Chainmail for Charity is a Facebook project by 501st Legion member Rebecca Waters , to help raise money and awareness for her husband’s heart condition. With Jon unable to work, Rebecca works day and night to help pay for not only their regular bills, but also Jon’s mounting medical bills; that is where Chainmail for Charity comes into play.
Jon has a genetic heart condition that caused him to suffer a massive three week long heart attack last year. That same year, after suffering a full blown congestive heart failure and with only one functioning coronary artery, Jon had to undergo a quadruple bypass with a heart that was only functioning at 20%. During the surgery, they discovered that his mitral valve had ruptured and he now required a mechanical mitral valve replacement at the same time.
As if that wasn’t enough, less than a week after the surgery, Jon and Rebecca learned that the damage to the left side of Jon’s heart was so bad that he would need a pacemaker and would be dependent upon it to keep him alive.
Fast forward to 2012.
Jon was hospitalized for pneumonia and came home with a nasty staph infection on and in his nostrils where the oxygen tubes were. Not long after coming home, he had to be rushed back to the hospital where they learned that the staph infection had entered his bloodstream and turned septic. He was placed in critical care for a few days to stabilize his body and later, performed a trans esophageal echo to look at his heart and valves.
During the esophageal echo, the doctors learned that the staph in his bloodstream was collecting on both the mechanical mitral valve and the aortic valve, which caused him to have an infected heart (endocarditis).
Now “a surgeons worst nightmare, especially so soon after his surgery”, Jon was in the hospital for two weeks so they could get the staph infection out of his bloodstream. The next step was to send him home for six weeks with round the clock IV antibiotics.
Earlier last week, Jon went through his second esophageal echo and this time, the doctors found his aortic valve to be clear of infection, but only one side of his mechanical mitral valve was clear.
The decision was made to put Jon on two more weeks of expensive IV antibiotics and then they will reevaluate him. Considering his past, the surgeons are being extremely careful and trying really hard to not have to open him up again, especially with the risks being so high.
Jon and Rebecca were married only a few weeks ago at Celebration VI among their family and friends. It wasn’t the typical wedding, that’s for sure. With both of them in full costume, they said their vows for all attendees at CVI to hear.
Together, they encompass the spirit of what it means to be 501st Legion troopers. It breaks my heart to know that such wonderful individuals are going through this, but I know that together, they can overcome whatever comes their way.
If you would like to make a donation or learn more about Jon and Rebecca, please check out their Facebook page, Chainmail for Charity. The jewelry is beautiful and the money goes to helping a great couple fight the biggest battle of their lives.