Friday, March 29, 2019

Former Maine firefighter with local ties needs a heart

"Tim is the one that usually will give the shirt off his back for anyone who needs help.” a fellow firefighter stated as he described Tim Smith of Naples, Maine. Now, he needs help.

In 2012, Smith was diagnosed with coronary artery disease. With this diagnosis, he discovered his arteries were narrowing, blocked and or becoming hardened. He ended up with a bypass graft in 2013. Six months later he began coughing up blood, in which they realized part of the bypass graft did not take. He began receiving stents, which is plastic or metal tubing that bypasses the blockage. While the stent had worked for a while, the stents stopped working. Smith’s stents became blocked up and he began to need new stents despite the fact that he was on medications as well as following doctor's orders.

A year after the bypass, doctors had discovered that Smith had built up scar tissue that was surrounding his lungs. His lungs were no longer inflating and deflating properly. Tim received a video assisted thoracic surgery. However, despite the newest surgery, the shortness of breath and chest discomfort continued.
Over the past few years he received seventeen cardiac catherizations and more stents. By November
2018 things began to spiral downhill and Smith began to become more symptomatic. By January he received an angioplasty. By February he had suffered a heart attack. At this point, more stents were out of the option due to the fact there was no more places to work with. Having a heart transplant was the only option since he has also maxed out all the medications available.

Everyone who knows Smith would describe the former firefighter the same way. Smith, 44, is no stranger to serving others and putting others first. In fact, for twenty-two years he had served for the fire service as well as EMS. He began in the fire service in 1992 at the Groveville station and progressed to a captain at the Buxton Fire Department as well as a captain for Naples and the EMS Chief in Sebago.

He was also an instructor for many years throughout Southern Maine. His wife, Shauna, is a paramedic and nurse. Both are accustomed to giving aid and helping others in situations, not receiving it.

Both Tim and Shauna work closely with firefighters in the Windham and Raymond communities. "Tim is a wonderful father, husband, person and fireman,” stated Tony Cataldi from Windham. “He has spent his life being there for others in their time of need and now he needs our help." Firefighter, Gillian Thomas has known Smith and his wife, Shauna, for approximately 20 years. “They have always been dedicated to public safety in some role or another,” Thomas said. “We all cross paths in some way in our jobs, but I was lucky enough to work with both of them a few years ago and still stay in touch on Facebook. A lot of our mutual friends have worked for Tim when he was Chief of Sebago EMS, and with Shauna as a paramedic and RN, so there's a huge family of people gearing up to help them get through this. They have always been there when people need them, so if anyone deserves to be on the receiving end, it's them.” 

That's why on February 5, 2019 it came to a shock that to improve Smith’s quality of life, he would need a heart transplant. A heart transplant was the only way to improve Tim’s condition and still be a father to his two children as well as a husband.

“It really stinks for us to ask for help. We are the ones that are usually assisting others.” Shauna stated.

The Smiths are asking for help due to the fact Tim needs a heart. Transplant centers want to know that the recipient can pay for the organ, in this case the heart, as well as the anti-rejection medications and other medications where insurance seems to have a gap in coverage.

Anyone interested in helping the Smiths can donate via the GoFundMe page called 'Former Firefighter needs a Heart Transplant' or through the bank account that was set up at:  Tim's Transplant Fund, c/o ME Solutions Credit Union, 209b Western Ave., South Portland, ME 04106
For updates and to show your support, you can follow Tim at the Facebook page that was created

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