Fundraiser to help school bus driver

Linda Marks never thought her life would change so dramatically in the early morning hours of Oct. 18.

Marks, 56, a longtime bus driver for the Warren Local school district, woke up when the alarm sounded at 4:30 a.m. telling her it was time to get up for the route that day, recalled her cousin, Penny Hall, 65, of Vincent.

When she tried to get up, she fell to the floor.

She had suffered a stroke and it wasn’t long before doctors in Marietta determined Marks needed a heart transplant.

Because of all the expenses the Marks family is incurring to travel back and forth to Columbus, the family, with Hall in the lead, are organizing a spaghetti dinner July 20 at Warren High School, 130 Warrior Drive, Vincent.

Marks said her family has completed 21 trips to Columbus since mid-February.

Organizers hope the benefit will help with all the related expenses of those trips – gasoline, lodging, food, anything that Marks’ insurance doesn’t cover.

“The expense is unbelievable,” Marks said.

That morning in October, Hall said after Marks fell to the floor she couldn’t get to the phone and her husband was not at home. Fortunately, Hall said, a neighbor noticed Marks’ car still in her driveway and knew that was not typical.

Marks has had a long history of medical problems, including asthma, before the stroke, Hall said.

A consultation with Dr. Joseph R. Mayo with the Memorial Health System led to a diagnosis. He also spoke with Marks’ sister, Treva Crock. The two have similar health issues. However, the medication was working for Crock’s condition but not for Marks, making the transplant a necessity.

“I had no idea I had anything wrong with my heart,” Marks said. “Testing found the problem with the heart ejection fraction on my heart was only 15 percent. It’s supposed to be 60 percent.”

The heart ejection fraction measures how blood is being pumped through the heart with each beat, according to my.clevelandclinic.org.

Hall said her cousin often is the one to organize benefits of this nature. She’s also the one to buy coats or food for her young passengers if they need it.

Marks said she is thankful to be near the top of the heart transplant list, although it could be six to eight months before a heart is available.

Doctors have told her that she will be on several medications, taking 45 pills per day, and she’ll have to spend eight to 10 months in the hospital during her recovery.

“I am on pins and needles waiting on the almighty call,” Marks said.