Katie's ACL Injury Emergency Fund

I’ve created this campaign on behalf of my dear friend Katie. We’ve known each other for 8 years and I’ve always found her to be one of the most compassionate, insightful, creative, and vibrant people I know. However, she’s come upon a very tough situation and it’s my hope that, together, those of us who’ve had our lives enriched by her joyous presence will be able to help her out during this tough time.

And for anyone who doesn't know her - Katie is an actor, writer, and gluten-free baker. She's incredibly determined and dedicated - if she dreams it up, she makes it a reality! And always with a huge smile on her face and a mischievous nature that let's you know an adventure is underway. That is why this is an especially tricky time as life has dealt her rather crushing circumstances.

On September 1st, 2016 she suffered an injury to her left knee. At the time it seems relatively inconsequential and, without a primary care doctor, she tried to just suffer through the pain hoping it would get better.

But the pain continued and she was unable to put full weight on it. After a trip to Urgent Care (we all know that can be really hit or miss!), she began a frustrating journey to get an MRI, connect with any office that took her Obama Care insurance, and find an orthopedic surgeon to actually investigate the growing problem

Two weeks after the accident, finally achieving these goals, the results of the MRI determined an almost entire ACL tear. As someone who isn’t well-versed in injuries, even I recognized immediately that when you hear “ACL tear” it's not a good thing.

After some painful, emotional and physical, attempts to find an Orthopedic Surgeon that could both perform the surgery needed and take her limited insurance - she finally found 1 option and moved ahead.

Surgery was on Wednesday October 19th, 2016 followed by intensive physical therapy that is absolutely necessary if she ever hopes to regain mobility to the same degree again. Unfortunately, her insurance doesn’t cover the physical therapy - which needs to be 2-3 times a week for the first 3-4 months to have any real impact.

To make grave matters even worse - on Friday December 2nd, 2016 Katie went to the doctor for her 6 week follow up and found out that she’s not progressing as she should be. This is despite extreme physical therapy, at home exercises, and great financial strain. She’s unable to achieve the benchmarks, her swelling is still present and extensive (it should have abated), and scar tissue is beginning to build up.

The doctor has given her until January 20, 2017 to get her knee mobility in better shape or she’s facing another surgery.

While these are troubling things to hear for anyone, for a performer and for someone who has been working at a job that calls for over 8 hours on her feet per shift, this is horrifying news. Not to mention simply surviving in NYC without being able to walk (I can’t imagine it!).

This situation has become challenging and I now felt called to try to get this level of financial support lined up for Katie for these various reasons:

1. Medical Bills - Her bills have mostly been paid out of pocket with little covered by insurance. They're piling up (as well as the terrifying notion of another surgery and a new President who might revoke Obama Care which would leave Katie and millions of others will no options until some kind of unknown alternative is in place).

2. Maxed Out Credit Cards - To be able to get to and from doctors and therapy, and even keep basic needs covered, Katie has used her credit cards for financial support but there’s no room to continue this unsustainable practice.

3. Necessary Length of Physical Therapy Treatment - I’ve learned that ACL recovery is a 9-12 month process (which makes sense since it’s rather brutal, the injury and the surgical procedure). She’s paid for 1 round of 15 sessions out of her savings, since they don’t take her insurance or credit cards, and it’s looking as though she will need at least 2 more rounds of 15 sessions each to even gain any progress on her knee and attempt to insure that she’ll walk correctly again or have any sense of normal mobility. Katie believes in the Physical Therapists she’s been working with and feels that they can get her to 110% (which is huge, and a major part of recovery) but it’s a big financial expense and absolutely impossible without support.

4. Inability to Work - Katie works as a barista for her day job, a tough one that pays a minimum. But with her current physical condition, she’s unable to work her previous schedule of 8.5 hour shifts 5 days a week. She misses the community and connections of her job, as well as the income, but she’s not been cleared to go back to work given the extent of her injury and the challenges in her recovery. Given the projections from her rehab, she will not be able to work until at least February 1, 2017. And additionally, she can’t apply for unemployment benefits to attempt to lessen the financial strain of it all because she’s not been cleared to work. I didn’t realize this but unemployment only happens if you’ve been let go from your job without cause AND you are willing and able to work. Neither of these pertain to Katie at this time so she’s stuck in the middle of an unwinnable situation, with no hope of financial compensation on either end.

5. Limited Disability Money - Katie was cleared to receive disability from the state at the rate of $170/week before taxes but this will run out in January given the limited allotment of weeks. The money has been able to help her pay a few bills and buy groceries but it’s stretched too thin and will end soon.

6. Depleted Savings - Katie has always amazed me with her ability to be incredibly frugal and creative, especially with her savings. But now, given the need to pay rent to keep a roof over her head and pay for Physical Therapy out of pocket, this additional resource is also gone. I know how important it has been for her to have a little cushion so I cannot imagine the extra stress and pain it causes her to have this safety net vanish.

I know that this is a challenging time in our world and there is a lot of uncertainty for the times ahead but I deeply feel that one positive thing we can do is continue to help each other - however we can. The amount asked for in this campaign is what Katie needs to survive, literally. I cannot imagine how hard it’s been for her and if there’s any way that I can try to help lessen the burden, if there’s any way we all can help this wonderful soul and bright light in the world so that she can stay afloat, I would love to try!

It’s my sincere hope to try to leave the world a better place than I find it each day and, in some small way, I think this is a step in the right direction. I know that if the situation was reversed, for me or for any of us, Katie would move heaven and earth to help and find means of support.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Louise Brandt 
Astoria, NY
Katie Carnevale 
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