"Have a Heart" for Ernie Baca

July 13, 2021

My name is Dr. Jake Weissich. I am a Dentist in Fresno, CA.  A few years ago, a new patient came into my practice and we quickly knew that our relationship would transcend the dental one.  It was impossible not to love Ernie the moment you met him.  His energy is so positive and full of life. It has been my honor and pleasure getting to know Ernie. Over time we have bonded over a lot of things: our love of family, dogs, and surprisingly, baseball, to name a few. Our teams, the Dodgers and the Giants, have the oldest rivalry in sports, but our love for baseball has been the real catalyst for what has turned out to be a wonderful friendship. When I found out that Ernie was going to need a new heart, I was stunned. I thought about how much not only Ernie’s family and friends need him, but the world.  Ernie is a gem who lifts the spirits of everyone he comes across.  I also thought about what it would mean to him if he got a new heart - a new lease on life, a miracle to be sure. 

Let's Help Ernie!

Amazingly, shortly after being placed on the waitlist for a heart, Ernie got one and the surgery happened the next morning.  Prior to getting this surgery, Ernie confided in me that he was excited at the prospect of his new healthy heart but was worried about how his family would handle it financially. They have to move to Palo Alto, CA  for three months and pay Bay Area prices for rent, food, gas, etc. His wife, Marion, would be his round-the-clock caretaker and hence would have to take 3 months off from work. I could tell he was anxious about how he is going to pay for the medical expenses and all the associated costs. Despite his concerns, Ernie never lost his big smile, easy laugh, and excellent sense of humor. In fact, I have recently  been the victim of some serious anti-Giants pranks.  I am doing whatever I can to help my friend and asking you all to help too.  I know that the majority of you don’t know Ernie, but I hope you will consider donating some of your hard earned dollars to help out an exceptionally good guy extend his life. Thank you for your consideration.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MESSAGE FROM ERNIE * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My name is Ernesto AKA Ernie. I am 60 years old. I am raising money to help with my heart transplant. Five years after my discharge from the U.S Army my heart problems started . I had my first heart attack playing basketball almost 30 years ago. I have survived 2 heart attacks since then along with open heart surgery and numerous stent implants. I have had three ICDs (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) implanted in my chest in the last 10 years. They have saved my life a total of 4 times, the last being a few days after Christmas while bending over to pick up some outdoor decorations. This has led me to have Ischemic Cardiomyopathy and Congestive Heart Failure. It has come down to me needing a heart transplant to have a better quality of life. My left ventricle ejection fraction is currently between 10 % and 15% which is very low for my age. The donations being raised will go towards pre and post medical procedures, medication, and housing expenses. I have to stay in the Stanford Hospital area for 3 months after the surgery which my wife and I have to pay out of pocket . Marion, my wife of 37 years will have to take off work for the 3 months after the operation as she will be my caregiver 24/7. 

We have 2 adult children, Melissa and Daniel, 4 beautiful grandkids, Eva, Matthew, Evelynn and Moses. I want to get a second chance at life to watch them grow and to be able to play with them which I am unable to do right now. It is hard to tell them when they ask me to play tag or hide and seek that I cannot right now and have to sit there and watch them. 

My bucket list is mostly made of making it to certain ages. Two of these milestones have been checked off already. The first one was to live longer than my father who passed away at the age of 47. The second milestone on the list was 60 years old, I made that March 27. The next one is in three years so I can make it to 40 years of marriage with my Marion. 

I will take such good care of my new healthy heart because I will forever be indebted to the donor and family who made the choice to make the big decision to offer someone a new heart for survival. That in itself is a hard thing to swallow. That is why I would not take anything for granted and take care of it for them. 

I truly appreciate all the love and support from family and friends who are riding this journey with me. 

Furthermore I want to thank my Dentist and now my friend Dr. Jake Weissich and his great staff who are supporting me to get this gofundme going. Even though Dr. Jake is a San Francisco Giants fan (I am a Los Angeles fan and rib each other about it every visit) he is a very caring person. We need more people in the world like him. 

I want to thank you in advance for any donations you donate. God bless each and every one of you. 


Ernie Baca

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