Reaching Out — to Help a Little Rock Star Named Nate Fanell

Paul McCartney or Nate Fanell? If you had the choice to meet one of them, whom would you choose? The former Beatle would lose out in my case.

At DiCesare Engler, we had the honor of promoting Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison individually; and, I promoted The Beatles in 1964. But I’ve never had the opportunity to meet or promote Nate. Until now.

Nate Fanell is an all-American kid who loves sports, does well in school, and respects his elders. He’s especially kind, loves to take care of others, and donates to causes — and he’s only 11 years old!nate2

Things haven’t gone so well for Nate. About 7 years ago he developed an auto immune disease call ITP. His body kills his platelets, thinking they are a virus. Platelets should be well over 100,000 and Nate’s have numbered as few as 1000. His case is not normal, as doctors can’t explain why he doesn’t respond to certain “rescue meds” such as steroids. He has been the focus of many case studies and part of a Harvard study.

While there is not a cure for ITP, most people outgrow it. But most doesn’t progress to the point that Nate has. Currently  he is getting his 3rd round of chemo, as he did at ages 8 and 9. This time the medical bills will be too much for the family to handle alone. Nate has said he’d use his birthday and holiday money, if that would help. It’s the sweet dream of a child probably has no idea how much chemo treatments actually costs.

A fund has been set up through the reputable GoFundMe program to help raise money. Click here to visit Nate’s page to make a donation. You’ll learn all about his case, see photos of Nate, and be able to view the fund’s progress to date. Please consider sharing his GoFundMe page with your friends.

Nate has become chronic and has been part of Harvard studies. A new medicine that worked on everyone in a trial study hasn’t worked for Nate. He no longer responds to certain therapies such as steroids. Where does this leave him? He responded well twice to chemotherapy and doctors are hopeful this is his final treatment.

While in the past, insurance had covered most of the expense, this has changed to where he is only covered at 80%. This is a heavy burden on his family, but it’s not the only medical expense. In addition, he  typically needs his blood tested 2 to 3 times per week, costing $180 per trip.

Nate is a great kid, and when allowed he plays basketball, baseball and goes bowling. There are times that just about everything is off-limits . Recess at school can even be a concern. Getting hit in the head or stomach could cause internal bleeding, leading to serious conditions, possibly even death.

His family wants to educate people about ITP and the warning signs to keep kids safe. They also want to inform people that ITP is not contagious and that those with it suffer mentally, as well as physically. Victims often have self esteem issues, feeling they look like monsters due to the physical effects of the disease. There are times that a large portion of the body is covered with terrible black deep bruises, blistering of the lips and mouth or tongue and uncontrolled bleeding.

Our prayer is to get Nate back to a normal health life. While most kids wish to go to Disney, he just wants to be able to go outside and play.

The family wants to continue to work with his doctors here at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Going to St. Jude’s might be an option later if his condition worsens.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Nate’s parents don’t qualify for any help because their income isn’t terrible, but they don’t have anything extra, either. I know Nate may seem like nothing more than a stranger on Facebook asking for help. His family never once asked for help before, but feel it’s time they have to reach out.

Nate has an older brother who is a freshman in college and his parents don’t want to make his brother quit school. They still have about $6,000 to pay off from other treatments for Nate. They don’t want to fall into collections or have to sell their home to make ends meet. In addition to the $6,000 they still owe, they will have the expense of further treatments, which will cost an additional $13,000 – the amount they are trying to raise.

In addition to Nate’s fund at GoFundMe, the family is looking at other fundraising options. Friends are organizing a spaghetti dinner and might possibly sponsor family bowling day at Nesbit Lanes. The family also plans to sell purple cancer ribbons associated with ITP.

These are very basic ideas, but the most important way to donate is through Nate’s fund at GoFundMe.

Sharing his story on social media would be a big help, but it’s up to you. Any help, advice or suggestions that you may have for Nate and his family would be appreciated.

Paul McCartney or Nate Fanell, which one would you choose?


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