Four years ago, Vicki Strever of Somonauk would describe herself as living an independent and carefree life, driving an F250 truck and hauling her horse Cricket around in a trailer.
Because of SLE Lupus, which she was diagnosed with at age 6, and despite 15 years of chemotherapy, Strever learned in July 2014 that her kidneys were functioning at only 8 percent. Strever also was born with cerebral palsy that affected her left side.
Once her kidneys failed, Strever had to start at-home dialysis, which took 12 to 14 hours a day. After being on dialysis for six months, she received a kidney transplant in December 2014.
Unfortunately, the anti-rejection drugs’ side effects left Strever unable to walk or stand on her left leg four months after the transplant. During a recent visit to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Strever learned that the damage may not be reversible.
“I was told that unless it’s a miracle from God, I will never be able to walk again,” Strever said. “Through Mayo, I was able to order an electric wheelchair, which was partially paid for through a grant from the Permobil Cares Foundation. However, I was unable to use the wheelchair without a van.”
A van equipped to transport the new electric chair cost between $83,000 and $85,000. To help fundraise for the van, Strever’s family is hosting a fundraiser for her from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at Skooters Roadhouse, 700 W. Jefferson St. in Shorewood.
Tickets for the event cost $25 and will be available for purchase at the door. The fundraiser will include a buffet, live music performances by country bands RockStar Rodeo, Kelly Daniels and Radio Romance, 50/50 drawings every hour, raffles and silent and live auctions.
“I would greatly appreciate any help,” Strever said. “With a van, I will be able to do more things by myself and have freedom and independence again.”
Stop by any Heartland Bank location to donate to the Vicki Strever benefit, visit www.gofundme.com/wheels-for-vickis-wheels or text or call 815-370-1404 for information.