Help Roxanne Recover

Roxanne, a dear friend and colleague, is recovering from a life-changing medical tragedy. One year ago, Roxanne developed bacterial meningitis. Due to complications from the infection, Roxanne suffered amputations of her hands, her feet, and part of her nose. She needs your help to recover.

Roxanne is a smart, kind, compassionate, resilient, and inspiring person. Before her battle with bacterial meningitis she worked as an elementary school principal in our district. She is working hard to be able to return to the school district as soon as possible, but she needs our help to get there.

How did this happen?

On Memorial Day in 2016, Roxanne ran a 5k race that she remembers as “the worst race of my life.” She felt winded and unwell, and finished last in the race. Three days later she was so ill she passed out. Her husband, Mark, took her to the hospital.

She was placed in intensive care. Her bacterial infection was so severe her organs started shutting down and she nearly lost her life. She spent nine weeks in the hospital. She developed irreversible tissue damage in her hands. Both hands were amputated before she left the hospital.

She also suffered irreversible tissue damage to her feet and nose, but doctors postponed the additional amputations until she had recovered from her hand amputations. Her right leg was amputated below the knee in November 2016. Her left leg was amputated below the knee in January 2017.

Where is Roxanne in her recovery process?

Roxanne is in regular physical therapy to learn how to walk (and, hopefully, eventually run) with her two leg prostheses. She is working on her balance, strength and endurance. With the help of occupational therapy, she has already mastered doing her makeup, preparing breakfast, feeding her dog, brushing her teeth and collecting the mail – all without fingers.

She is also learning to drive (see the short video in the Update section). Finally, she is undergoing a series of surgeries to restore her nose, part of which is missing due to complications from the infection.   

How is she holding up?

Roxanne has an amazing attitude that inspires us all. She has kept her sense of humor intact, and remains upbeat. We were watching a video of her at physical therapy, balancing on a Bosu ball (an upside down balance ball – we will post that video later in one of her updates). I said, “I’m amazed you can do that with your leg prostheses!” Roxanne said, “I’m amazed I can do that, too. I don’t think I could have done that before my amputations!”

Roxanne eventually hopes to inspire others with her journey, perhaps through a blog. As she said to more than one of us, “I want people to know the darkness doesn’t last forever.”

How can I help?

Roxanne needs your good wishes, your donations, and for you to share her story with as many of your friends as possible. She has many expenses to cover, including her share of the costs of her multiple hospitalizations and surgeries over the past year, the cost of her nose reconstruction, and purchasing additional durable medical equipment and prosthetics to help her make her way in the world.

At this point, it is impossible to anticipate all of the costs Roxanne will face as she continues to recover. A study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development  estimated the lifetime costs of a single lower-limb prosthesis at between $1.4 and $1.8 million dollars.

We understand that a single GoFundMe campaign cannot provide all of the resources Roxanne will need to recover; however, this campaign CAN provide the resources she needs to resume living and working independently again. I hope you will find it in your heart to help her.

All donations are appreciated. On behalf of Roxanne, thank you for caring.

Please donate now.

With sincere thanks,

Kelly, April, Tracy, Roxanne’s friends and supporters, and Roxanne
  • Cindy Rovello 
    • $50 
    • 48 mos
  • Tom Costa 
    • $100 
    • 52 mos
  • Natalie Fazeli 
    • $50 
    • 52 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 52 mos
  • Enrique Lopez 
    • $100 
    • 53 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Cosmo Kelly Altobelli 
Los Angeles, CA
Roxanne Ouweleen