Published: Friday, September 17, 2021
Multiple health issues have plagued Amanda Galarza for close to half of her 31 years, since she was a teen growing up in Minto in northeast North Dakota.
"I have had multiple surgeries, and I have made many trips to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn....,” said Amanda, now a Grafton married mom of four.
For much of that time, Amanda also has relied repeatedly on help from charitable nonprofit NDAD. She isn’t sure where she and her family would be without that help. For certain, she said, “I wouldn’t have been able to get the medical care I needed.
"I am so grateful for NDAD and all the services they provide,” she added. “I have received a lot of help from them over the years.”
After her most recent of three hip surgeries, she said, Amanda was able to borrow a shower chair and wheelchair at no cost through NDAD’s Healthcare Equipment Loan Program (HELP). For multiple appointments at Mayo Clinic, NDAD provided medical travel assistance.
"They were able to provide help by covering the cost of the hotel rooms as well as providing gas cards.... NDAD is an amazing organization,” she said.
NDAD’s client services representative in Grand Forks, Lora Machart, “has been kind, caring and compassionate,” Amanda said. “She has been amazing. And applying for help from NDAD “wasn’t difficult at all. It was very easy,“ Amanda said.
Galarza has Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a group of inherited disorders affecting a body’s complicated mix of proteins and other substances which provide elasticity and strength to connective tissues, according to MayoClinic.org. She’s experienced an intertwined mix of orthopedic issues, including dislocated joints, degenerative disc disease and the hip surgeries; plus nerve issues, fibromyalgia, random fainting, “migraines and neurological stuff.”
Amanda is a part-time registered nurse who also has provided some respite foster care in emergency situations. Health issues kept her away from work from Altru Health System for most of the spring and early summer. She and husband Bert marked their 14th wedding anniversary in June.
"My kids are what keep me going, and my friends and family have been a really supportive system for us,” Amanda said. She appreciates NDAD’s support, too.