UFC Middleweight Dan Miller needs our help.
I thought long and hard about how I was going to write this story and at the end of the day I thought it best if I just kept it simple.
While most of us carry the pressures of paying bills, performing well at our jobs and keeping our kids safe and healthy, Miller has all of those every day issues on top of raising a nearly two-year-old son who has a disease most of us have never heard of.
Dan Miller and his wife Kristin will celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary this Friday, December 2, just one day before a Super Seminar will be held at AMA Fight Club to raise money for their son Daniel Jr., who is just under two years old. The Millers have had a rough go of it when it comes to their children as they lost a daughter one day after she was born on March 19, 2009.
Daniel Miller Junior was diagnosed with Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease while his mother underwent her 28th-week ultrasound.
During the examination the doctors noticed there was a cyst on his kidney. During the next ultrasound it was determined that the other kidney had a cyst on it as well. At the time the doctors prepared the Millers for the worst-case scenario, which unfortunately is how things have turned out thus far.
PKD is a genetic disease that at first affects the kidneys and later on can move on to the liver as well. The kidneys develop multiple cysts in groups and eventually will inhibit the kidney function. Daniel Jr’s kidneys are about three to four times the normal size for a child his age. According to the United States Library of Medicine, PKD affects nearly 1 in 1,000 Americans.
Life for Daniel Jr. consists of a lot of medicine, shots and doctors visits. He was implanted with a G Tube because when his kidneys were in they were too large and he couldn’t eat as much as a child his age should. His diet was full of protein, fat and a lot of calories. Now that he no longer is fed through the tube, he eats like crazy.
During the summer DJ received 17 hours of dialysis every night. At the present time he is closer to 12 hours. Depending on how he reacts to the dialysis, he wakes up and plays like a normal kid. He loves his six-month old sister, animals and is a big fan of karate. He has his blood taken once a week and has grown so accustomed to the lab techs that as soon as they are done he is smiling and waving at them. At two years old he is a lot tougher than most grown men I know.
Daniel Jr. comes from a family of fighters as both his dad and his Uncle Jim are both in the UFC. In fact, it seems as though Daniel Jr. has begun to recognize his dad when he sees him inside the Octagon on television. Kristin told Dan that their son got excited and was pointing at the television when he saw him. He also recognizes Uncle Jim as well.
The Millers spend a lot of time together as a family. Whether they are playing with his toys or he is hanging out with his dad, mom and baby sister, Daniel Jr. loves to play, just like any other two-year old little boy. Daniel Jr. loves the family’s two dogs and cats. He also loves his grandparents' three dogs; he will sit there and watch them intently with a smile on his face.
For all Daniel Jr. goes through on a daily basis he is an extremely happy child and that is a testament to Dan and Kristin, who foster a fun and loving family environment.
While little Daniel’s operation is covered, his great aunt Kathy, who is donating her kidney, will not have her procedure covered by her insurance. On top of the cost of the procedure for his aunt, Daniel Jr. will have to take anti-rejection medicine once the operation is completed. At this time there is no exact figure on the cost of the meds, but the estimate is in the ballpark of $7,500-10,000 per month.
The doctors have told the Millers that it could take a day or two for the new kidney to begin working. If all goes well Daniel Jr. can expect to be home in two weeks. The doctors will be constantly monitoring Daniel Jr, drawing his blood and making sure he is able to go to the bathroom without any complications.
Daniel Jr. will have to take the anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life. Insurance will only pay for three years of that medication, forcing the Millers to pick up the cost. Once Daniel Jr. is old enough and has insurance of his own he will be responsible for the costs associated with the medication.
Even though the amount of money is a lot to consider, the idea of Daniel Jr. being old enough to cover the costs himself brings great pleasure to those who love him. Success brings a great price at times and in this case it is well worth every penny.
So now that you’ve had an opportunity to understand what Daniel Jr. goes through and what he has to look forward to, we can get to the heart of the matter. Operations and medications are expensive as I have explained earlier. With the help of some very caring people who know the Millers we are being given an opportunity to do our small part.
Mike Constantino is the Miller Brothers coach at AMA and is the one who set up the Daniel James Miller Foundation. The goal is to raise $100,000 to help the Millers offset some of the medical costs associated with a kidney transplant operation. On Saturday, December 3 there will be a super seminar held at AMA Fight Club. For those of you who want to help as well as meet some terrific people this is your opportunity.
Just to show you how humble Dan and his wife Kristen are they were not on board with the seminar. Constantino and Jim set things in motion therefore giving Dan no chance to say no.
The morning will begin at 9:45 AM with a welcome and introduction. Along with Dan and Jim Miller, UFC middleweight Chris Weidman, UFC welterweight Charlie Brenneman and Ultimate Fighter alum Andy Main will be in attendance. From 10-12, there will be a no-gi MMA/BJJ/wrestling seminar run by Jim and he will be assisted by the other fighters in attendance. If you choose to attend the grappling-only portion of the seminar the cost will be $100.
From 12-1 lunch will be served with the food provided by the Miller Family. At this time there will also be a meet and greet. Those in attendance can expect to be fed very well and are encouraged to bring cameras so they can take photos with the fighters.
From 1-3 AMA’s head Muay Thai instructor and Muay Thai champion Kaensek Sor Ploenjit will teach many of the sports' techniques. He will be assisted by the other fighters in attendance. For those of you who just want to attend the striking-only portion of the seminar, the cost will be $100.
If you decide to spend the whole day the cost will be $175. When you think about the experience that is being offered and how important your donation will be, it seems like very little. It’s not every day you get to train and eat with UFC fighters for over five hours. It’s also not every day that you can make a huge difference in someone’s life like you can this coming Saturday.
There will also be raffles and prizes made available. Some of the prizes you could bring home are the shorts Jim wore in his UFC debut against David Baron at UFC 89. Jim took home the "Submission of the Night" bonus that evening. Other memorabilia being offered are shirts, gloves, trunks and memberships at AMA Fight Club. If you are not able to attend you can always make a monetary donation by visiting this website.
A lot of us tend to take the health of our children for granted. It doesn’t make you a bad person; it's human nature. For me, I know from my own experiences that without the help of some very talented doctors and the donations made by total strangers I would not be here today.
I was born in 1974 with a congenital heart disorder; I had closed heart surgery when I was just three weeks old. I was one of the first infants to have a heart operation–it simply was too risky back then. After more surgery and the implantation of a pacemaker at the age of three, I stand here today.
I am also the father of two beautiful children and thank God every day that they are healthy. I realize just how lucky my wife and I are and I will never take their health for granted. As long as I am alive I will be grateful and I will do whatever I can to help those who are in need.
If you have any questions or need assistance please do not hesitate to contact me. You can email me at BryanLevick@Gmail.com or hit me up on Twitter, my username is @BryanLevick.