Hope and Relief for the Whitakers

The Beautiful Couple

Sometimes in life there are people that everyone wants to be around because of the joy they bring to others. Daniel and Kim have always been those kind of people. While others often remark about their physical beauty, it is their inner beauty that is even more striking, and even more highly spoken of. They have always been full of life, laughter, and fun, most certainly the life of any party. They have had Christ-centered faith through many trials, have been steadfast in their 28 year marriage to each other, and have been genuine and real in their relationships with all of us. The events of the last 9 months wouldn't be wished on anyone. It is especially tragic to know the struggles they have faced after having been so dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle. 

Life Changes

At a time when most couples nearing 50 are saving for retirement, Daniel and Kim made the decision in January 2017 to purchase a larger home to accomodate their daughter, Summer, son-in-law David, and their 2 children with one on the way. It was important to them to help support David as he completed his education, and the only way to make it work was to share their home and financial resources.  Kim had just started a new, exciting nursing job with better pay and benefits, and far less stress than her previous position as a highly commended psychiatric nurse. Their old house sold quickly and they had a very short window to purchase a new home. On June 30th, they all moved into the new home, as Kim was completing her initial training for her new job. Although the changes were good, "change" is often stressful...and Kim experienced several major life stressors in a very short period of time: new job, consolidating households, financial concerns, moving, and health issues. 

Downward Spiral 
On July 1st, Kim's world came crashing down. Daniel took her to the ER due to cardiac symptoms (the first of many panic attacks that would later be crippling) and a myriad of tests and procedures and trips to multiple specialists followed in the next few weeks/months. Kim began experiencing daily, scary health symptoms with no known explanation: vertigo with nausea, numbness/tingling in head and extremities, severe headaches, blurred vision, malaise, skin problems, extremely low blood pressure, and the list goes on.  Kim was unable to continue in her new job, they lost their insurance (have been paying Cobra at $1400/month since August) and were now down to one income for the household. Throughout the process, a problematic genetic issue further complicated every aspect of treatment, and bloodwork revealed other concerning findings but no definitive explanation for any of her current symptoms. Kim being the ever-avid student of healthy nutrition and lifestyle, desperately searched for answers. Unfortunately, the answers she found only served to increase her anxiety, depression and hopelessness as her pre-existing fears of becoming "unhealthy" were becoming a reality to her with no known hope of relief.

The Devastating Blow
Once a fear takes hold, it can become an obsession, and once the obsession takes hold, it can debilitate one's life. For the last 9 months, this has been the case for Kim, and slowly but surely it robbed her of her joy, hope, and happiness and affected every aspect of her life. Her anxiety and depression increased by the day to the point that she can't sleep, can't eat, and she lost a tremendous amount of weight. She no longer has the motivation to do previously enjoyable activities, to perform daily functions at home, or to interact with others, and she certainly lost her smile and ability to laugh - that infectious laugh we all know and love.  Daily crying spells, desperation, and dark thoughts have plagued her. She sank into the deepest, scariest kind of depression, and slowly began to have passive thoughts of suicide. For someone with the Christian faith Kim carries in her heart, the fact that she would even contemplate dying is devastating; and likely shocking to those hearing this for the first time.  Seeking psychiatric care, she was praying and working with Daniel and the family to pull herself out of her hopelessness.  At home, Daniel and Summer worked tirelessly to ensure Kim was always safe, always ready to call for a crisis eval if necessary. That time came the morning of 3/7. Kim texted her son, Brandon, a very concerning message and simultaneously Daniel found Kim crying and speaking incoherently in their bedroom that she had taken too many pills from one of her prescription medications. She spent the day at the hospital being medically tended to, and is now voluntarily hospitalized in an effort to seek more intensive and much needed mental health treatment. The family is devastated, heartbroken, and desperate for healing for the previously happy, full-of-life Kim. 

The Financial Burden
In the midst of it all, in October 2017, Daniel was laid off due to unfortunate circumstances within the company that despite best efforts, couldn’t be helped; it was devastating for both him and his employer, as they are close friends as well. Because it was contract work, there is no unemployment benefit, and no severance.  He has been working daily at various odd jobs utilizing his general handyman/jack of all trades skills just to keep the lights on and pay the mortgage; his son-in-law has been helping as well amidst his schooling. He has had a few failed promises of full time work, and is awaiting another offer which hopefully comes soon (NEEDS to come soon). Several friends and family have assisted, but even as we have, it will not be enough to sustain the household with all the extra expenses being incurred to help restore Kim's mental health. All savings have been exhausted during the last several months due to COBRA, household costs, and medical expenses already in the thousands. The 2018 deductible of $5,000 has also yet to be met, so all recent medical expenses are out of pocket completely, and the current hospitalization has been estimated to cost $5,000-10,000 out of pocket AFTER insurance coverage. This total is obviously a moving target as no one can predict at this time how long this process will take, or how much more treatment will be needed.  By all signs, based on the level of disability this mental illness has caused, it is going to take quite some time to bring Kimmy back.

The family is under no delusion that anything will be a quick fix. Daniel is absolutely committed to helping his bride recover, and he will do anything he needs to in order to ensure she has the treatment(s) she needs. He wants his family to be able to remain in the home, but the reality is that it may not be able to happen. If not, Summer and David will be moving to Kentucky near David's family, which will be devastating to Daniel and Kim losing that daily connection. They, likewise, will have to move once again and perhaps may have to live with a family member.

How We Can Help
Daniel is committed to doing any and all of this, but surely we can help! We give them our love, our support, our prayers! They need all of that! Please keep it all coming! They ask for nothing more than that! But sometimes the humble-hearted need a louder voice to advocate for them, and today I would like to ask those who can, to please help them get off their feet. Daniel is working himself to death...we see it happening. His own high blood pressure and stress levels are past the point of unhealthy, but still he perseveres as a good man does. His priority is his wife, the love of his life, and he won't stop until she's better. Please...let's do what we can to at least help ease some of his financial burden, to make it a little lighter as he helps Kim come back to "life", back to "joy." If we can raise enough, maybe their daughter and grand-babies (their absolute pride and joy)  won't have to move 6 hours away. Kim needs those babies near her as she comes back to us! Please help me raise money to help my big brother and my precious sister-in-law...I truly don't know how much more they can take! 


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Organizer and beneficiary

Sunny Cross Biello 
Swansea, MA
Daniel Whitaker 
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