IDAHO FALLS — The next year is going to be a difficult one for Jase and Kimorie Sterling and their three children.
The Idaho Falls family experienced major upheaval in their lives this year after Jase suddenly became very sick. He was diagnosed in August with congestive heart failure — an ailment that destroys the heart’s ability to effectively pump blood throughout the body.
At the time he was working as a supervisor at Asphalt Maintenance Inc. in Idaho Falls, but had to leave his job due to the severity of his illness. After the diagnosis, he was hospitalized on more than one occasion.
Despite the efforts of local doctors Jase’s condition continued to deteriorate, and in early October he was brought into the hospital in dire condition.
“My doctor told my wife that we have to get him on a helicopter and go,” Jase told EastIdahoNews.com. “Thank goodness they life flighted me down (to Utah) or I wouldn’t be here to tell you about it.”
He was flown to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah where doctors worked to get rid of excess fluid that was accumulating around his heart and lungs. He was given an Impella Heart Pump, to temporarily stabilize his condition, and placed on the heart transplant list.
Due to the severity of his condition, he was placed high on the list, and managed to get a new heart within a few short weeks on Oct. 30.
But his ordeal was far from over — as recovery from a heart transplant can take a year or more.
For the next year, Jase will have to live with a relative in Utah where he can stay close to his transplant hospital. His family will remain in Idaho where his wife Kimorie works and his children attend school.
Recovering from the transplant also means Jase will be out of work for an extended period of time.
“Jase was the main breadwinner, and so the family has lost that income,” said Jamie Hymas, a relative that is helping raise money for the family. “But life still goes on — and they still have bills to pay and expenses.”
To help with the loss of income, and the expense for Kimorie to repeatedly travel between Idaho Falls and Murray, family and friends have organized at benefit dinner in St. Anthony to raise money.
The dinner will be held at 487 North 2290 East in St. Anthony at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. There is no cost to attend the benefit dinner, but there will be plenty of opportunities to make donations to the Sterling family. There will be a large raffle drawing and an online auction.
“Every penny will go to Jace and Kimorie and helping them out during the next year,” Hymas said.
For those that cannot attend, but would like to donate to the family, there is a Venmo account at @SterlingFamilyBenefit.
Jase tells EastIdahoNews.com he is grateful for all the support from the community and for the new heart.
“I am thankful to be able to have a second chance at life with my wife and kids and hopefully see my grandkids,” he said.