2013-04-18 / Front Page

Benefit is Saturday to boost Jesse Kuntz

By Terri Lang

Jesse Kuntz’s love is farming, and he has to give that up because of his illness. However, he is a fighter and hasn’t given up. Jesse Kuntz’s love is farming, and he has to give that up because of his illness. However, he is a fighter and hasn’t given up. On Saturday, April 20, a benefit supper will be held for Jesse Kuntz. In 1987, Jesse was diagnosed with Scleroderma at the age of two. It is believed he was born with it.

The pancake and sausage benefit will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Linton KC Hall.

Jesse is the son of Tony and Viola Kuntz and was raised on a farm east of Linton. He graduated from Linton High School in 2004. Following graduation, he spent his days doing what he loved the most—farming.

He farmed with his father from 1985 through 1995. After his father quit farming, he began farming for his uncle, Jerry Grossman and brothers.

“I loved farming and I really wanted to keep going with that, but I just could not keep up with it,” Jesse said.

In April 2012, Jesse knew he had to give up farming because of the pain and lack of energy he was experiencing.

“It was slowing me down and I just had to quit as I was constantly pushing myself hard, and that was affecting my health even more,” he said.

Jesse said the disease had not actually caused him a lot of pain until the past three years, and the last year, has been extremely tough.

“I always knew the day was coming, but I just did not want to slow down or give in to it,” Jesse said.

Jesse had surgery on his right femur to stretch his leg two inches. To lengthen it, they had to break his leg, and insert a rod and pins. He has also had to have his toes broken and have put pins in them as they overlapped.

Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a group of rare, progressive diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues—the fibers that provide the framework and support for your body. It can also harm internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and digestive tract.

Scleroderma can run in families, but, in most cases, it occurs without any known family tendency for the disease. Jesse is the only member of his family who they are aware of who has the disease.

There is no known cure or no specific treatment for Scleroderma. Jesse has tried a variety of recommended therapies including pain medications, steroid injections, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy and changing his diet.

“I have tried so many different forms of pain relief, and some help for a time, and others have not helped at all,” Jesse said.

At the present time, Jesse is using a 72-hour Fentanyl patch to help him cope with the pain in his right hip and femur.

For Jesse though, the worst part of this disease has been the fact that he has had to give up his passion—farming.

“I loved to farm, and I just miss it so much,” he said. “I remember being on the tractor watching the sun come up and the sun go down, and I miss it.”

Jesse said he is an outdoors person and always loved to hunt and fish.

He is grateful for his parents, Tony and Viola, who have been so supportive and have always been there for him. Jesse thanks them and many of his family and friends, especially his two brothers, Jeremy and his wife, Tiffany, of Linton, and Jason and his special friend, Tiffi Finck of Lehr, who have given him support in so many ways. He also thanks the Linton Hospital and staff for their efforts.

Jesse had a home in the Temvik area but had to sell it, along with many other assets, to help pay for medical bills as health insurance does not cover everything.

Money raised at the benefit will be used to pay for Jesse’s health insurance, medications and treatments. Those wishing to help out but who can’t attend the benefit may send their donations to: Kuntz Fundraiser, BNC National Bank, PO Box 910, Linton, ND 58552-0910.

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