Blanchard Church of Christ Hosts Carnahan Family Fundraiser | News, Sports, Jobs

PHOTO PROVIDED Rich Carnahan is pictured with his wife and daughter. In April 2021, Rich was diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and underwent multiple treatments.

BLANCHARD — A chicken barbecue fundraiser is planned for May 22 at the Blanchard Church of Christ to help the Carnahan family with medical expenses.

Meals will be served in the church’s outdoor pavilion, rain or shine, and include 1/2 chicken, baked beans, mac and cheese, and a $12 buttered bun. There will also be a bake sale on site.

Donations can also be made to the Blanchard Church Of Christ by check or Venmo. Please clearly indicate that your donation will go to the Rich Carnahan Family.

In April 2021, Rich was diagnosed with an inherited connective tissue disorder called Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (HEDS). Ehlers Danlos is a condition in which the body produces faulty collagen, affecting the joints, skin, and blood vessels, among other complications. This condition often goes undiagnosed and can be confused with other conditions, delaying treatment. This can also be considered an invisible disease as a person can otherwise appear healthy while dealing with complications that come with this condition.

Rich has lived with these complications since he was a young child as it was often confused with growing pains and the demands of an active boy. For Rich, his condition has affected both his large and small joints, resulting in hypermobility throughout his body that has led to injuries and surgery. He has undergone multiple shoulder reconstructive surgeries on both shoulders.

Six years ago, Rich’s health deteriorated due to an event involving a life-threatening intestinal infection, and he’s been struggling to regain his health ever since. From that event began the long journey of finding a diagnosis. Rich continued to suffer from complications that confused doctors during his many visits to the emergency room, hospital, and doctor’s appointments. HEDS is not widely known and is often misunderstood. Finding doctors who understand the condition requires research and travel. It wasn’t until they found some great doctors to help them diagnose that he was able to begin treatment. Treatment includes managing symptoms depending on the severity and complications of the condition.

Rich developed early-onset osteoarthritis and lives with chronic musculoskeletal pain. For the past two years, Rich has had lumbar and cervical spine fusions. He needs a shoulder replacement and surgery on both hips where he suffers from labral tears and instability. Since his recent diagnosis, Rich has also developed complications with his heart and lungs, resulting in an enlarged aortic root and blood clots. He also lives with a condition called POTS, which causes daily dizziness and mast cell activation, which can provoke an immune response in the body.

Rich has suffered from migraines his entire life, and lately he has been experiencing severe pain and instability over his cervical spinal fusion at the base of his skull. There are already signs of further damage above the fusion and he also has symptoms of carniocervical instability. Recently, this has caused many complications, severe pain, and debilitating neurological symptoms in his daily life. He and his wife found and consulted a doctor outside of New York City who treats this condition and is familiar with HEDS. There is hope that Rich will soon receive the invasive tests and surgery recommended by this doctor, which will correct this complication and allow Rich to enjoy life again.

Through the combination of these conditions, HEDS rendered Rich incapacitated and he has been disabled ever since. Rich loved his work, was active, spent time with his family, hunted, fished and enjoyed helping others.

“Out of God’s grace, faithfulness and love, the family is exceedingly grateful for the blessings life has bestowed on them during this difficult time. They are grateful for the many special people who have been placed in their lives and are extremely grateful for the love and support of their family and friends.” according to a press release about the event.

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