least $90,000 towards the cost of surgery.

Brianna, Brad and Angela's youngest daughter, has taken on the role of fund-raising manager for the family. Brianna, 23, says she has raised about $6,500 in the nearly two months since Brad's diagnosis. Brianna has been selling wristbands that say "Heart for Brad' and is currently making a design for "Heart for Brad' T-shirts.

But as busy as she has been with fund-raising, Brianna says she still struggles with her father's illness.

""I'm a really logical person," Brianna says. "I can generally see the details to know how to resolve things. But with this, I was overwhelmed."

It is the Figy family's faith in God and the support of their family and friends that has helped them get through this most difficult time.

"That's the only thing that is getting us through," Brad says. "My faith in God is sustaining me each day. I have to believe that God is who he says he is and that he does what he says he does.

"But my main worry is not being able to provide for my family."

One of their friends, Alicia Slaughter, owner of Bargain Mart in Camp Verde, has placed a donation jar near her cash register with the phrase "Heart 4 Brad' and a plea for help for her friends.

"They are an awesome family," Slaughter says of the Figy family. Slaughter has had the jar on display for a month and says she has already received $50 in donations.

And Angela says another friend recently donated the proceeds of a garage sale, approximately $800.

"The community here has been amazing," Angela says. "The church, our friends, they have all been wonderful. It's just amazing to have a community like this."

"I live day by day," Brad says. "Some days, it's more like hour by hour."

"I've been going to the hospital three times a week," Brad says. "They've taught about the disease, how I can live with it and the lifestyle changes I need to make. I can exercise to build up my heart for the transplant surgery.

"The care of Verde Valley Medical Center has been wonderful. The cardiac unit is top-notch. But I'm still in denial over the whole thing."

As much as she may want to try, Angela cannot deny the family's economic struggles since Brad's diagnosis.

"Suddenly, our savings is gone," Angela says. "The hospital bills are tremendous. Your lifestyle completely changes. You do what you have to do to survive. But the main thing is to get Brad on the heart-transplant list."

Donations can be made through http://www.giveforward.com/heart4brad. Donations can also be made by mailing a check to: C/O Hope Smith, Chase Bank, Cottonwood, Ariz. Branch, 1540 E State Route 89A, Cottonwood, AZ 86322. Checks payable to: Bradley S. Figy account.

ICT - Taylor Waste
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• Paying it forward


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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013
Article comment by: Shawna Taylor

Just a thought people....there are close to 40,000 people in the entire Verde Valley. If each person gave $2, Brad would easily have his $90,000. I don't know about you but I can spare $10 for my family of 5. Imagine if we pulled together as a Valley and did this for each other when someone was in need. No one person has to come out hundreds of dollars, just give up a few dollars. You would want the same done for you or your family member :-)

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Paper forgot to add information about the raffle for Brad...

It's unfortunate that the paper forgot to mention the raffle that a local business is donating gift certificates to. For more information, you can check out the page Brianna created @ http://www.heart4brad.blogspot.com


Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: @ ACA and PCIP program enrollments are frozen...

How could PCIP be frozen? Pre-existing conditions were one of the programs' main sales points.

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Sorry about last post.It was for a different article.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Missed it again folks.I'll give ya'll a second bite
on the banana.


Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Carl Nye - Jerome

Have you researched artificial heart transplants? There are several advantages to an artificial heart, lower cost being one.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: So what do you suggest the Figy family do?

I would like some real answers if you don't support Obamacare. According to some of you, he could go the ER and be treated (like they really do heart transplants in the ER), or he could go to the county clinic as I'm sure they do heart transplants in their office too.

Unfortunately, Brad is just one of the thousands of people in his same shoes. Go overseas? Ok, then donate the $200,000 he will need. Until medicine is made not for profit in the USA, people like Brad will continue to exist.

And please, sign up to be an organ donor. My late husband was an organ donor, and his kidney reciepiant is doing well almost 10 yrs later.


Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Friend of the Figy's 0

If Brad's best shot on getting a transplant somewhere else I'll support him 100%! The health care in the USA is out of the reach of many of us that work hard and are self employeed. Not long ago I was approched by a ladie that works for the Organ Donor Society she was signing people to be donors, when I ask her if their were any organizations that would help Brad with the finances needed to get on the waiting list all she could say is call the organization. My thought is we sign up is donors to save lives but only the patients with money are the ones that benefit from our organs because the poor people can't even get in the waiting list if they don't have $90, 000 dollars.Verde Valley community please support the ongoing fundraisers for Brad and give him the gift of life, who knows wish one of us is next on needing the communitys support! Keep the Figy family in your prayers and God bless you all.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Jessica Knowles:
That's an extremely good idea. The Arizona Heart Hospital might also know of research projects that need participants with Brad Figy's condition.

@ Julie Torres and D Etter:
Yes, it would be a lot easier for the Figy's friends and fellow congregants to raise $5,400 a year or less for insurance than to come up with a lump $90,000 just to get Mr. Figy on a list. But would it be ethical?


Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: ACA and PCIP program enrollments are frozen...

"Beginning February 16, 2013, the federally-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is suspending acceptance of new enrollment applications until further notice. State-based PCIPs may continue accepting enrollment applications through March 2, and will then suspend acceptance of new enrollment applications until further notice. PCIP will continue providing coverage to more than 100,000 people currently enrolled nationwide."



Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Maybe I missed something

I looked it up:

"India has a universal health care system run by the constituent states and territories of India. The Constitution charges every state with "raising the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties". The National Health Policy was endorsed by the Parliament of India in 1983 and updated in 2002." ~ Wikipedia

Did you think we wouldn't?


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: @ Educate with facts... and or Overseas~ .

You really want to go there? per a simle google search...

"India has a universal health care system run by the constituent states and territories of India. The Constitution charges every state with "raising the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties". The National Health Policy was endorsed by the Parliament of India in 1983 and updated in 2002."

Sounds pretty 'socialistic'- and before you cry foul... if you think so highly of their system, what if Obamacare was worded the same way? what would you call it then? I am sure 'Social' would be in the answer someplace.

And indeed it does have a popular private market.. .but consider that the private market has the luxury of having all those that are poorest and sickest covered by the universal plan... there fore the universal plan is infact subsidizing the private plan in the end.

Top that off with the exchange rates and income differentials and you are just not comparing apples to apples.

Agreed that healthcare costs are out of control... but blaming it on Obamacare even though it is not in full effect is childish and short sighted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_in_India


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Educate yourselves with facts not rhetoric

Prayers to Mr. Figy.

But some of the comments here are way off base, and pretty badly.

A heart transplant in India runs about $200,000. In the US it's about a million. Look it up for yourself and see.

And no, India does not have "social-istic" health care, as one uninformed poster alleged. About 90% of their population has no coverage at all.

There are many reasons why health care is so much cheaper in India and other countries, but one of the biggest is they do not gouge the crap out of people, as do hospitals, medical suppliers, and drug-makers in the U.S.

The pity of it all is even with Obamacare, the hospital still wants an upfront $90,000 just to walk in the door.

For the rest of us, this is happening while our health insurance premiums are going through the roof. Many of us now pay more each month for health insurance than we do for our mortgage.

And prepare yourselves, it will only get worse next year as more of Obamacare kicks in.

So much for affordable health care.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Pray

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Jessica Knowles

I suggest calling the Arizona heart hospital, they are a teaching hospital and may be able to recommend something or at least you can present your diagnosis to the hospital and see what options you have. Don't ever stop being your own advocate. Good luck with everything!


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