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Mark Livingston and Family Fund

$135,922 of $175,000 goal

Raised by 635 people in 5 months
Created March 2, 2019
We’re all familiar with the “perfect storm” cliché. Sometimes, people use it in ways that don’t really apply. 

Mark Livingston and his family – wife Kirstyn and wonderful children Maya, age 11, and Owen, 9 – are in the midst of circumstances this cliché applies to, and that no amount of planning can prevent or manage.  And they need our help.

As many of you know, Mark and Kirstyn already have been managing several life-changing events.

In November 2017 Mark had to undergo unexpected open-heart surgery. And, even though he was insured, the insurance did not cover the life-saving expenses they incurred, and it definitely didn’t cover the income the family lost while Mark was unable to work during his recovery.

This followed just two months after the devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria left their home uninhabitable.  They have been living in a 5th-wheel travel trailer on their property for over a year as their home is still undergoing repairs.  As with so many families, the insurance they carried did not protect (and could not possibly have protected) the family from all of the financial impact they suffered, especially when followed by Mark’s medical emergency.  Their financial safety net was decimated. 

Mark and Kirstyn persevered with the spirit and humor and resilience we all cherish so much.  Even when they learned that Mark had to undergo another open heart surgery to re-repair his mitral valve. And on Valentine’s Day, it seemed that his surgery was a complete success … until he did not wake from the anesthesia.

A CT scan revealed that Mark had suffered a stroke during surgery.

Mark has been in ICU in Dallas since then.  Tests have revealed that the stroke caused significant harm.  Because he’s been mostly out of consciousness, the full extent is not yet clear. One thing, however, is very clear: Mark, Kirstyn, and their family are facing a long and uncertain path to a recovery that is not assured.

At this point, we know only two things:

First, Mark will have to stay under the care of health professionals in Dallas for at least the next several months, and won’t be able to work as a physician in private practice for the foreseeable future.

Second, the perfect storm of health-care expenses – plus the cost of rebuilding – amplified by the income they’ve already lost and will continue to lose as Mark is unable to work and Kirstyn travels between home and Dallas, hoping to return to her own practice as a mental health therapist as soon as possible while trying to assure as much normalcy for their children as she can – has wiped out the family’s financial safety net.

As their friends and community can attest, Mark and Kirstyn have dedicated their personal and professional lives to helping others.  But they have found themselves now in the position of needing significant help themselves.

Your prayers, love, and messages of support have sustained Kirstyn since Mark’s stroke. She could not have managed without them. She is grateful to everyone who has helped in practical ways with meals, care packages, transportation, and other support for Maya, Owen, and Kirstyn’s dad, Dan, as he cares for the children while she remains at the hospital with Mark.

Now what Mark, Kirstyn, Maya, and Owen need – and will need for months to come – is financial help.

Fear of unexpected health expenses weighs heavily in our consciousness for a good reason: the costs of care, even with insurance, are simply ruinous. Mark and Kirstyn can no longer absorb the expenses they will face as Mark recovers. Their household income has been slashed, and it seems unlikely they will ever recover it completely. And no one knows what additional unexpected expenses their family will confront as Mark heals. 

Mark and Kirstyn have helped countless individuals live healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Now it’s time for all of us, as individuals, to help Mark, Kirstyn, Maya, and Owen.

Any amount helps, and everyone who cares for this wonderful family is grateful for whatever you can contribute.

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We are happy to report that Mark has been working diligently with the phenomenal treatment team at Pate Rehabilitation since the day after Memorial Day. Pate provides daily transportation between his mom's house in Cedar Hill, and the facility in Dallas. He participates in physical, occupational, speech, and cognitive therapy for 30 hours a week in the day neuro program. Weekends are usually spent resting up from his full and exhausting days at rehab, and enjoying time with friends who are able to visit (please come!).

Mark is making steady improvements and we are blessed and encouraged by his continuing optimism (and irrepressible humor) and never-wavering dedication to his recovery efforts.

None of this treatment would be possible without the amazing and generous support of this incredible community, as Mark’s health insurer declined further benefits when Mark was discharged from Zale Lipshy, even though he was unable to walk or care for himself. It is a long road ahead, however, and his treatment team now anticipates a "moving target" discharge date from their program of mid-January, nearly a year after his stroke. A lot remains to be seen in the meantime, but we are hopeful he will finally be able to return home to St. Thomas soon after for some “family and friends therapy.”

Happily, after nearly two years, the family home is finally ALMOST ready for habitation, and Kirstyn and the kids cannot WAIT to move out of the trailer. On the less happy side, the family has concluded that Mark’s medical practice will not be reopening. But, onward and upward.

Mark has loved having visitors and excursions and callers and notes and treats arriving by mail. Please message us if you’d like information! And thank you all again for your support, your caring, and your notes of encouragement and appreciation.
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Friends, we are so happy to report that Mark has reached a significant milestone in his stroke recovery. After more than three months of hospitalization, we are anticipating he will be discharged from Zale Lipshy this weekend. He is slated to transition next week to the amazing Pate Rehabilitation, an intensive “day neuro” program in Dallas. This next phase of treatment will consist of 6 hours of physical, occupational, speech, and cognitive therapy each day, Monday through Friday. This will be hard work and require dedication and determination, all of which Mark has demonstrated throughout this process. It is anticipated that he will participate in this program for at least the next three to six months.

Kirstyn and the family are so grateful for everyone’s ongoing support and encouragement, and incredible generosity. Mark's insurance has denied repeated requests from his treatment team to cover the cost of this program, so the family will have to pay out-of-pocket. We’ve upped our campaign goal to try to assist with some of this additional expense.

On a happier note, the amazing St. Thomas community has come together with an incredible music festival (all donated) to support the family June 1st. Please join the fun if you are in the neighborhood! Here is more information:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/livingston-music-festival-tickets-61909065682?aff=eac2

https://www.facebook.com/events/432412317318467/437587433467622/?notif_t=admin_plan_mall_activity&notif_id=1558699248830873

Thanks again to all of you, near and far.
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We are very happy to report that Mark has been making steady improvement in the Long-Term Acute Care facility he was transferred to a few weeks ago.
He is off the ventilator, alert, and able to speak. His team of doctors, nurses, techs, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists have all commented how much they enjoy his personality as it is emerging - including his trademark sense of humor and positivity - that will be of enormous benefit to his recovery. He won't be able to move to the next and very important step, an an inpatient rehabilitation program, until he is able to sustain three hours a day of therapy.

A very long road of recovery lies ahead, but each small step encourages us that he is moving along it. All who love Mark and his family are so grateful for the continued support and care they are receiving from family, friends, and community far and wide. This campaign is a major part of it. Thanks to everyone who has contributed and continues to contribute and to share the story of this remarkable man.
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Thanks to the generosity of people grateful to Mark and Kirstyn for their friendship and service, GoFundMe has highlighted the campaign on their homepage as one of the top campaigns worthy of discovery! https://www.gofundme.com/discover

Please continue to share the campaign on social media - every bit helps, and you can't overstate the impact of the reassurance we are providing this wonderful family in these most anxious of times.
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$135,922 of $175,000 goal

Raised by 635 people in 5 months
Created March 2, 2019
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