May 26, 2010
Does a half million dollars sound like enough to pay for an operation? It may not be enough to save Wichita teenager Kyle Hicks in his fight for life.
Kyle graduated from Northeast Magnet High School Tuesday night. It took him a year longer to get his diploma because of his skin disease, Epidermolysis Bullosa.
After more than two years of exhaustive fundraising, Team Kyle thought it had enough money to pay for a life saving transplant. New hurdles now have those fundraisers frustrated and angry.
Another weekend in Kansas and another fundraiser for Kyle Hicks.
“He may be small, but he is an amazing person,” Taylor Bogner, Garden Plain 8th Grader said.
This dance, just one of hundreds of little events held around the Wichita area. that in two years alone, has raised $375,000.
After one of those fundraisers, two local car dealers so taken by Kyle, that they offered to collect the $150,000 more it would take to get the transplant scheduled
“We have an opportunity to save this kid's life, experimental, or whatever you call it,” Dawson Grimsley said. “We have an opportunity to save this kids life.”
“We called and we wanted to schedule the surgery that day if we could,” Brandon Steven said.
So, Kyle would have his happy ending with the promise from the car dealers, Kyle would graduate high school knowing he may have a pain free future and more importantly a future at all.
However, in the two years it took to raise the funds, the price of the operation had gone way up. Team Kyle would now need over $800,000.
“We went from being elated at having Dawson and Brandon saying get the surgery scheduled to being completely devastated,” Susan Johnson said.
To help understand the anger of those involved, know that Kyle’s father has health insurance. His mother has health insurance. Both have refused to pay for the transplant, a transplant that at least two other insurance companies do cover and one that several children across the country have had with much success.
KAKE News called and emailed the insurance companies and the hospital several times. Soon after they found out the reason for the calls communication was cut off.
Last week, Kyle heard the words he’s desperate for...that no one has given up.
For now, he goes on – changing his bandages from head to toe every single day. Living in pain, 24/7, and this week, graduating high school with plans to major in food science in college. He wants to be a researcher, but unless he gets the transplant, it may never happen.
“I want to go down fighting the disease instead of the disease fighting me. So if I die, at least I didn’t go down without a fight,” Kyle said.
To make donations to Team Kyle, you can contact them at:
432 W. Third
Wichita, KS 67203