Missy Mckay Padgett is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Charles Lavon McKay IV.
Most of Chris McKay’s friends know him for being a musician, a photographer, an activist, or some combination of the three. The truth is that Chris has only done a fraction of what he’s wanted to do over the years. Like many who deal with chronic illnesses, Chris chose to be private about his struggles. Even when he has been performing on stage or working in photography, he’s often been battling his physical condition. Chris has been a frequent contributor to charity, but he had long refused any outside help to his own cause.
Chris’s sister—Missy--set up this GoFundMe when he was in the intensive care unit in the summer of 2018 due to complications from a car wreck that occurred months before. As of early 2019, Chris has been hospitalized on at least 5 separate occasions.
The night he was admitted to the ICU, he had delayed going to the ER because he did not know how he would pay for it.
Chris has been unable to work regularly since early September 2017, when the car in which he and his wife were traveling in was rear-ended by a distracted driver.
Both cars were totaled.
Chris sustained a traumatic brain injury (the effects of which have faded but are ongoing) and will need further PT for the pain and loss of spinal mobility incurred.
Even more serious is the vertebral artery dissection that occurred from the physical trauma of the car wreck. The dissection wasn’t discovered initially and was only found after an MRI when Chris was placed in the ICU. When the previous post-accident MRI was then compared to the current one, they saw that they had, somehow, missed the dissection before.The discovery of the dissection led to an understanding of what’s been happening with the extremely painful episodes that Chris has been having. These episodes involve dangerous blood pressure and heart issues as the brain demands more blood and the heart tries to supply it.
In addition to the mounting medical expenses from ongoing testing, treatment, and therapy being done locally, there have been travel/lodging expenses from having to go to specialized medical clinics. The Mayo Clinics in Jacksonville, Florida and Rochester, Minnesota have accepted his case, each having different areas of expertise. He has been to the Florida Mayo Clinic twice now where they have been piecing together the puzzle and ﬁgured out the connection between the dissection and the episodes. He was scheduled to go to Minnesota in December, but had an episode on the way to the airport and had to cancel.
Chris has been conﬁrmed to suffer from the following: a genetic connective tissue disease (a rare form of Cutis Laxa); vertebral artery dissection; traumatic brain injury; a cerebellar stroke; Meniere’s Disease; dysautonomia; chronic kidney stones; recurrent mycoplasma pneumonia, and vestibular issues that have become acute following the car wreck.
Chris had learned to adapt and to deal with all of his health issues and was doing just that until the accident which brought on the brain injury, spinal injuries, and the vertebral artery dissection. Because of the unpredictable episodes of extreme pain and brain fog, he can no longer make any plans in advance.
As of February of 2019, the insurance company of the at-fault driver has yet to pay anything toward Chris’s medical bills despite the fact that they themselves have counted more than $30,000dollars in medical bills alone (This, of course, does not count lost wages past, present, and future.)
Thanks to the GoFundMe account and friends and family helping out, Chris and Manda were able to get through the summer and fall of 2018. Unfortunately, since then, one credit card bill is already approaching $10,000 as bills keep coming in and they try to pay them on installment plans. With the interest compounding, it’s making a bad situation worse.
Currently, Chris is taking things a day at a time. On a good day,
he can do things around the house, and on a bad day, he can’t do much of anything. On the worst days, he winds up back in the hospital.
He wants it known that since just after Christmas of 2018, he has been having more good days than he was having. He is thankful for that.
He misses performing and photographing. Even going out to visit with family and friends is taxing. Traveling is very difﬁcult these days because of severe disequilibrium that was brought on by either the brain injury or the dissection. Chris still occasionally mixes up words, numbers, and phrases or can’t say communicate ideas. He is self-conscious about a stutter that occurs in the bad moments.
Immediately after the car wreck, he couldn’t play guitar at all. He knew what to do, but he couldn’t get it from his brain to his hands. Fortunately, that only lasted a couple of days.
One of his neurologists has pointed out that the dissection could heal itself. That’s the hope as there’s no treatment currently available. When the pain hits, Chris just has to deal with it until itends. This without the help of any medication stronger than over the counter medications. Sometimes an episode only lasts a few hours. Sometimes, it’s days. When it’s bad enough, he has to go to the hospital for monitoring and to be stabilized.
The doctor said that Chris “should get better eventually”, but it
may take years. In the meantime, he hasn’t been able to tour or travel to photograph events. In fact, he’s mostly conﬁned to work that he can do from home.
Currently, Chris has had all upcoming appointments and physical therapy canceled because of the ﬁnancial concerns. He will, of course, go in for emergencies, but he simply can’t afford to have more added to his bills, especially since the insurance company hasn’t settled to this point.
The only reason Chris has had the resources to get to the bottom of this and get some real understanding of what’s been going on regarding the vertebral artery dissection that occurred from the accident is because of those donating here.
Thank you so much for your support!
THE CHRIS ARMY