TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Ben Gockel thought he'd perhaps developed Lyme disease from a tick bite when he started feeling sluggish a couple years ago.
Turns out, the 36-year old has a problem with his heart. In June 2010, he was diagnosed with Nonischemic Dilated Cardiomyophathy and congestive heart failure. Doctors speculate a virus might have settled in his heart, leading to the problems. A couple months ago, they told him they'd done all they could and Ben would need a heart transplant.
Now, family and friends are rallying around Ben and his wife, Katy Jo. With their help, the couple is organizing fundraisers to offset costs that could range anywhere from $8,000 to $200,000 or more.
One such fundraiser is coming up Aug. 27 at the St. Marys ballfields. A softball tournament will feature several teams facing off. Team registration is closed, but people who want see about filling out a squad should contact Allissa at 785-608-9808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, a fund for Ben is set up through the National Transplant Assistance Fund. Send contributions to:
NTAF Midwest/West Heart Transplant Fund
In Honor of Ben Gockel
150 N. Radnor Chester Rd., Suite F-120
Radnor, PA 19087
Donations also can be made online at www.ntafund.org and search "Ben Gockel" in the "find a patient" box. Credit card donations by phone can be made by calling 800-642-8399.
The couple says they are grateful for all the help and are overwhelmed by the support.
Watch Ben and Katy Jo on 13 News at 4: