Winter Storm Watch issued for West Michigan for Sunday

Family asks for donations after man gets Legionnaires’ Disease, heart failure

BELMONT, Mich. -- A family is asking for the public's help after a father was diagnosed with Legionnaires' Disease and heart failure.

The past few months have been tough for the Constant family. Amanda Constant calls her husband, Jason, her rock. Jason has been in and out of the hospital for almost two months and unable to work. He is now in need of a heart transplant.

After a few days of feeling sick, Amanda finally convinced her husband to go see a doctor on May 5. Jason was immediately sent to the emergency room.

“The E.R. doctor said that it was one of the worst cases of pneumonia that he had ever seen, from someone walking into the E.R. and not even looking sick," said Amanda.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

"Next thing you know he looked at me and he said, 'I think I’m dying' and he turned white as a ghost.”

The husband and father of a 2-year-old boy was diagnosed with Legionnaires' Disease, a type of pneumonia often spread by breathing in small water droplets in the air with the bacteria. For Jason, it got worse.

"The doctor came in and said it looks like the pneumonia is attacking his heart and he’s now in heart failure. He’s my best friend. We’ve been married for six years. We’re inseparable. To hear him say that, my heart just shattered and I started crying and I lost it.”

Doctors say Jason needs a heart transplant. Last Monday, they put in an artificial heart pump that only lasts around 3 years. He’s still in the intensive care unit at Spectrum in Grand Rapids recovering.

“He’s hoping to be home by July 3 so he can see fireworks," said Amanda. "That’s his goal, but I don’t know what the actual goal with the doctors is right now.”

The former truck driver can no longer work because of the heart pump.

“He was our only income for the past two years," said Amanda. "I’ve been a stay at home mom. Our whole lives have pretty much been flipped upside down.”

Amanda's made a GoFundMe page for her husband’s expenses as they struggle to keep their family going.

“I have to be strong for Jason because someone has to be strong," said Amanda. "He’s been our rock for the past six years now. It’s my turn.”

The Kent County Health Department confirmed there have been two cases of Legionnaires' Disease reported in May, but they don’t believe the two cases are related or that they are an ongoing health threat to the public.

The Health Department has looked into the matter but has not been able to identify a specific place to test.

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