Julia Domenick has learned in the worst way the meaning of the phrase “in the blink of an eye.”
That’s just how fast life with her beloved husband Andrew “Drew” Domenick changed.
“It’s been quite a catastrophic journey for the last 4½ years,” was how she opened the story. “Drew just had his 50th birthday in rehab! We never thought that he would make it to that birthday. But we feel very blessed that he has!”
Here’s a little bit of the Kent couple’s journey:
“In October 2009, Drew and I visited Las Vegas for vacation. The week after we returned home, he came down with bacterial pneumonia. At that time he went into A-Fib, went septic and had a condition called DIC, where his kidneys shut down and his extremities started to die (right hand, earlobe, nose) …
“The results of the pneumonia etc. rendered him with end-stage renal disease and on dialysis the rest of his life. He was 45 years old at the time — which most likely saved his life.”
The following year, Drew attempted to go back to work on a part-time basis at the sign shop where he had worked 15 years, but was told by the owner he had to let Drew go because he couldn’t afford the health care.
He was analyzed by the Cleveland Clinic with the hope of placing him on the kidney transplant list. Only that wasn’t to be.
“At the end of the tests, it was determined that he has a rare disease called CVID — Common Variable Immune Deficiency,” his wife said. His body is unable to fight infection, which likely led to the pneumonia, and he has to get intravenous immunoglobulin transfusions monthly. “It was also determined that Drew would most likely not be a good candidate for a kidney transplant because of the CVID. He will have to have the IVIG transfusions every month for the rest of his life and stay on dialysis the rest of his life as well …
“Until 2013, we were living with the disabilities that he had been diagnosed with and moving forward. But last spring, Drew’s hips started to hurt him. He thought he had pulled a muscle … After a series of more tests, the rheumatologist determined that Drew suffers from something called AVN — avascular necrosis. In short, because of the extensive steroids that he’s been on and off in the last 4½ years, his hips were beginning to collapse.”
That’s not even the worst of it. In late October 2013, while the couple were vacationing in Ocean Isle, N.C., Drew became ill and was diagnosed with listeria, which because he is immunocompromised, caused meningitis. Again, he was placed on a ventilator “and unresponsive to everything.”
“When he was finally stabilized, I was able to arrange transportation [at an upfront cost of thousands of dollars] to get him home to Ohio,” Julia Domenick continued. It was a 650-mile ambulance ride.
He’s been in and out of area rehab centers and hospitals ever since. He is currently at Kent Healthcare Center and on the mend, his wife said: “He will still most likely be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. But we’re OK with that because he’s alive. It’s been a true test of many things, especially faith and love. I visit him almost daily — and have spent all holidays with him and not family. Most people would be discouraged, but his spirit and his strong will to live is an inspiration …
“The good news is that our friends have stepped up to the plate. The bills have started to come in and have been overwhelming. I know that we are just beginning to see them too, which is scary.”
To help Drew and Julie, their friends have arranged what they call “Team Drew” — a drink, dine, dance and bid fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. May 16, at Houston Hall, 3069 Houston Road, Norton.
Dance music will be provided by the Effangee Band, the Moonflowers and the Fleecers. Raffles, 50/50s, live and silent auctions will offer a hand-painted Adirondack chair by artist Bill Yurcich; Rainbow Sunshine glass artwork by Debi Salzman; serving tray by Don Drumm; and more.
Tickets are $10. Make checks payable to Julia Domenick and mail no later than May 10 to P.O. Box 263, Munroe Falls, OH 44262. Questions or wanting to donate an item? Please contact Patty Bucy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-524-4535.
Unable to participate? Then please keep the Domenicks in your prayers.
At the Akron area YMCA’s 143rd annual meeting/dinner Thursday evening, it presented the Hunsicker Family Service to Youth Award, its highest honor.
Drum roll, please! This year’s recipient is Marcus Board, “one of the most significant annual contributors of time, talent and treasure to the Y of all time,” said Doug Kohl, the Y’s president and CEO. “He’s a Kenmore graduate who resides in Baltimore. Each year he contributes significantly to the East Akron Y Phoenix School and also provides a scholarship to a student who goes through the YMCA Phoenix School and wants to go to college. Marcus served in the military and then started a defense contracting firm in Baltimore. He’s a homegrown Akron success story and a man of great faith.”
The award is named after three generations of Hunsickers who have been involved with the YMCA since the 1930s: Oscar I, who was a judge in the 1920s and 1930s; Oscar II, an attorney at Brouse McDowell; and Oscar III and brother Bruce (deceased), who attended Camp Y-Noah and served on YMCA boards.
The Women’s Board of the International Institute of Akron is hosting its annual luncheon/style show at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Fairlawn Country Club, 200 N. Wheaton Road, Fairlawn, with fashions from Dress Barn.
Cost is $25. Your check is your reservation. Please make payable to the Women’s Board/International Institute and mail to 452 E. Reserve Drive, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44223. Madeline Bozzelli is chairperson.
Rigatoni dinner benefit
Friends of Samantha Cowx are hosting a rigatoni dinner to help her and her family. Akron Fire Department medic John Dzurovcin, who also is a member of the Army-Navy Garrison No. 102, is helping organize the fundraiser 5 to 11 p.m. May 9 at the Garrison, 601 Massillon Road, Akron. Cost is $6 presale; $8 at the door.
The 26-year-old Samantha is undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and caring for her 7-month-old son, Silas. Her husband, Brian, an Air Force veteran, works long-distance jobs to provide for his family and help pay for the ever-growing medical bills.
A drawing for raffle baskets from area businesses will be held at 8:30 p.m.
Kids raise money
Hats off to fourth-graders at Akron’s St. Sebastian Parish School who have been busy during the Lenten season “doing chores for others to help raise money for a cause that is close to their hearts,” wrote school spokeswoman Michelle Huber.
“Their classmate Sophia Stahl lost her little sister Isabella when she was just 3 months old. Sophia’s mom Janice is the housing service manager for North Coast Community Homes. This company helps manage housing for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and other disabilities … The Stahl family created Isabella’s Closet in memory of their daughter and as a way to help these residents.
“Because so many of the residents who come to live at one of the community homes have been living on the streets, this donation program, Isabella’s Closet, helps North Coast tenants with their basic needs such as towels, sheets, blankets and even dishes … Together the fourth-grade class raised over $300. They purchased buckets and filled them with Subway gift cards and many household necessities. The students were able to present all their buckets to Mrs. Stahl and they were so excited to help their classmate’s family charity!”
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.