WACO, Texas (KWTX) A businessman has come to the aid of a Central Texas nurse who requires surgery for three brain aneurysms.
Michelle RedElk with her two sons. (Courtesy photo)
Michelle RedElk, 35, the mother of two boys ages 11 and 5, is scheduled to undergo surgery Monday at The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Ariz., but because the neurosurgeon who will perform the procedure is out of her health insurance network, she must pay $20,000 up front.
"You never expect something like this to happen ever, especially not at Christmastime," said RedElk, who’s scheduled to fly to Phoenix on Saturday.
“I'm terrified,” said RedElk, who had a bout with cancer two years ago.
“I'm really scared; what happens to my kids if something happens to me?" she said.
Waco businessman Jimmy Meeks, the owner of Advanced Foundation Repair, learned of RedElk’s plight on Wednesday and stepped in to help, although he barely knows her.
Meeks says he challenges anyone who wants to help RedElk to contribute and says he will match the donations.
But whatever the case, he said he promised her she would get to Phoenix.
"I told her ‘OK, whatever it takes. We can't let you miss that flight. I don't care if I have to write a check for the whole amount,’” Meeks said.
Meeks knows firsthand what the consequences of an untreated aneurysm are, which is why he didn’t hesitate to offer to help RedElk.
"My aunt had an aneurysm burst eight years ago. She survived but she lost a lot of motor skills (and) ended up in a wheelchair.”
RedElk, who works as a nurse at Brazos Oral and Facial Surgery, says she can’t thank Meeks enough.
“I'm completely and totally blown away,” she said.
"What do you say?” she said.
“Thank you, thank you. I mean that's not enough.”
Meeks, however, says he’s not looking for thanks.
“You can repay me with brownies,” he told her.
“I don't expect you to pay me back until you're 90."
If all goes as planned, RedElk does not expect a long hospital stay.
“What a great Christmas this will be when i get this fixed and get to sit around the tree with my boys, it will be very special."