Since I initially put up this GoFundme back in February 2014, many things have changed.
Ken has been hospitalized four times since February--the most recent on 9/27/14. The EMT's had to start him on IV meds and oxygen at home as he was in severe V-Tach. I am so very grateful that they were able to revive him. He is resting now with private nurses coming in three times a week and on over 23 different medications for heart, kidneys and diabetes.
Vital changes since February 2014 also include Ken being placed on the transplant list for both a heart and kidney, as well as being a candidate for an experimental cardiac stem cell research study (the same one that was done at The Mayo Clinic).
This last hospitalization/cardiac episode has left him too physically weak for the doctors to take stem cells from his hip, send them to a lab to be cultured and surgically implant them back into his heart. We are praying that his strength comes back so he can have a fighting chance.
I am taking care of him at home presently and paying out-of-pocket for nursing care and all else. Ken is a part of me, maybe the best part, and I can not put him into a rehab/rest home until donor organs potentially become available. He needs to keep his spirit up and to quote Dorothy, "there's no place like home" :)
We are both so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from all of you. It's times like these when one truly comprehends how healing and life-reinforcing friends are. Many times karma is a good thing and in Ken's case, where he has shown only kindness and integrity to those around him, I'd like to think that the goodness coming his way is from all the goodness he has generated over the decades.
Thank you for sustaining us with your non-stop caring, compassion, calls, communications and contributions.
May that good kind of karma come full circle and bless you always. We love you <3
Always, Karyn and Ken
As many of you know, Ken has been suffering from congestive heart failure, insulin-dependent diabetes and renal insuffiency resulting from a botched quadruple bypass performed in November of 2009.
My life companion and Samantha's dad is a former national press pool political reporter and editor with 23 years at United Press International and currently almost 21 years with The Boston Globe. In 1969, during his senior year at Penn State, he was voted Sigma Chi's "Man of the Year" for his compassion towards others and that million dollar smile :)!
Ken is that go-to person so many of us have relied on for his integrity, easy laugh and ability to to be impartial during lifes ups and downs. Whether reporting or editing a breaking news, feature story or column, or holding a hand in someones time of need, he's been that stable, warm presence you can count on to get the job done with fairness, accuracy and humanity over the years.
Since his long hospitalization and surgeries of 2009 and 2010, we have been living on much less with the cost of living, a year on disability and 17 different medications, specialist visits/test co-pays skyrocketing. We had no choice but to sell our home two-and-a-half year's ago to an investor in exchange for renting it back from him. He is now demanding payments/increases at a rate that we just don't have. It has become a choice between medications and a roof over our head.
The owner/investor is demanding 5000.00 immediately and another 5000.00 at the end of February. He is a doctor who we trusted to not do this.
I can move just about anywhere in the city, but Ken works solely from home as his heart muscle is dying. Recently, a transplant was ruled out as his other conditions and age make him no longer a solid candidate for a new heart and kidneys. His mind is clear as a bell, but he has trouble just walking five minutes if that; a far cry from the happy jock many of you remember, know and love. We need to be able to stay here where his doctors are right around the corner at Mass General Hospital and for his medical emergencies necessitating immediate life-saving intervention.
Asking for financial help from friends is something we would never do if the situation was not so dire and the real life consequences so high. We are both givers, not takers who pride ourselves on working hard, keeping our issues private, setting that example for our now 28-year-old daughter and reaching our communal hand out to others in need. I am avoiding posting this on my personal Facebook wall at Ken's request, but hope many of you will share this with others and on your own FB walls.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and apologies for my multitude of typos!! It is a scary time indeed...
Anything anyone can do would be a godsend. Bless you all for a lifetime of friendship. We love you all.
- Mark OLTEDALE
- Tomtom Foty
- Colleen Schillios