A few days ago, I asked the WordPress community to help Terri Caissie fund her medical equipment and treatment as she battles Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy (Autoimmune) with Progressive Cerebella Ataxia or HE/SREAT. The community responded in a big way by completely funding the $2,500 campaign.
Fifty-six people contributed to the campaign, including large donations from Samuel Wood and Matt Mullenweg. In a detailed comment on the Tavern, Caissie expressed her gratitude to the WordPress community, “Thanks to everyone who donated and or shared the post. I know this is a bad time of year to ask for money and I’ve never done anything like this before. My heart is touched very deeply and I just can’t express my gratitude enough,” she said.
She also describes some of the health issues she lives through every day, “There’s a lot more to this disease than people realize. My antibodies are eating the neurons in my brain and cerebellum (balance) so I fall a lot. This is why I’m in physio all the time. The bad neurons are sent to my muscles, which makes them cramp,” she said.
HE/SREAT is an exceptionally rare disease with roughly 200-300 people worldwide diagnosed. So little is known about the disease that people are commonly misdiagnosed, as is the case with Caissie. In an effort to raise awareness, the Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy SREAT Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2012, published a book that features stories from patients living with the disease, including Caissie’s.
The book contains research from doctors across the US and Canada. The goal of HESA is to have several of these books in every University and teaching hospital in North America. HE/SREAT is a difficult disease to cope with but thanks to the WordPress community’s generosity, some of the financial burden is lifted from Caissie’s shoulders.