First of all, thank you for giving me your time by reading this. I very much appreciate it.
It is with great regret and considerable embarrassment that I find myself having to write this request. But I have run out of options.
My name is John Bentley. I am 54 years old, originally from the UK, but have been resident in Barcelona, Spain, for the past 30 years. In 2018, after a bout of coughing up large amounts of blood one evening, I was diagnosed with a lung infection called mycobacterium abscessus. This is a multi-drug resistant bacterium which causes pulmonary disease and is extremely hard to treat. It is a rare condition, and despite 19 months of oral and intravenous antibiotics treatment in 2018-19, the infection still hasn’t been fully cured. One of its consequences is chest infections, which I have suffered on numerous occasions, in particular during my four episodes of Covid-19. These left me with a high fever for weeks and needing further antibiotic treatment each time. I work as a freelance online English teacher, and these bouts of illness have led me to losing both clients and work opportunities due to absence.
The year I was diagnosed with the mycobacterium abscessus infection, the doctors also found out I have a severe deficiency in alpha 1 antitrypsin. This is a genetic disease, and hence incurable. It means that the liver does not produce sufficient amounts of the protein alpha 1 antitrypsin to protect the lungs, which leads to irreparable lung damage. As you can imagine, the combination of this and the infection has led to several lung problems and may cause me to have liver problems in the future.
Amongst other things, the alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency means I need fortnightly intravenous infusions of donor plasma; a treatment which aims to prevent the most debilitating lung damage.
This all sounds disastrous, but unfortunately it doesn’t end there. Since last October I have also had recurrent thrombosis, the exact cause of which is unknown. Regrettably, the latest CT scans show that, due to this, I have a chronic pulmonary embolism (a large blood clot in the lungs). Just last week the specialist dealing with this told me that the embolism is permanent. Apart from all the other treatment, I will need to take blood thinners for the rest of my life. It is also likely that I will need further antibiotic treatment to try and deal with the mycobacterium abscessus lung infection, which also showed up in the CT scan as being active.
These health problems have had a profound effect on my daily life. I feel exhausted most of the time, and I find it hard to do simple physical exercise such as climbing the stairs to my flat (there is no lift). My chest and throat are often blocked with phlegm (especially in the mornings). This can make it difficult to speak without constantly coughing and clearing my throat, which in turn interferes with my ability to do my job as an online English teacher. I have to cancel classes in order to attend medical appointments and receive treatment, which complicates my work schedule.
In many ways I consider myself lucky. Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. At least I know what I have, and furthermore, I have a good hospital dealing with all this. Luckily, the hospitals in Barcelona have specialists who are experts in my health problems (not the case in much of the country).
But my symptoms are making it harder for me to work, and Barcelona is a city with a very high cost of living. Freelancers like myself receive no financial support from the state in such circumstances. My wife is on a very low salary and it is a struggle to pay the mortgage on our apartment of 28 square metres, plus other basic living expenses. For one thing, the blood thinners I am taking are not covered by social security, costing nearly €80 per month, and as a freelancer I am legally obliged to pay around €300 per month in social security contributions.
My income is very low. The biggest current monthly expense (apart from my social security payments) is the mortgage, currently around €290 a month, though with the skyrocketing interest rates that will probably rise to over €400 per month in January, an amount we will find it very hard to pay combined with everything else. Our total outstanding mortgage is around €52,000, though if this were paid off early, it would probably be nearer to €65,000 including the penalty clause. Energy and food costs have risen considerably since the pandemic, but competition in the teaching profession means that I am now having to charge less per hour than I was in 2010. Right now, I feel as if I’m drowning and I really don’t know how we are going to survive this.
If you are still reading, thank you once again.
This is extremely embarrassing for me, but I ask that you help me pay off this mortgage, and cover ongoing living costs.
In terms of the amount, I will leave that up to you. Every little helps, and I would not want anyone to give me financial help that they themselves could not afford.
Even a small reduction in the outstanding mortgage debt would benefit me in two ways: the monthly repayments would be reduced, as would the annual cost of life insurance the bank obliged us to take out (to cover the mortgage capital). Eliminating this debt from my life would be the easiest way to improve my financial situation and help me move forward. Of course, in an ideal situation, the best thing would to pay off the mortgage completely, which would be a massive weight off my shoulders. But I think that would be asking a lot from a donor.
I’ve learned that sometimes in life we all have to ask for help, even if there isn’t much chance of getting it. It is true that I am asking for charity, which is a sad and unfortunate situation. But right now I don’t see any other option.
If you wish to contact me with further questions, please email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here you can find further details about alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/alpha-1-antitrypsin-deficiency/
And for mycobacterium abscessus and its effects: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycobacteroides_abscessus
Thank you very much for your time and for considering my case. I wish you all the very best.
Should you decide to help me, below you can see my PayPal link:
Thank you again