Christian Services director needs liver transplant

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By Jenny Hartley

A woman who has worked countless hours to make sure local families have food, clothing and other basic needs now needs some help of her own.

Jody Miles, who has served as director of Christian Services for 17 years, needs a liver transplant.

She contracted hepatitis C in the 1980s from a blood transfusion, and the disease has damaged her liver.

In 1991, she was told she would probably need a liver transplant.

Last October, Miles, 56, became severely ill because of her condition. Her liver wasn’t functioning properly, and it caused her to bleed internally. Her lungs filled with blood, and she had to be airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center, where doctors implanted a shunt to ease the condition.

“I’m glad to be here,” Miles said. “I almost died in October.”

Miles is now working from home and started receiving disability payments in January.

She pays $1,700 a month in insurance, and is getting quite an education about the costs of medical care. The helicopter transport to the Charlotte hospital cost $9,000 alone.

The good news is, doctors have told Miles that she likely has another two years before her situation becomes dire.

The downside – she won’t be eligible for Medicare for another two years and needs $100,000 to help get her on a transplant waiting list.

The transplant itself will cost $500,000 alone, with Miles being responsible for paying $300,000 of that. She said she thought she had a $1 million insurance policy, but the fine print read that it would only cover $100,000 in costs for an organ transplant.

“Being sick is an expensive endeavor,” Miles said. “I don’t want to put my family in ruin for a liver.”

At the same time, she wants to live for her husband, Roy, and sons, Caleb, Seth and Nathan. Caleb Miles just learned that his wife is expecting a baby.

“That’s what you live for,” Miles said.

Miles’ good friend, Susan Snipes, wants to do something to help.

Snipes and Miles met in 1978 when Miles came to work at the Lancaster County Department of Social Services. Eventually, Miles went on to found Christian Services with her mother, Helen Warren. Christian Services helps provide food, clothing, furniture and Christmas gifts to needy families in the county.

Snipes is helping organize fundraising efforts to help cover Miles’ medical expenses. An organizational meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Living Water Bookstore, 101 S. White St.

“She has given so much to the community,” Snipes said. “I love her dearly and I think a lot of the community does, too. I feel so passionate about this that I know the Lord will lead me in the right direction.”

The efforts on her behalf are humbling to Miles.

“I always feel selfish,” Miles said. “Why am I worth this? I think of how many people this money could help. I’m a Christian and I believe everything’s going to be all right, no matter what. I want everything to be all right for my family.”

A fund has been set up for donations for Miles.

Checks may be mailed to Jody Miles Transplant Fund, P.O. Box 2112, Lancaster, SC 29721. For details, call Snipes at 283-3003.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151