A Birdsboro man's life hinges on a single phone call.
It's a story 69 News has been following since 2004. We've got an update on Berks County resident John Maicher.
Stacks of sports cards cover the floor in John's room.
"I've been collecting cards for over 21 years."
For him, collecting hockey and baseball cards isn't about the money-- it's for a love of the game. And the hobby helps get him by.
"That's what you gotta do," smiled John. "You just gotta stay happy, stay positive, look on the bright side of life."
John has never been 100% healthy. He was born with a condition known as gastroschisis.
Complications from the deadly disease led to a liver transplant in 2006. The surgery was supposed to make him better.
"As time wore on things just got worse," he said.
The problems landed John back on the transplant list. This time it's for more than just his liver.
"Liver, pancreas, small intestine and stomach, and the stomach and the small intestine are the ones I really need the most."
The multi-organ transplant is his only way out, but it's a highly risky procedure.
"You can't do one and then a couple months later do another, and then a couple months later do another; it all has to be done at one time," said John's mother Sandy Maicher.
The entire family has their bags packed and waiting by the door, ready to run the second the phone rings.
John's surgery will take place at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. Afterwards he will have to relocate to the city for three months of follow-up care.
"We were told at that point it could be anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 or $4,000 a month to rent a place down in Washington D.C., to live," explained Sandy.
Add that to the cost of medications, the hospital stay and the surgeries, and saving John's life turns into an expensive ordeal.
"He is my son, and he is my only son, and you know I just pray that it all works out okay."
John's condition has never held him back. He graduated from college and has big plans for the future. He just needs to get healthy first.
"Get married, have kids, have a family, and a cat," smiled John.
A recovery fund to help with medical expenses has been set up for John and his family.
Donations can be sent to:
John Maicher Medical Recovery Fund
513 Kimberton Road
Phoenixville, PA., 19460