26-year-old Jeffrey Ortega of Deerfield Beach, Florida, hopes he'll soon raise $42,000 (around €37,000) to have his left foot amputated.
It was more than a year ago that he started a campaign on GoFundMe hoping to get the money. Still, it was just days ago that word of this campaign at long last got out, and so people started to donate.
So far, the 26-year-old has raised $19,900 (nearly €17,550). What with the campaign grabbing headlines, Jeffrey Ortega might just reach his goal.
The man suffers from a rare condition
On his GoFundMe page, the young man explains that he suffers from a rare condition known to medical experts as the Proteus syndrome.
This congenital disorder causes bones, skin and other of the body's tissues to grow much more than they should. This overgrowth is very often asymmetric, meaning that one side of the body can be a great deal out of proportion with the other.
Over the years, this rare condition has taken its toll on Jeffrey Ortega's hands, hips and legs, making them abnormally big and a nuisance.
The 26-year-old says that the only reason he's trying to raise money to have his left foot amputated is that it is now so big it's causing him all sorts of health trouble. It's not that he wants the surgery, he needs it to be able to carry on.
“My foot is a size 15 and my foot is also so deformed that I cannot wear shoes anymore. I had to face the facts that because of the pain in my foot and all the rogue skin on the bottom of my feet that constantly get infected I need to have my foot amputated.”
“In having the surgery this might make me be able to fit in new shoes and be able to get out of my wheelchair,” the man explains.
The surgery will be especially tricky
It is understood that, when they operate on Jeffrey Ortega and cut off his left foot, surgeons will have to make sure that they remove all mutated cells so that, after the intervention, remaining tissues will not grow to an abnormal size again.
Then, after his wounds heal, the man will have to be fitted with a prosthesis. He will also have to undergo physical therapy to learn how to walk again.