Laurie Gonzales-Lewis of Idaho Falls nearly died during surgery to repair an aortic aneurism. | Courtesy photo
IDAHO FALLS – Members of the community are coming together to help an Idaho Falls woman.
Laurie Gonzales-Lewis recently suffered an aortic aneurism. Brittni Messenger, Lewis’ daugher, tells EastIdahoNews.com the aorta began to expand like a balloon. Fluid began leaking in to Lewis’ heart and started crushing it.
When doctors began surgery to repair the problem, they discovered Lewis had an aortic dissection, which was causing her aorta to unravel from the inside out.
“It was shooting blood clots straight up her brain and down to her leg,” Messenger says.
Gonzales-Lewis’ heart stopped twice during this procedure. She spent the next ten days in sedation. Messenger says her mom was declared brain dead and only given a 15-percent chance of survival.
Then, just two days later, Gonzales-Lewis woke up. For three days, everything seemed normal until doctors noticed something unusual.
“The clots were killing all the tissue. It was causing her excruciating pain until blood flow in the the top half of her right foot stopped,” Messenger says.
Doctors amputated her right leg from the knee down.
Gonzales-Lewis’ condition now requires constant care. Messenger says her step-dad is so busy taking care of her mom that he is unable to work. Disability and insurance benefits don’t kick in until October, leaving them with no means of financial support.
Now Messenger and others are hosting a fundraiser to help with medical costs and a prosthetic leg for Lewis.
The fundraiser kicks off at 5 p.m. Saturday inside York Hall at 954 W. 65th S. Dinner will be served, followed by a raffle around 6:30 p.m.
The cost is $18 for adults, $8 for kids six and up. Kids five and under are free. Each purchase comes with a $5 raffle ticket.
“Anything (people can contribute) is so appreciated right now. It’s been such a hard time for her. It’s completely changed her lifestyle and she’s had to readapt to everything. But it’s amazing that she’s here and we are grateful for the community support,” says Messenger.
York Hall is located in the vicinity of the Budweiser plant.
To learn more about the Benefit dinner and raffle, visit their Facebook page.