Ken's BIG Heart

Dear Friends, Family, and Well Wishers, 

On February 15th, 2018 our beloved  papa bear, Ken Cornelius,  suffered a debilitating heart attack. After being admitted to Ojai Community Hospital he was transferred to Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura for extensive testing that revealed he had less than 15% of his heart working (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), a malfunctioning heart valve and four-way artery blockage. Essentially, severe and rapid heart failure. 

Ken's prognosis looked grim, his body struggled to stay with us in the first harrowing days and the family waited eagerly for doctors to determine if he would be operable. Ken's complicated condition required a highly sophisticated facility for any chance of survival, so he was transferred to Keck Hospital at USC/Los Angeles, where he remains in the ICU today. 

It has been 3 long heart-wrenching weeks for the Cornelius Family, as we have watched Ken regain some stability and strength, only to suffer dramatic life-threatening setbacks. A roller coaster of emotion and physical exhaustion for everyone. He is once again stable (under 24/7 observation) and being groomed for a high-risk procedure, that, god willing, would allow him to leave the hospital and eventually return him to a decent 'quality of life.'

If/when Ken gets strong enough to undergo surgery, he will receive a heart pump called an LVAD  (Left Ventricular Assist Device). This amazing technology will live partially inside and partially outside of his body. We will (literally) have a plug-in and battery-operated dad! 

In the best case scenario, some LVAD implant recipients can return to work over time, but not before an intensive hospital recovery period (3-4 weeks) and then at least several months of rehabilitation. Although anything is possible, we do not foresee Ken returning to the business he has built over 45+ years as owner and operator of Sunshine Driving School. It grieves us to know that the work he loves, and through which he has impacted thousands of lives, will gradually need to be dissolved, at least in its current form.  

This reckoning also has immediate and critical financial implications. With no 'rainy day' savings or retirement, a large mortgage and a plethora of mounting bills, the only foreseeable option to relieve our parents of tremendous financial burden during this time of major life changes would be to sell our longtime family home. In this way our parents might have at least a modest 'cushion' to see them through their days.

Under present circumstances, this is obviously not an ideal time for an immediate 'house sale', so our intention in creating this GoFundMe page is to hopefully stall the inevitable for at least a few months, softening the immediate financial needs, so our family can be fully present with our father's healing and recovery during this critical juncture.

Daddy Oh, we love him so. A most generous, self-sacrificing HUGE HEARTED man. He has unflinchingly devoted his life to his family—children and grandchildren and most especially the woman of his wildest dreams, the great love of his life, his wife and best friend of 50-years, our beautiful mom, Valerie.

First and foremost we invite your prayers for Ken's best possible outcome on his healing journey. He would also LOVE to hear stories and anecdotes of an exchange you may have had with him or a fond memory of how he has impacted your life. And if you are able to contribute financially, we humbly and gratefully welcome any amount of support. 

With all our hearts for the love of our dearest heart, The Cornelius Family thanks you. 

Ken, Valerie, Atma, Akka B., John, Ninna, Raksha, Kyra & Solan 

  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 40 mos
  • Alice Borgeson 
    • $100 
    • 41 mos
  • Lynnette Luis 
    • $200 
    • 41 mos
  • Sandra Azar 
    • $50 
    • 41 mos
  • Nancy Peterson  
    • $500 
    • 41 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Akka B Poet 
Ojai, CA
Valerie Cornelius 
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