Thursday, August 25, 2011

Greenville Victim

Some of you may have heard of the man who was beaten in downtown Greenville this past week and is now in a coma. If not, here is a link to the story so you can get a little more background on his situation:

Today we received an email from one of our Sunday school teachers telling us of the amazing background of the victim. He really is inspiring & thought more people may want to know his story, so here it is!

August 23, 2011

RE:  Jorge Jimenez-Flores

Dear Friends of Bridges to a Brighter Future:

We are writing to make you aware of a horrible attack on an amazing young man and asking for your support to assist his special family.  Jorge Jimenez-Flores was the victim of an unprovoked attack in downtown Greenville on early Sunday morning, August 21.  He was hit in the head and is currently in the ICU at Greenville Memorial.  He has sustained injuries to the front and back of his head.   Today he had surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain from swelling and bleeding.  They removed a portion of his skull to allow his brain to expand.  The police are currently working to find the attacker.  They have recently released video to the media to try to find the attacker.

Jorge Jimenez-Flores is the epitome of a young man living the American Dream.  He came to America in middle school and worked on a peach farm for a couple of years before entering school.  He and his family are here legally.  He entered in ninth grade knowing very little English.  He was accepted into the Bridges to a Brighter Future program at Furman University during his ninth grade year and began attending Blue Ridge High School his sophomore year.  He was a beloved student at Bridges to a Brighter Future and Blue Ridge High School.  He flourished in the Bridges program, being elected to the student leadership team and receiving many academic awards.  Many of us have never known a student more hard working than Jorge.  He worked full-time (40 hours per week) all through high school to support his family.  In addition, he spent several summers in high school and college going to Nicaragua on mission trips with his high school Spanish Teacher.  Jorge is a beloved part of the mission team and always connected with the Nicaraguan children.

It was a very special day and especially meaningful when we surprised Jorge at Blue Ridge High to present him his admission letter to Furman University and the news that he would also be given a full financial aid package (see attached picture)!  Jorge's college dreams were coming true!  He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and enroll in college!  Jorge had a very successful four years at Furman.  He flourished and grew into a confident young man.  It wasn't always easy, he had to work very hard as English was his second language and he continued to work through college to support his family.  During his Junior and Senior years, he started an internship with ACCH, Alliance for Collaboration with the Hispanic Community, an organization whose mission is to enrich the quality of life in Greenville by coordinating initiatives for our Hispanic community.   Jorge also studied abroad in Chile his last semester of college, getting the experience of a lifetime.

As result of his hard work and determination, Jorge graduated from Furman in May!  This was a very proud day for his mother, father, and siblings.  Perhaps one of Jorge's greatest accomplishments has been being a positive role model in his family.  His younger sister, Maria is now a sophomore at Clemson, having a very successful freshman year.  Because of Jorge's trailblazing, Maria is succeeding in college!

Currently, Jorge continues to volunteer with ACCH and work in the community to enhance the lives and opportunities for Hispanic people while looking for full-time opportunities.  He was featured in a Greenville News article in June about successful immigrants.

Those of us close to Jorge were shocked to hear of the news of the attack.  In the words of an Academic Dean at Furman, “I feel angry and deeply sad that something like this would happen to such a wonderful human being.”  Jorge is indeed one of the most exceptional human beings to walk this earth.

We say all of this to request your support.  Jorge does not have health insurance.  In addition, he was the sole source of income for his family.  His father suffers from glaucoma and is not able to work.  Jorge has always selflessly assisted his family.  

We are currently working with various State and private agencies to manage what are sure to be very high medical bills.  We are requesting your support to assist his family with living expenses. We have set up a fund through Furman University’s Chaplains Office to accept donations for his family.  The donations are not tax-deductible since they will in turn be given to the family.  Checks must be made to Furman University and in the memo:  Jorge Jimenez

Please send contributions to:

Furman University
Chaplains Office
C/O Susan Bennett
3300 Poinsett Highway
Greenville, SC  29613

Or drop them off at the Chaplain's Office (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., M-F), located in the basement of the Furman Chapel on the left side of the Chapel if you are facing it.

Make checks payable to:  Furman University
Memo:  Jorge Jimenez

In addition to contributions, we ask for your prayers and positive thoughts.  We expect Jorge to make a full recovery.  At this time, what he needs most is for all of us to pray for his healing.

Jorge has worked hard for his family, I hope you will join us as we all come together and work selflessly for him, he deserves it!  

With a grateful and humble heart,

Tobi Swartz

Tobi K. Swartz
Bridges to a Brighter Future
Furman University
Office:  864.294.3135
Cell:  864.313.6941

Visit our website at:

Changing the world, one young person at a time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Little Help

Hi all! This week's treatment has been a little rough on Tim so I thought I'd help him out by doing a post. Plus he likes to procrastinate which drives the OCD in me slighly crazy. I'm writing this at 12:30AM on Friday so if its a little random I apologize! I took a 3 hour nap this evening (bad, bad idea) and am now wide awake when I should be sleeping, oops! We're not really sure why this week has been so rough as he ate lunch yesterday (and a really good cinnamon bun from the Lewis's with thick & gooey caramel icing on top...yum!). Yesterday went pretty smoothly but he woke up with a pretty rough headache this morning and has been off ever since, even getting sick this evening which really has only happened once before during treatment. Luckily though there is no fever and this isn't anything that some cheerios (or in our case Joe O's), meds and some sleep can't fix (as well as getting unhooked tomorrow). We think (technically I think, didn't know about my medical degree did you?) it may have to do with hayfever as I know I've been feeling that so hopefully we can get him on some allegra & he will be good to go next time.

They did switch up the Erbitux to Vectibix in the hope that it will bring down his CEA. He's also going back to the original dosage which we are also hoping will help. Now its just a matter of keeping the rash under control so he can continue treatment at the higher dosage. We're hoping with it being summer and humid that it will be easier to contain this time but only time will tell!

He has been accepted to a Clinical Trial through Sloan-Kettering in NY that we are pretty excited to have him be a part of. It isn't anything having to do with treatment but will hopefully help someone else down the line. Its testing people with colon cancer & their parents who are cancer-free (through saliva so no traveling or bloodwork necessary!) to see if there has been a mutation in any genes after being transferred down. They are guessing the mutation may have to do with environment and although we will never know the results of Tim from this we are excited that he is getting the opportunity to participate and hopefully give a little more knowledge to the background of this disease.

We also have something we wanted to see if we could get some help with...Tim is having another colonoscopy on Sept 7th. It isn't anything to be alarmed of, just standard operating procedure to go back in & check that the portions of his colon that were sewn back together have still healed in the manner that they were supposed to. I'll try to get a video of him waking up from the drugs to put on here...its pretty entertaining :). But back to why we need help...recently a close friend of ours was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He is still at the early stages of the whole journey but it is looking as though he got lucky and it was caught early (which we are all SO excited about). Someone else who is also pretty close to us was diagnosed with colon cancer just last week. Everything is just beginning with that person and we are very hopefully for what the results may be but once again considering they had just had a colonoscopy 3 years ago it was a combination of luck and having the courage to go see a doctor when it seemed as though something was wrong.

Neither of us are really sure how to do this or what needs to be done but one of the things that is so important to us is spreading the word about prevention & early detection. There are so many solutions if things are caught early enough and one of the ways that can happen is to have a yearly physical and if you are old enough or have the family history, to have a colonoscopy on a regular basis as determined by your doctor. Neither event is complicated but it can be inconvenient to find the time to do that appointment and more so it can be scary if you suspect there may be something amiss.

This is where you guys come in...somehow we want to spread the word over the next 2 1/2 weeks to encourage people to get their yearly physicals and schedule the colonoscopy they have been putting off for whatever reason it may be. Just having a doctor ask the right questions every year could help a problem be discovered early on rather than after it has advanced and become a bigger issue. So if you all could tweet, use your status updates, blog, email, write letters, whatever it is that you do, to help spread Tim's story and encourage others to schedule & get their check-ups we would greatly appreciate it. Obviously Tim is getting his, I just had mine & came up clear & even our dog Maddy got in on the action. Apparently she is slightly overweight...guess it runs in the family! :) Plus my mom gives her treats for "being cute," pretty sure I wasn't given cookies for the same reason when I was younger (yep, that's jealousy)... Anyways, its the start of a new school year so why not start it out as healthy as possible? We're hoping to get as many people in on the action as possible but really we have no idea how to track it so any ideas on spreading the word or tracking the progress are greatly appreciated!

Thanks all for the help!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From this weekend

 The Lewis's, the people who always bring the amazing doughnuts brought something new today from the Menonite Bakery. This time it was a cinnamon bun smothered in caramel icing...yes it was amazing.

In an attempt to make it a little more interesting here are some pictures from our trip to Charleston. Click Here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

26 and Counting

I have now been through a total of 26 treatments and number 3 of this latest round. The round before this was not too rough but this round made it all up. I felt pretty good when I got home, I took a short nap and woke up not feeling good at all. And when I say that I didn't feel good I just mean that I was a bit nausious, achey, and just couldn't get comfortable. I was able to eat Cheerios this time, and that is the first time I have been able to eat anything other than smoothies and popsicles over the past 15 treatements.

Jenny and I did our normal grocery shopping on Saturday and ran 1 or 2 more errands before we headed home for the day. On Sunday we just took it real easy and had my brother, Haley, and the beautiful Lilian over for dinner. Lillian is now almost 15 months old and she is just a big ball of energy and so funny.

Jenny left town Thursday to head down to Charleston for her sorority sister Jenny Lacus' wedding. I had to work on Friday before I headed down for the weekend. Jenny stayed at another one of her sorority sisters Megan Smith's house. The wedding was great and Jenny Lacus look beautiful in her dress. After the wedding was over we went back to Megan's house and hung out for a little bit. At around 1:30 or so in the morning her friends took a circle of cake with a candle and sang Happy Birthday to me. It was great and extremly thoughful of them to do that.

Jenny and I woke up Sunday and went to Lost Dogs to eat with Megan and her boyfriend Cameron. After brunch Jenny and I walked around Charleston before making the trip back to Greenville.

It was a fun birthday weekend, but now it is time to get back to work on M0nday. I hope that everyone had a great week.