Family with teen battling second life-threatening illness in a year facing financial devastation

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 18, 2016

You can help a young man battling his second life-threatening illness inside of a year. You may remember 23-year-old Joey Richman, who got a kidney transplant from a stranger. Now in a rare twist of fate, Joey is battling cancer and the cost of treatment is devastating his family.

With the hashtag #AKidneyforJoey, came a very public fight to save Joey Richman's life.

 “You know, a year of just one thing after another,” Joey said.

A successful kidney transplant from a complete stranger found on social media kept Joey alive, but in a rare medical twist, it also gave him lymphoma. The life-changing blows don't stop there.

“Here’s Joey after you know 6 hours of chemo he comes home and he’s served foreclosure papers," his mom, Dana Richman said.Now his single mother is fighting to keep their home.

“I thought the scariest thing was going to be this transplant, and then I thought the scariest thing was going to be cancer, and now the scariest thing is my child is going through cancer, through chemotherapy, and every day asking me, are we going to be okay, where are we going to go, what’s going to happen to us?” Dana Richman said.

The Richmans aren't alone. Intense, unpredicted medical treatment can be financially devastating. A Tampa Bay lawyer said, in this case when you have to make a choice, he would recommend prioritizing paying a mortgage before medical bills, because hospitals can't deny treatment based on outstanding bills.

“You’re thinking about, so what’s going to happen, I’m going to take my child home from chemo one day and we’re going to be living out of our suburban? How does this happen?" Dana Richman said.

Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital said there are groups that provide special funding for patients, many based on specific illnesses.

Here are a few groups their patients work with Cancer

  • Pediatric Cancer Foundation – Tampa
  • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

There are currently 2 charities working with our families to help with day to day expenses.

  • The ForeHadley Foundation – based in Atlanta
  • Tiny Hero – based in Alpine, Utah

Proceeds from the Richmans fundraiser at Ginza Sushi & Hibachi 6417 E. County Line Rd. in Tampa lasts until 9 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 18. Proceeds will help the Richmans pay off more than $140,000 they owe on their mortgage.