Even before Enumclaw resident Martin Nachtsheim , his family knew he needed help. His premature baby, Lincoln, is suffering from serious complications and his wife, Melissa, was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has manifested into liver disease. With very little known about the rare form of illness, multiple appointments and testing have become a reality. They also have a 12 year-old son, Taylor, to think about.
Before the accident, Martin’s family started to plan a fundraiser and auction to help the Nachtsheims pay their mounting medical bills accrued from Melissa and Lincoln’s frequent hospital visits.
Now with the main breadwinner and caretaker in the hospital, the Nachtsheims need more help than ever before.
“This family has had three major things happen to them. It went from ‘a good idea’ to ‘we have to do something,’” said Bree Metzger, Martin’s sister-in-law. “There’s an outpouring of support right now, but what are they going to do 6 months from now, when they still can’t pay their bills? Before the accident they were already behind on their mortgage – they need immediate help.”
Metzger helped them set up a PayPal account through ChipIn for monetary donations and is coordinating an auction to continue fundraising efforts, which will pay for every day necessities such as gas and groceries, as well as the mounting medical bills. Friends and family can follow the family’s progress through a Facebook page dedicated to their story.
Generous community donations have totaled over $2,500 thus far and the Facebook page has almost 400 fans.
“In the first 15 hours, after setting up the Facebook page and ChipIn pages, $2,100 was donated and sent directly to their account,” said Metzger. “One family donated enough to help them pay their mortgage for a month. The outpouring of community support has been incredible.”
The day he was hit, Nachtsheim was leaving work – his first day back as a union welder after a week off caring for his wife. He was going to pick up his children when 26 year-old Tyler S. Nelson hit his vehicle head on, after attempting to pass another car on the two-lane highway. Nelson was pronounced dead at the scene; Nachtsheim sustained severe leg and back injuries that have required extensive surgery.
In many ways, said Metzger, it’s amazing that Nachtsheim is still alive.
“He was in his work truck when the accident happened. If he weren’t in that truck, he wouldn’t have survived,” said Metzger.
He was taken to Harborview with severe leg injuries requiring surgery to his hip and femur. He also has a broken back and underwent an 8-hour surgery this weekend.
Metzger said Nachtsheim is stable and in good spirits, cracking jokes with his family. His sisters, Nikki and JoJo, have not left his side. Still, there remains a long recovery ahead. He will also need repair to his left arm, elbow and shoulder.
Meanwhile, Melissa is getting “sicker and sicker,” said Metzger. It’s difficult for her to get to and from the hospital and she has been discouraged from visiting him because of her weak immune system.
In addition to online fundraising, the family is moving forward with plans for the fundraiser. Metzger said they plan on having a silent auction and raffle at the Enumclaw High School commons, and that they expect about 300 people.
“We wanted to have the fundraiser at the end of February, but once we learned the extent of his back injuries, we’ve decided to push it off till mid-March,” said Metzger. “Everyone wants Martin to be able to come and don’t want him stuck in the hospital, or in rehab.”
While many have asked if the family needs food, diapers or other goods, Metzger stressed that the best thing anyone can donate is money, so the family can work on becoming a stable unit once again.
Even Nelson’s family and friends have reached out to the Nachtsheims and donated.
“Martin is so well loved in the community. If you need anything, ever he’s always the first one there and willing to help,” said Metzger. “When all this is said and done and they are back on their feet, they will turn around and donate to someone else in need. They are very humble people and don’t feel like they should ask for help, but they need it now more than anyone.”