I met Kendra ten years ago in California after she moved from Rhode Island by herself, knowing not a soul and with no gainful employment. I was running a career fair at the time and she was looking for a job. It was a Tuesday afternoon - I remember our first meeting like it was yesterday. Well dressed, she introduced herself to me, immediately with a firm handshake and a genuine smile. I asked her what brought her 3000 miles away from her hometown by herself? She explained it was for a grad school she was accepted into, only later to find out she could not afford the tuition. She said she was still determined to stay in California and further her career. We spoke after the career event and immediately bonded and have been the closest of friends since. We later started a business together.
The memories I have of Kendra then are so different from the Kendra I see now. Then: nothing could stop her. I mean, nothing! She was the fastest walker I had ever met, out pacing the busy streets of LA and anyone in her way. Loved to hike. Loved sports. Loved the mountains. Always had to take the stairs. (she was kind enough to wait for me while I took the escalator or elevator). She was anything but lazy. Kendra could network like nobody I’ve ever seen. When she would come into a room her presence alone would not only brighten the room but would brighten everyone’s day. I could go on because we have so many stories over the past ten years, including driving across the country (and that's just one). She had absolutely no health issues to speak of.
Fast forward: About three years ago, after she had moved back to the East Coast, I would visit as often as I could. Upon my visits, I would notice little things that were kind of un-Kendra like. She would get dizzy sometimes. Sometimes really dizzy. I would voice my concern for her or bring it up in conversation the next day but she would look at me with this blank stare in her eyes as if I was crazy. She literally didn’t remember these dizzy spells. It was like the day before didn’t happen. You can imagine how scary that was for me to see but imagine how she was feeling?
Fast forward: Around 2 years ago, things got increasingly worse. She would talk to me about how much pain she was in all of the time. She was having to see specialists about it: neurologists, endocrinologists, ear-nose throat specialists, cardiologists, general doctors and so-on-and so-on. She had been diagnosed initially with Lyme disease, Lupus, RA, possibly MS. Most recently they found a growth on her brain that may or may not need to be taken out. NOW SHE CAN'T WALK without assistance or a walker!!!
This brings us to today: Kendra has been in and out of the hospital on at least 3 occasions, still with just more referrals. The Lyme Clinic alone is not even covered by insurance. I called myself! If I am not there, we webcam every day and she showed me a stack of heart wrenching bills that are over 10 thousand dollars. That's after health insurance! I ask her what I can do to help, to which her reply is always "nothing" and then she cries.
Kendra can no longer work or do the simplest things like get to a grocery store. One of the most gratifying things in her life is helping young kids who are battling emotional issues or forms of autism. I literally would tear up watching her interaction with these kids. It’s all been taken away from her.
For all the reasons above I’ve decided to create this GoFundMe page to not only help Kendra catch up on these medical bills but to help her be able to continue to give herself an opportunity to seek further help. These donations will help her to be able to see more specialists while enabling her to dig out of this financial burden our medical industry has put her in. Kendra has spent her life giving to others while never asking for anything for herself. Today I am creating this GoFundMe page so that we can help out someone who has helped so many others. One of Kendra’s favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill: “ We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”. Please help Kendra during this difficult time if at all possible. She also appreciates everyone’s thoughts and prayers.
- Siobhan Ryan
- Vincent Cho
- Carol and Ray Keiser
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