Monday, June 20, 2011
A Life Saved - Enock Mezilas
In a truly great story of our community, Enock Mezilas, who emigrated with his parents legally from Haiti via the Bahamas to Ft. Lauderdale, has been in the country for 11 years. His parents didn’t realize they needed to get him a green card; thought that was only for those who wanted to work. Thus, Enock is not qualified for Medicaid. At 13, run down from playing soccer, Enock was initially diagnosed with asthma. His father, who works at an Assisted Living Facility, had health insurance that covered him.
As it turns out, Enock’s breathing problem was misdiagnosed. In reality, he had a rare case of acid reflux; so bad that the acid from his stomach endangered his lungs, and he began to need repeated hospitalizations in order to breathe. Somehow, he managed to earn A’s and B’s in school and recently graduated, late, as an honors student. His only chance of survival? A lung transplant within the year 2011, as Enock’s condition worsened. Lungs found for a transplant at Jacksonville’s Mayo clinic turned out to have been exposed to Hepatitis B, and Enock missed that chance.
The family’s insurance covered the costs of a double lung transplant at Tampa General hospital, and Enock was high on the list, until, it was determined that the anti-rejection drugs, which run $300-$600 a month (for the rest of his life) were not covered. The transplant team needed the family to have a reserve of at least $10,000 in order to move forward….money enough to be sure that he got the anti-rejection drugs and post operative care. It doesn't sound like a lot of money, but Enock's family... dad working to continue to support him, mom with him at all times, had exhausted any funding they might have had to assist him.
The wonderful local newspaper, the St. Pete Times, came forward two months ago with Enock’s story…which was then picked up by local news stations. The local Tampa Bay area community responded with a spirit that has made our community so great over the years. Donations poured in, and over $135,000 has so far been raised, enough to see Enock well into the future. Late in May, Enock received his lung transplant, and, just in this past week, was well enough to go to a rehab facility in our area until he is ready to go back to Fr. Lauderdale.