Car washes in two communities help Portola resident in need
|Fundraising organizer Commander Chad Hermann, left, stands with Haley’s mother, Christy Perkins, Haley Perkins and Jose Carillo, Haley’s stepfather. Ten-year-old Haley has undergone 12 surgeries in four years. Photo by Austin Hagwood|
The gleam of a surgeon’s scalpel strikes fear in even the bravest adult hearts. But for 10-year-old Haley Perkins, the operating room remains a constant reality.
Helping Haley will be the focus of the Plumas County Jail’s car washes in Portola and Quincy on Aug. 3, with all proceeds going to the Perkins family as they grapple with the mounting cost of their daughter’s medical care.
In 2010, Haley cried out in excruciating pain without a visible explanation. Doctors discovered a staghorn kidney stone measuring among the largest ever recorded and gave her a 20 percent chance of surviving the emergency surgery needed to save her life. She was 6 years old.
“Her kidney was functioning at 16 percent, and I was told that if we didn’t do surgery, I would have a year,” Haley’s mother, Christy Perkins, recalled. After 10 hours in surgery, doctors removed the stone.
But Haley’s struggles had just begun. Her kidney continued to produce stones, leading to nine more operations in the span of 10 months. And just as her kidney function returned to 25 percent in 2014, her gallbladder began to fail, leaving her family on the brink of a 13th surgery.
When Commander Chad Hermann learned of Haley’s plight, he knew he had to help.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that even though you have medical coverage, it doesn’t cover close to everything. When you’re making four or five trips down to UC Davis or UC San Francisco, the hotel bills and fuel bills add up,” he said. “Being with the sheriff’s office, our job is taking care of the community. And taking care of the community also happens outside the patrol car. You can’t leave your kids behind.”
The Perkins family has lived in Portola for a year and also spoke of the teasing and taunts Haley has endured while trying to adjust to a new school.
“Being new to a small community like this, it’s hard to get your feet on the ground,” Hermann said. “But Portola’s always been my home, and you do what you can to help others out.”
Haley has refused to let surgeries stop her, and she hopes to become a pediatric urologist and help other children suffering from similar conditions.
“She is by far the strongest person I’ve ever met in my life,” her mother said.“She’ll go into the operating room and I’ll be crying and she’ll look at me and say, ‘Mommy, don’t cry — just pray.’”
Anyone wishing to help Haley can attend car washes at the Kwik Stop K&S Market in Portola, which has donated water and hot dogs to the event, or Les Schwab Horton Tire Center in Quincy on Aug. 3. Car washes start at 10 a.m. and continue as long as customers remain. Everyone who purchases a car wash or makes a donation will receive a slip of paper with an EIN number for tax-deduction purposes.
Those who can’t attend the car wash may still donate via Haley’s US Bank account (number 153755123384). Her family has also started a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/help-save-haley.