Jon is a man with a unique sense of humor and a huge heart. He appears to be a hard-ass, but anyone who knows him knows he has a heart as big as Texas and is a marshmallow inside. If you are lucky enough to be loved by him, he will always have your back. Being down in the dumps is impossible when he is around.
Jon nearly left our world last October. I got a message from one of his friends asking if I had heard from him. He was supposed to be at a poker tournament, but he wasn’t there and no one could reach him. It was unheard of for Jon to miss a poker game. That started a two hour nightmare trying to locate him. He was found – at home – but very, very sick. He was transported by ambulance to the local hospital where tests revealed that his blood pressure was way out of control, he was diabetic (to the point where he now needs insulin shots twice a day) and he had suffered over 50 mini-strokes in a very short span of time. He was knocking on death’s door.
Jon fought hard and his family and friends prayed hard for the next couple of months while the doctors tried to figure out the best course of action to get this guy back on his feet. It wasn’t easy. He was hospitalized again a few weeks later when his blood pressure again went out of control. Trying to keep his blood pressure down was critical … otherwise he would suffer more strokes and possibly even a heart attack.
The medical team finally found the right combination of medication and treatment and got him stabilized and on the road to recovery. However, it hasn’t been without some adverse consequences to Jon’s health. His short term memory was shot. It's difficult to do even the simplest daily tasks when you can’t remember things for longer than a few minutes. His memory slowly righted itself and he’s now back playing poker, which was a real challenge for a while there, and he’s taking care of those daily tasks that were totally foreign to him the first few weeks after his hospitalization.
Jon still has not regained all of the strength on his right side. He’s weak and uses a cane when walking to avoid falling. He’s doing much better than he was, but still has a long road ahead of him. In the meantime, his much-loved Harley sits in the garage unridden. Jon has few things in life that really make life worth living and that motorcycle is one of them. To have it sit in his garage without a rider is heartbreaking. Even if he had the strength in his arms to move it (which he doesn't), the Harley is very heavy and Jon's legs are too weak to hold it up.
Since Jon bought his first Harley in 1990, he has been active in motorcycle rides for Toys for Tots, Safety Awareness and other fundraising/goodwill rides - he was always one of the first in line to sign up for these events. He likes to help others and if he can ride his Harley and do something good for someone else, he’s there to help.
He is also a disabled veteran of the Vietnam war era. Thankfully, he was stationed in the U.S. and Germany and didn't go to Vietnam, but he was in the Air Force during that time in history.
I am Jon’s oldest sibling – his sister – his good friend Nycole Martelle, his daughters, Jonna West and Chaneen Wright and I are trying to help him get back on that Harley so he can ride; so he can go back to doing the things he did before the strokes. It seems the best way to do this is to convert his Harley to a trike so he can ride without having to worry about losing his balance or not having the strength to hold the bike up under him.
My biggest wish right now is to see my brother back on his Harley. It will cost around $8,000.00 to buy the conversion kit and have it installed.
Jon never asks for much, but is always willing to help others when he can. He's always been very self sufficient, but this expense is far beyond what he can afford. I am hoping that friends and family will help us help him by donating a few dollars toward this very worthwhile endeavor. We need to get this guy back on his Harley and back on the road to ride SAFELY. Anyone who rides a motorcycle knows that there is no better therapy than the freedom and peace of mind riding that bike provides. That kind of therapy would do Jon a world of good right now.
Jonna, Chaneen, Nycole and I would be eternally grateful to anyone who opens their heart and bank account to help us get my brother back on his Harley.
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