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Hospital bills mounting: Community servants now need the community’s help

The community donated more than $18,000 in the GoFundMe's first 12 hours

Two people who have given so much to the Salem community are now receiving an outpouring of support.
Two people who have given so much to the Salem community are now receiving an outpouring of support.

SALEM – More than $40,000 from more than 400 people has been raised to help C.J. and Samantha Schaffer.

The Schaeffer’s GoFundMe page has received nearly 2,000 shares and dozens of comments from the public showing their support.

Organizer Deputy Chief Matthew Rickman with Salem Fire-EMS says many of those donations have come from firefighters across Virginia.

The page reached its initial $40,000 goal, which has now been raised to $50,000.


The Salem Fire & EMS Department is pleased to announce that effective February 23, 2020, Senior Firefighter-Paramedic...

Posted by Salem Fire & EMS Department on Thursday, February 13, 2020

Two community servants are now in need of help.

A local firefighter and school teacher now face insurmountable hospital bills after the birth of their son.

Amy Keister, an employee with Salem Fire-EMS, and Deputy Chief Matthew Rickman are working to help take donations for the Schaeffer family.

Not only have expenses piled up after requiring fertility treatments to conceive their son, but complications after birth also continue.

Both Rickman and Keister are working to spread their story via a GoFundMe account that has raised around $15,000 within its first 12 hours online.

Their story was shared online and sent to 10 News:

“C.J. & Samantha Schaffer are both public servants in the Roanoke Valley. C.J. is a career firefighter and paramedic, Samantha is an elementary school educator. After years of marriage, starting a family was filled with peaks and valleys. Seeking help from fertility specialist, they were able to experience the news that their efforts to conceive a child had come true. These fertility treatments are considered elective and not covered by insurance. These treatments are very expensive and left them with a large bill. That did not matter to them, because they had their prayers answered.

After a healthy, but less than normal pregnancy with COVID-19 and social distancing from loved ones, Samantha and C.J. had a healthy baby boy. Anderson James was born healthy and at full-term. However, the problems for Samantha were just beginning. Having some complications immediately after birth, Samantha was swept away to the operating room for life saving surgery. Her condition resulted in being cared for in the surgical intensive care (SICU). Samantha’s situation was tenuous, being left in acute renal failure, nearly blind in one eye and without contact with baby Anderson, there was an uphill climb in front of her.

Doctors in the SICU quickly realized the need to transfer Samantha to Charlottesville, Virginia for more specialized care. Before Samantha was transferred, she began receiving renal dialysis to filter toxins from her blood due to her renal disease. She also was able to hold Anderson for the first time just hours before being transferred.

In Charlottesville, renal specialist continued with a battery of tests and the continuation of renal dialysis to help stabilize and potentially restart Samantha’s kidneys. The efforts allowed the doctors to arrive at a diagnosis of HELLP syndrome, but her condition remained after treatments.

After some time in Charlottesville, C.J. and Samantha were in a position to be discharged home with a permanent dialysis port and a renal dialysis schedule of three times a week, four hours each day. She would also need to see a retina specialist to work on restoring her vision and hematology/oncology visits for infusions of medication to help restart kidney function. Her discharge also meant that she and C.J. could be home with baby Anderson and care for him like any new parent should.

C.J. and Samantha are modest, hardworking people that deserve a break in life. Their medical bills and associated costs seem insurmountable. They remain steadfast in their faith and take happiness in their time together with baby Anderson. However, their course as new parents is anything but ordinary.”

Donate to the couples GoFundMe here.


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