When Charles Kibby drove up to Norfolk with his wife and 12 year old daughter, he was looking forward to a nice visit with his son, who was briefly on the East coast for military training. He had weighed the risks and taken early precautions, and he never expected that the three day family trip would turn into a prolonged hospital stay and leave him fighting for his life.
On the afternoon of Saturday, November 7, Charles started complaining of chills and his inability to get a full breath. Within two hours, he was in the Emergency Room and received a positive result for COVID the next day. The following weeks were a whirlwind. He was admitted to the ICU and slowly began to recover, but when his oxygen levels plummeted again he needed to be intubated and subsequently flown to a nearby hospital that offers a specialty treatment called ECMO. Charles’ lungs are severely damaged from COVID, and even with ECMO oxygenating his blood for him, he’s facing a steep and difficult uphill battle.
For anyone who knows Charles, they know he is by far the brightest light in every room he enters. As a 6’6” redhead he’s more than a little hard to miss, but even without his impressive stature, you would never be able to forget him (though his size does make him the self-reported best bearhug giver ever).
He’s always laughing and cracking jokes, and his family believes it’s impossible for him to go to a new place and leave without making at least one new friend. Any time he volunteers at a comic or tattoo convention, his two biggest passions, he comes home with more stories, more friends, and (to the eternal exasperation of his wife) more art to adorn his body or the walls of his man cave.
Charles married his wife in 1996, and together they’ve raised two daughters (24 and 12) and one son (23). He is more proud of his kids than anything else in the world, and his family is pulling for him with all of their hearts as he battles this illness.
I’m organizing this campaign to take some weight off of the family, letting them focus on getting Charles the best care possible while holding themselves together. ECMO is a treatment that can last for months, and afterwards, he'll still need many months of rehabilitation and care.
The Kibby family lives in Greenville, SC, but Charles is stuck at a hospital in Norfolk, VA. The emotional difficulty of being separated aside, hotel and travel costs for the family throughout his long recovery period are going to pile up. Add those to medical bills, the cost of long-term rehabilitation and care, the loss of primary income from his inability to work, the normal bills of owning a home, raising a young child, and… it’s a lot.
His family is emotionally taxed and overwhelmed, and the last thing they need right now is to drown in financial worries on top of it all. Every contribution will go directly toward supporting Charles’ medical care and the stability of his family.
The last thing Charles told his wife before he was intubated is that he’s determined to kick COVID’s ass and walk out of the hospital on his own, but the reality is that his family is going to need every ounce of help they can get to make his goal a reality.
From the bottom of my heart, I am asking for your help for my brother and his family in these trying times. Anything you can contribute will allow his family to focus on what’s important right now - getting Charles better and pulling the family through this battle for his life with sanity and health intact.
❤️Tawnia & Kibby❤️
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