EDIT: Please read all of the updates to understand the terminal cancer diagnosis.
So many of us know and love Kursten Brewer. He has a generous and loving heart and a gentle soul. While he is certainly a spiritual warrior, he's a non-violent person. What happened to him should never happen to anyone.
Kursten has kept this very quiet, trying to keep a positive attitude and focus on healing, so not many people even know what happened.
On September 2, 2022, just before his 40th birthday, Kursten was out walking on the Platte River Trail in Denver, by himself. Out of nowhere, he was suddenly struck in the side of his head from behind, fracturing his ocular cavity (eye socket) and dropping him to the ground, unconscious. When he came to, several men were beating him with a baseball bat and screaming at him. He was struck in the chest, breaking his sternum and cracking several ribs. His shorts were ripped off of him – he didn't even have so much as a wallet on him (his phone was smashed). His thighs were clawed and bleeding. Still in shock, he somehow managed to get back to his car and drive home and was then taken to urgent care at the hospital.
He was quickly transferred to ICU where he had two MRIs of his sternum/ribcage and heart. With severe chest pain, they didn't immediately do MRIs of his spine. With concerns of a growing hematoma near his heart and lungs, and borderline anemia, he was put on standby for open heart surgery.
With no health insurance, he was discharged and told to follow up with a primary care doctor, which he wasn't able to do. He was not even given any pain medication.
Kursten was brutally assaulted by multiple men with a baseball bat and he was lucky to have survived at all. His sternum was broken (a buckle fracture), 2 of his ribs were cracked, and multiple vertebrae were fractured in multiple places. His hearing in his left ear has sustained damage and his ocular cavity was fractured. He narrowly escaped a punctured lung and miraculously avoided needing open heart surgery. He currently has 12+ fractures in his lumbar vertebrae, alone.
In the weeks following the attack, Kursten got sick with severe pneumonia, and he had enormous amounts of fluid in his lungs. Coughing with a broken sternum and broken ribs only exacerbated the issues and intensified his pain. A few weeks after he was assaulted, Odin, Kursten's beloved dog of 10 years, suddenly died. Experiences like that, happening all at once, can weaken a person's will to live.
In these recent weeks, it has become clear that Kursten is getting worse, not better. More testing revealed that when his sternum was broken, his heart was also damaged and it isn't pumping blood the way it should, so his limbs, lungs and brain aren't getting the blood and oxygen they need, and his numerous bone fractures aren't healing. He's experiencing heart failure.
Ejection fraction (EF) is a measurement of how much blood your heart pumps out when it beats. EFs between 50% and 70% are considered normal. An EF of 40% or less means the muscle is weakened and indicates heart failure. An EF of 20% is about one-third of the normal ejection fraction. The heart is not pumping all the oxygen-rich blood the body needs. The blood that is not ejected from the ventricle can back up into the lungs and cause shortness of breath. Over time, this can lead to fluid buildup and swelling in the abdomen and legs. Kursten's EF is currently between 15%-20% and he is experiencing all of those symptoms.
We've all been through dark times when it feels like life just keeps beating us while we're down. We all need a helping hand sometimes. We need to be reminded that there is goodness and kindness in the world and help when we need it. Kursten has been through so much in the last 4+ months and he is facing some major expenses from medical bills thus far, and at least another 6 months of ongoing medical care - pain medication, herbal medication, MRIs, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, possible hospitalization, and even the possibility of a heart transplant. He's been told that he's in danger of paralysis if he has so much as a slip on the ice.
He is still hoping to avoid a major spinal surgery with metal rods and fused vertebrae, but this will require diligent effort and regular alternative care. He doesn't have health insurance and as we know, the best forms of allopathic medicine are insanely expensive and the best forms of alternative medicine can be quite costly and most are not covered by insurance anyway.
Funds raised will be used to cover Kursten's substantial medical expenses, and to help support his healing while he's unable to work.
APPROXIMATE COSTS & DEBT
These are approximations at this point, because the hospital costs are ongoing
• MRIs - $500 apiece
He has had 2 and needs another of his cervical spine
With the heart failure diagnosis, he will likely need MRIs of his heart
• Denver hospital bills - >$5k after discounts (down from $22k) and rapidly mounting
• Acupuncture every other day - $80 per treatment
• Full blood panel test - $500+ to determine if any other underlying conditions may be preventing his bone fractures from healing (e.g. bone marrow disease or cancer)
• Physical Therapy - $300 per session
• If the current medication he is on doesn't work, he will need to be admitted to a hospital for full-time care - $?
• He has not been able to pay his electric bill (currently $4k) or his water bill ($200) due to compounding medical expenses
• He has maxed out his credit cards paying for medical expenses ($7k in debt)
His Venmo, if you'd prefer to support that way:
Fundraising team (3)
This team raised $40,256 from 606 other donations.