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Community unites to support Donnie McKnight’s life-saving surgery



Donnie McKnight

Donnie McKnight, who has been diagnosed with Fibrosing Mediastinitis (FM), a rare and life-threatening disease resulting from histoplasmosis, is receiving tremendous support from his community as he faces a critical surgery that holds the key to his survival.

Histoplasmosis, a fungal infection commonly causing flu-like symptoms, affects a significant portion of the population at some point in their lives. However, Donnie’s case is exceptionally rare, as his body has reacted abnormally, causing an excessive buildup of scar tissue that progressively obstructs and compresses his arteries, veins, and organs in the chest area, including his heart, lungs, and SVC. Medical experts have described this condition as a silent killer, leaving Donnie feeling suffocated from within. Unfortunately, the tissue-formed tumor cannot be removed, necessitating a complex surgical procedure to reroute veins around the tumor and save his life.

With approximately 30 stents already in place, Donnie’s initial surgery and ongoing treatments have extended his life by 20-26 years. However, after a quarter of a century, he is no longer eligible for additional stent placements. To continue living, he urgently requires major surgery. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, home to a specialized medical team familiar with Donnie’s history and the only experts in the United States capable of performing the operation, is where Donnie and his girlfriend, Mary Manard, will travel for his life-saving procedure.

Donnie’s journey at the Mayo Clinic is expected to last 4-6 weeks, during which he will need assistance with travel expenses, accommodations, meals, and other expenses not covered by insurance. Furthermore, significant medical bills are anticipated once the surgery is complete. Mary will accompany Donnie throughout his stay, providing care and support to ensure his safe recovery.

In an effort to rally support for Donnie’s cause, a fundraising event has been organized. On July 22, at the Knights of Columbus, from noon to 5 p.m., the community will come together to make a difference. Plate lunches will be available for $10 each, offering rotisserie chicken, baked beans, and potato salad. Additionally, there will be a raffle with tickets priced at $5 each, and a silent auction featuring various items (to be determined). Adding to the festivities, the popular HOWLIN’ WOLF Band will entertain attendees from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Donnie McKnight’s struggle with Fibrosing Mediastinitis has touched the hearts of those around him. The community’s unwavering support will not only alleviate the financial burden associated with his treatment but also serve as a reminder of the strength that lies within unity. Together, they strive to ensure Donnie’s journey toward a healthier future continues.

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