Friends of Helaine - Amigos de Helaine

At slightly past 4:30 pm on June 4, 2014 Helaine and Marvin Harthcock were returning home from a day in Guadalajara when, for reasons no one may ever know, their vehicle left the highway, rolled, and crashed into a concrete pole. Both Marvin and Helaine were unconscious and recall little of what happened. They were within 250 meters of the turn off to their home.

                                            Photo taken in 2012
Thus - what otherwise should have been a happy day for the couple turned bleak, and the start of a long and difficult recovery process for Helaine. While Marvin was also injured and required medical attention, his injuries which required more tests and attention as well as stiches, were not life threatening, and he was released following a night in the Red Cross Clinic in Chapala. Helaine’s injuries were however much more serious and after initial care by the Red Cross staff she was rushed by ambulance to hospital in Guadalajara for treatment.

This in brief is Helaine’s story which we are sure many of you will already know, but which we wish to interject here for those who desire a little added history.

Helaine and husband, Marvin, moved to the lakeside area some 18 years ago which was shortly after Helaine was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Doctors advised while there was no treatment, the best thing for Helaine would be to relocate and live in a moderate climate. The couple then in their early 60ies checked out Costa Rica, before driving down to lakeside in their truck and camper. After checking out the area Helaine suggested that they look for a place at Vista Del Lago – since she knew Marvin enjoyed golf and felt that this would give him an activity to keep him occupied. Shortly thereafter they moved to what is still their modest home on the east side of the golf course. Marvin didn’t play much golf as Helaine had expected, but instead the two of them became active in helping and supporting Mexican youth in secondary school, technical school, and even in some cases all the way through university. Soon their home became a mini school house as well as a computer training center. While Marvin was busy doing the teaching and the tutoring, Helaine was busy supporting and doing all the many helpful things a life partner does for a mate.

As the years passed Helaine found the muscles in her left arm and leg becoming weaker because of the multiple sclerosis. Eventually Helaine became confined for a good part of the time to a wheel chair. However that did not stop Helaine. She, with Marvin’s help, remained as busy and as active as she had ever been. Off to Chapala for exercise treatments once a week, off to Ajijic for a new hair style once a week, off to music events, and of course, off to Rotary meetings every Tuesday. Although limited to the use of her right hand Helaine could still write, and she served faithfully as the Rotary Club of Ajijic’s secretary for some time. When she could no longer serve as secretary she took it upon herself to serve as one of the Rotary members who greeted and signed in members and guests at club meetings. While Helaine found it physically challenging she also managed to use their computer and to regularly stay in touch with friends and family via email. Please feel free to explore this great link, which includes many of Helaine’s emails to friends. Pretty cool! Enjoy.

LettersFromRetirees by Helaine

We will now return to details of the accident and to present circumstances.

Early in the morning of June 5th (and exact details are yet to be confirmed) Helaine was sent by ambulance to what should have Hospital Arboledas in the western part of Guadalajara just off of the perferico. For whatever reason although she had their insurance company’s authorization to do so, she was not admitted and was instead taken to nearby Jardines Hospital de Especialidades. While she received some treatment there approximately 20 hours later it was determined that she could be best treated by specialists together with her own doctor at the Hospital Santa Margarita. That night specialists and surgeons began in depth diagnosis and treatment regimens on our friend Helaine.

Early diagnosis indicated signs of concussion, a broken collar bone, a broken upper arm bone, a broken wrist, broken bones in her hand, plus four broken and cracked ribs. A short time later tests revealed swelling in the cranium and that further surgery would needed to relieve the pressure. Next it was discovered that Helaine also suffered a chin / broken jaw bone. Almost immediately afterwards a team of doctors began attending to Helaine’s various injuries and some four hours later, somewhere in the early hours of the morning of the 6th, Helaine was out of surgery and moved into intensive care where she began the slow process of recovery. Helaine’s always perfectly styled hair was noticeably missing. A couple of days later Helaine was moved into a private ward and a few more days afterwards was released to return to her home.

Since hospital tests conducted on Marvin revealed that he needed further medical attention Helaine was transferred one day later to Josefina’s Nursing Care Home located on the carretera between Ajijic and San Juan Cosala, so Marvin could travel to San Antonio Texas for additional tests and diagnosis. During his absence many friends and family visited Helaine regularly. Dr. Santiago Hernandez immediately and regularly attended to Helaine as he had and has done throughout this ordeal. Marvin’s tests revealed that there was no need at this point in time for surgery as had previously been suspected.

Returning eleven days Marvin was soon able to relocate Helaine to their home where he and helper Luz, and friends, began attending to her care. Surprisingly, Helaine’s still weak condition began to deteriorate. More tests revealed that additional stronger antibiotics were what was required.

On Saturday July 12 the new medicines began being applied intravenously, and almost overnight Helaine’s appearance, energy and alertness improved dramatically! Our hopes and are prayers are that from this point onward Helaine will continue to improve. We believe she will!

Needless to say all of the above medical care, including surgeons, hospital care, doctors’ attendance, ambulance services, nursing and personal care, countless medications, as well as hospital fees have continued to mount up. Auto insurance if and when it is paid will only cover a portion of what is otherwise a very significant financial obligation. We already know that the hospital bills alone will total some $25,000 USD, which is roughly $300,000 Mexican pesos, and there are still other expenses to be covered as well. Some of these expenses are now due!

                                          Photo taken in late 2013
Helaine’s condition, given her multiple sclerosis, is not expected to improve beyond what is was before the accident, and may very well worsen as time goes on.

It is with this in mind that we are asking each of you reading this to open your hearts and your wallets and contribute as much as you feel you are able towards this very worthwhile cause. Please use the DONATE button to make your contribution either publicly or anonymously as you may wish. The sooner you donate the sooner many of the large bills can be paid. Both Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

In addition, everyone is also invited to join us for a party / fund rasing event organized by the Friends of Helaine / Amigos de Helaine, here at lakeside.  Everyone is welcome!

                           & FUND RAISING EVENT 

The party and live fund raising event will be held at Vista Del Lago at the Country Club de Chapala located approximately 10 kms east of Chapala, on July 29th, from 3 until 6 pm. Click here to see a driving map. We are trusting Helaine will be able to join us, subject of course to her health at the time.  If you haven't already done so this could be a great chance to say hello!  There will be enterainment by the now almost world famous Mixed Notes Barber Shop Quartet, as well as the Orquesta Filarmonica Infantil de la Ribera de Chapala. There will some short impromptu story telling about Healine's life, plus some silent auction items. The venue and light snacks are being provided courtesy of the Country Club de Chapala.  We are working on a silent auction as well.  Plans are for a great afternoon with a cash bar and a free rose for the first 100 ladies attending, courtesy of the Viva Mexico Resturant.  All of which we are sure you will enjoy!  Oh... did we mention... if you haven't already donated using this site (which is really more convenient btw), you might prefer to bring your cheque book, if you would like to contribute at the event! Similar details regarding this event can be found on posters located in various venues around lakeside.

All funds raised will be deposited in trust and will be used to cover medical care expenses for Helaine. Any surplus funds collected above our goal (with god's help), will be devoted towards Helaine's long term care.

We really do need your help! Thank you in advance for your kind generosity. And one more thing, please email, tweet, share on Facebook, and tell all of your friends about this very worthwhile cause. A big thank you to all of you who have assisted already!
We will undertake to provide updates and more photos for you as Helaine condition continues to improve. So please remember to check back to this page!

Brought to you by the Friends of Helaine / Amigos de Helaine, here at lakeside, in the care of those angels amongst us.

            Coco, Augustine, Danny, Gus, Don, and Terry

    Again thank you to all the other friends of Helaine who have already helped so much.  You know who you are.  Mucho Gracias!
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Terry MacDonald 
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