Help for Karen's Surgery

One of our tribe is in need of assistance. As some of you may know, Karen Gertsen recently had surgery that was to have been the first step in the removal of a cyst from her lower jaw. When pathology reports revealed that the growth was not a cyst, but an aggressive type of tumor, the plan for treatment changed dramatically. Fortunately this tumor is benign, but it is still dangerous and has compromised the condition of her jaw. In searching for surgeons and finding out about different options, Karen was lucky to learn about one of the leading experts in the field.

Very soon she will be undergoing the first of two surgeries during which a portion of her jaw will be removed to get rid of the tumor, and a metal plate will be put in place. After about three months healing time, a second surgery will be performed which involves tissue regeneration using stem cells taken from Karen's hip and will allow Karen to grow new bone. This procedure is by far superior to any of the alternatives. Karen's insurance will cover some of this once her deductible is met. However, because this will be done out of state, there will be expenses for things like travel and lodging for Karen and a caregiver. In addition, there are some things not covered by insurance... such as the multiple CT scans that are necessary but exceed the limits of the policy. There is also the possibility that time away from work could exceed the number of allotted sick days and her pay would take a cut at a time when she can least afford it.

When I say "one of our tribe" I could be referring to the connections made during Karen's teaching career at schools such as Chisholm Trail, Harry Street, White, or Woodland. Or perhaps you knew her at Castle in the Air or Paideia Academy. Maybe you were a fellow student at WIchita Sate University, or earlier when Karen lived in Newton, Kansas and in Stillwater, Oklahoma before moving to Wichita and attending West High (class of '77) Perhaps you were at Camp Wiedemann when she was the assistant director. She may be a friend from Laughing Feet, Dance Reflections, Special Olympics, College Hill swim team or other activities that involve her son, Will. Maybe you know her because you share her love of music and met her at the Winfield Festival or at Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Whatever the connection, you know how special that is. And if you are just a friend of a friend or a friend of the family seeing this and wanting to help, know that you must also be one of those special people. We thank you.

Sharing this via social media or email is especially appreciated.

Donations (71)

  • Laura Genovese
    • $20 
    • 5 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

LuAnna Peck
Wichita, KS
Karen Gertsen

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