UPDATE AS OF 10:15 A.M.: Melissa Klein is going to London.
At 9:30 a.m. an anonymous donor gave $3,000 to the terminally ill Army wife’s campaign via Indiegogo, pushing the fundraiser over Melissa Klein’s $10,000 goal.
Donations of all sizes have been streaming in all morning.
“I can’t see through my tears!” Melissa Klein told The Gazette Monday morning after hearing the news.
“I woke up an hour and a half ago and it was at $7,000. I went to the bathroom and threw up and came back to $10,500! I cannot believe it!”
Klein is waiting to hear back from the London doctor who administers the treatment and will be pursuing passport photos for her and her husband today.
Check back for updates.
A Colorado Springs Army wife dying of a rare genetic disorder has raised nearly 75 percent of the $10,000 she needs for life-extending treatment thanks to the generosity of Gazette readers.
When The Gazette posted an article about the plight of Melissa Klein, a 21-year-old suffering from incurable genetic disorder mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalopathy, at midnight on Sunday, she’d collected about $1,700 for an experimental treatment offered in London that might lengthen her lifespan.
Melissa Klein is the wife of Spc. John Klein, a soldier assigned to Fort Carson’s Warrior Transition Battalion due to injuries sustained in Afghanistan in 2011 when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb.
Doctors don’t expect Melissa Klein to live past 30, but the 63-pound Army wife doesn’t think she has long left.
In October, Melissa Klein launched an online campaign to raise $10,000 for the experimental treatment, which hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and therefore isn’t covered by the Kleins’ insurance. The treatment costs $6,100 a month. Melissa Klein tacked on an additional $3,900 to her fundraising goal for travel expenses.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, the article about Melissa Klein’s plight went viral. As of 9 a.m. Monday, just 33 hours after the article was posted, Melissa Klein had raised $7,464.
Multiple other individuals emailed Sunday and Monday about making a donation via PayPal or check, leaving the total amount raised unknown.
Those individuals include a man who said he’d donate $1,000 and pay for the couple’s airfare to and from London. He also said he may be able to arrange accommodations for the couple while in London thanks to his connections.
“I’m in a state of shock,” Melissa Klein said Sunday night via Facebook message. Melissa Klein often communicates electronically because of her hearing loss. The Gazette met with Melissa Klein in person for its article.
“My phone keeps notifying me of donations, and I have had to do a lot of deep breathing and walking away from my computer since everyone started donating. It’s overwhelming but in an exciting way, and I am so, so, so grateful.”
Within a matter of hours, Melissa Klein’s goal of receiving life-extending treatment morphed from a pipe dream to a very possible reality. On Monday, Melissa Klein planned to contact the London doctor who administers the treatment, whom she’s been in contact with, about how soon she could begin treatment.
“We have a lot to get done once the (Indiegogo) campaign ends, so I’m making a list,” Melissa Klein said, “a few things being contacting the doctor and following up, arranging travel and delivery for my TPN (total parental nutrition, the life-sustaining cocktail of fats, proteins and carbohydrates she receives through a port in her chest), getting passports.”
After travel expenses, the $10,000 Melissa Klein is attempting to raise would cover just one month of treatment, which is designed to be administered on a regular basis.
Klein says there is no way she could afford regular treatment and is simply hoping to remember what normal feels like again before the inevitable happens.
“I want to try everything I can to prolong this terrible situation,” Melissa Klein told The Gazette. “I want to go places. I want to see things. I want to do things.”
If Melissa Klein receives more than $10,000, she will save for an additional months of treatment, she said Sunday night.
To read The Gazette’s story about the plight of Melissa Klein and her combat-wounded husband, click here.
To donate to Melissa Klein’s campaign via Indiegogo, click here.
To visit the Facebook page Melissa Klein launched to raise awareness about her condition, click here.
Melissa Klein can be contacted directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.