Congratulations...It's A Ministry!
Updated: Jan 24
Welcome to Dayenu Ministries! It warms my heart and soul to think you might want to be a part of this great ministry.
My name is Darryl Cheeks, and I am the founder of Dayenu Ministries. In 2014, I was diagnosed with a very rare and life-threatening disease called Scleromyxedema. This disease is so rare that it did not receive its own diagnosis code until about three years ago. Approximately one in 200 million people are diagnosed with this disease. Although there are less than 200 documented cases of this condition, many people probably live & die from this disease before ever receiving a diagnosis. There is no known cure and the hope is simply to slow the progression of the disease. The disease presents with an overproduction of mucin and fibroblasts throughout the skin and soft tissue of the body. The goal of treatment is to keep the disease progression in check and slow it’s advance to the internal organs, when it often proves fatal.
In 2015, I began receiving treatments for my disease called Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG). For the first three years, this treatment was relatively effective at holding my disease at bay. My skin began to deteriorate, and my joints became stiff, but I was managing. Then in 2017, my IVIG began to become less and less effective. My disease began to progress and to make matters worse, my body began to reject and fight the treatment itself. This led to my first grand mal seizure in May of 2017. I was in a medically induced coma, on a respirator, for five days.
After this seizure, things got really bad. My doctors were at a complete loss on what to do, as all the medicines and treatments they prescribed, were proving to be ineffective and often causing more harm. In early 2019, my family and I decided to go for the gusto and get a stem cell transplant. Now would you believe that right in the middle of that planning, I had another grand mal seizure in June of 2019. This one, was far more aggressive, as I almost died and was in a coma on a respirator for nine days.
After my seizure in June, I was just barely stable enough to receive stem cell transplant in October of 2019. Perhaps because I was so compromised going in, this transplant had only minimal and transient benefit. I was in the hospital for about 60 days and returned home in December of 2019, to still be quarantined for several more months, as my immune system recovered from the transplant. Then, would you not know it, the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. This further made my situation even more precarious, as now I was now in a “high risk” category with a compromised immune system and needed to take even more precautions because of the pandemic.
Presently, my doctors are still trying to find the right mix of drugs and treatments to keep me here on God’s green earth. Unfortunately, things became more complicated for me as the disease reached my kidneys in August of 2020. As a result, I now have Thrombotic Microangiopathy and Membranous Nephropathy, which has seriously debilitated my kidneys. My team of doctors at Rush Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins, are now trying to save these organs while simultaneously still working to slow my disease.
For over 30 years, I have been a minister of the gospel of Christ. When I had my second seizure in June of 2019, it forced me to resign my pulpit ministry with the Waukegan church of Christ in Illinois, because my disease left me unable to open my mouth or speak at that time. Having served as a pulpit minister for 27 years, at that point, this was both alarming and unfamiliar. I now had all this time to recover but went from 60 to 0, in what I felt was my physical servitude of our Lord and Savior. Wow, this really was difficult for me. What exactly was I going to do? I was not only constrained by my disease, but additionally confined by COVID-19.
I began thinking. How can I still be active for my Lord and get beyond so many roadblocks before me? I knew it would have to be something that would allow me to navigate the pandemic temporarily, but be wholistic once things returned to our “new normal.” I came up with Dayenu Ministries. A ministry that recognizes that we are blessed to serve. A ministry that will work with our underserved communities, meeting needs and sharing the Word of God. I will not go into deep details here on the ministry, as we have developed a wonderful website for you to explore.
Finally, I have found a way to meaningfully serve others in spite of MY new normal of physical limitations. While bed ridden (for the most part), I can still stay on the battlefield for my Lord. Of course, I have been tempted to ask God, “Why have you allowed me to bear such a burden with my health?” God answered and said, “Because you can my servant. Now go and reach others that could not have been reached before your illness.” I now feel one with my God, more united with my wife, building a better legacy for my children and useful to my community.
Welcome again to Dayenu Ministries!