My grandfather, who I never had the pleasure of meeting (outside of a photograph that exists of me as a baby bumping on his knee) died at age 58 from a brain illness that was never diagnosed. A large man with a boisterous laugh, the disease shrank him and sapped his strength so much so that a man whom had once fought the Nazis in World War II was secluded to a hospital bed. My father's own wedding to my mother was in that very hospital room, so that his father could bare witness before he passed on. There are members of my family who severed ties because they didn't understand the nature of his illness and weren't present at that ceremony.
Then five years ago my uncle John died at 62 from a similar undiagnosed brain ailment. My uncle John S. Hoffman was a visionary climatology scientist who helped to pioneer the green revolution with his company Energy Star that in just the year before his death saved consumers a reported 23 billion dollars on their utility bills and "prevent 210 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — equivalent to the emissions from 41 million vehicles" (NYTimes, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/17/us/john-hoffman-developer-of-energy-star-dies-at-62.html). The smartest person that I have ever met, he was the patriarch of my family with a plethora of knowledge, unquestioned wisdom and a quick wit. He used to talk about solving countless ills of society, who knows what discoveries he could have made if it had not been for this disease.
Now my father, 61, has fallen ill with another brain malady. It is yet again puzzling to all the experts and numerous tests have come back inconclusive. All that we know is that my father's brain has great trauma from multiple lesions. He has lost over 40lbs, most of his strength, mobility and energy. After brain surgery to remove some of the mass causing his brain to swell, bouts on life support and a case of pneumonia, he is bedridden and completely dependent upon doctors and nurses to live. One thing that he has not lost is the will to live. With a spirit as tough as any, he is committed to overcoming this illness and pushing on through adversity. Anyone that knows me knows that I never stop talking about my father, whether it be stories of his past trapping animals, target shooting, meeting Presidents, teaching thousands of students math and life lessons, thousands more in his college business classes, or on his tour buses. His words have resonated with so many for so long, and now he needs our help.
The cost of medical care, combined with losing his ability to work and not yet qualifying for disability is a large burden. Thank goodness for his girlfriend Caryl who has been attached to his hip for years and helping to take care of him. Hopefully with time, doctors will be able to diagnose and treat his condition properly. If we receive enough notoriety we can expand this charity into one to help research a cure for this disease, before another member of my family or I personally develop it. Thank you so much for your time and for caring.
- Bryan Britt
- Shoshana Frishberg-Izzo
- Dana Kragh
- Paul Moore
- John Morrison
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