By Denise Dick
An infection moved Ed Port’s fifth surgery two months earlier than expected, and his finances are feeling the pinch.
Port, 42, was born with neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes tumors. Since The Vindicator began following his struggle and he secured health insurance, Port has undergone five surgeries to remove tumors that covered half of his face and portions of his neck, back and ears.
The fifth surgery was scheduled for July by Dr. McKay McKinnon, a Chicago plastic surgeon who has performed all of Port’s recent surgeries.
But in late April, Port developed a staph infection.
“I started not feeling well and my ear started draining,” said Port from his Chicago hospital room.
He originally was admitted to St. Elizabeth Health Center before doctors there advised him to see Dr. McKinnon in Chicago.
Port was admitted to St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, where they cleaned out and packed the ear and administered intravenous antibiotics. Dr. McKinnon then decided that since Port already was there, he would do the fifth surgery last Friday.
Port remains on intravenous antibiotics at the hospital but hopes to be released and to return home this week.
“I’m feeling better than I did,” he said. “I’m still tired obviously.”
The infection, ensuing doctor visits, hospital stays and surgery produced unanticipated bills, and he hasn’t been able to work at his job at an area call center since late April. He doesn’t know when he’ll be able to return, and he’s out of sick time. He cashed in a mutual fund to cover airfare and some utilities, and a disability clause in his homeowner’s insurance policy is covering house payments.
Port, though, still owes money from the fourth surgery last November and doesn’t know the costs for the latest surgery yet.
“I was concerned when all this happened,” he said. “I was worried about finances ... with the fifth surgery scheduled for July, I would have had two months to plan a fundraiser and hopefully at least get the fourth surgery paid off.”
Supporters had been planning a spaghetti dinner fundraiser before his fifth surgery. No date is set.
Tammy Pavolillo of Warren started following Port’s story on Facebook about a year ago and met him at the Canfield Fair.
She was moved by his ordeal and his passion to help himself.
“He wasn’t begging for anything,” Pavolillo said. “He was going out and doing stuff for himself and helping himself. He seems very courageous and very noble to me.”
Now she’s launched a Tupperware fundraiser to help Port. Information is available on Port’s Facebook page, Ed Needs A Miracle. Forty percent of sales will benefit him, and Pavolillo also is donating the portion of sales that normally would go to her.
Anyone who wants to help also can make a donation to the Ed Needs A Miracle fund at either Chase Bank or Edison Financial branches or through his website, www.edneedsamiracle.com.
Port also has been raising money through www.gofundme.com. Go to the website and type in his name to contribute. Though the site says that more than $9,700 has been raised for Port, that money was spent on the third surgery, he said.