A Wedding in October
Since 1988, Mark W. has made his home in Midland, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. For a while, Mark sold insurance – property, casualty, life, and health. And it was that experience that gave him his first glimpse of the tough choices that underinsured people have to make.
"I met many people who had to decide whether to pay their rent or buy food or pay their insurance premium, and that's a terrible predicament to be in," says Mark.
Mark's own health issues started earlier when he was diagnosed with diabetes, a condition that slowly worsened over the years. In 2001, because of his health, Mark left his job and went on permanent disability. Over the next few years his condition worsened, and in 2005 his kidneys failed completely, forcing him to go on dialysis.
In November 2006, Mark received a new kidney and a new lease on life. Any time a patient receives a kidney transplant, there's a chance his body will reject the new kidney, no matter how good the match. To help Mark's body from rejecting the new kidney, his doctor put him on anti-rejection medicines or immunosuppressants.
"Living on a fixed income I really had a problem, because I take 16 different drugs a day"
The medications are expensive, as much as $1,500 a month for the immunosuppressants alone.
"Living on a fixed income, I really had a problem, because I take 16 different drugs a day," Mark says.
For the first couple of years Medicare covered his co-pay for his anti-rejection drugs, but after a few years they stopped paying his co-pays, and Mark--as well as his doctor and his pharmacist-- knew he needed assistance to stay healthy.
Mark doctor's office and the pharmacy gave him PAN’s contact information and he was quickly able to apply for assistance through PAN's Kidney Transplant Immunosuppressant fund.
"Without PAN, I couldn't live where I'm living now because my budget is down to where every ten dollar bill is spoken for every month," says Mark.
Three and a half years after receiving his transplant, Mark's latest lab work shows that everything is going well.
And at 57, Mark is looking forward to the future.
"I hope to still be able to maintain the quality of life I have right now, where I can do some things for myself,” he says. “I hope to see my son get married in October and I hope to see a grandchild someday."