TAMPA – Jasmine Le’Shea can’t give enough kudos to the Crossover Church staff and a group of its members for their compassion and support in her time of need.
On July 23, the 27-year-old Temple Terrace resident underwent her second heart transplant at a cost, she said, of close to $1 million. As a result she’s incurred an enormous amount of debt, despite the fact she has health insurance.
With the blessings of church administrators, a church “roots” group aptly named Made 2 Crave Ladies Tampa – because of its focus on “changing their ferocious appetites for food into a hunger for Jesus and healthier lifestyles” – is hosting the Heart & Sole 5K walk on Saturday to benefit the Jasmine Le’Shea Heart Fund.
It is from 8 a.m. to noon on the church campus at 1235 E. Fowler Ave.
The advance registration cost is $25 per person and $20 for groups of five people or more. On-site registration is $30. To pre-register go to www.heartsole5ktpa.eventbrite.com.
Le’Shea, a 2007 University of South Florida graduate who underwent her first heart surgery at age 15, said her medications alone cost $400 a month, an amount that in itself is difficult for her to afford because she is currently unemployed.
But she firmly believes that due to her strong Christian faith and the giving spirit of family, friends and acquaintances like those from the Crossover Church, her needs will be met.
She also believes that the evening she, a member of Living Faith Bible Fellowship Church in Tampa, attended a Sunday evening service with friends at Crossover Church a few months ago was a happening orchestrated by God. It is also where she learned about and subsequently joined the Made 2 Crave Ladies Tampa small group.
“I thank the ladies and Crossover Church because many churches don’t often do this for people outside their congregations,” Le’Shea said. “It shows the love of Christ from the church body.”
Kristi Murrell, a member of the Made 2 Crave Ladies Tampa group, came up with the 5K idea to help Le’Shea. Murrell first learned of Le’Shea’s plight from the Christian hip-hop song, “Weight & Glory” from artist KB. Le’Shea sings the refrain on the song, which references her plight during the second verse.
“As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to help others in need,” Murrell said. “There is an astronomical financial burden that comes along with a heart transplant and we wanted to help relieve some of that so that Jasmine could focus on her recovery.”
Megan Maze, also a member of the Made 2 Crave Ladies Tampa small group at Crossover Church, said they hope to have at least 100 participants and raise $2,500.
“I’m getting to know Jasmine and she has such an amazing spirit,” said Maze, noting that Le’Shea inspires everyone in the group to persevere in their effort to lose weight and get healthier.
“She continually has a smile on her face even after all she’s gone through,” she said.
To find out more about Le’Shea and how you can help, visit www.jasmineleshea.com or www.youcaring.com/JLBF. Donations to the Jasmine Le’Shea Benefit Fund are also accepted at any area Wells Fargo Bank.