I have known Walt Tollefson for the better part of 30 years here in Salado, Texas. About 20 years ago, he saved my business, the Salado Village Voice newspaper! At the time, he had just started a computer repair business when I came to him in desperation with a dead file server containing all the newspaper archives, customer files, pages, photos, stories and image files. We were sunk. He was able to recover the data for us and build a new file server and backup system, making it possible for us to continue in business. Sometime later, in 2008, he again came to my relief! He agreed to become active in the Salado Masonic Lodge #296 by serving as Secretary the year I was Master of the Lodge. The Secretary has a huge role in the Lodge, acting as its administrator. He was on his way to serving as Master of the Lodge, when his life took an unexpected turn of events. He was going to return to his first love of being a pilot. An opportunity opened up to him in 2014 to retrain as a pilot, earn his wings again and return to the air. In the middle of one of his training flights, he passed out. This was devastating news to him. The doctors thought at first that it was cardio-related. Many months later, he was finally correctly diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis. Since then, the disease has progressed to the point that he now uses a wheelchair. His long-term prognosis is bleak. He has lost most of the use of his legs as well as his left hand and arm, yet he finds a way to tend a sizeable garden, his giant horse Ruby and his dog, while hugging his wife of almost 40 years Karen. About a month ago, Walt found what he believes is an answer to his prayers, through a bone marrow transplant. This treatment is offered through Clinica Ruiz in Mexico. The treatment requires a 28-day stay in Puebla, Mexico with a full-time caregiver on hand. His wife Karen will not be able to stay the entire time, so Walt will need to hire a caregiver while he is there recovering from the treatment. You can find out more about the treatment, here. According to the Clinica Ruiz website, Doctor Ruiz Argüelles and Doctor Gómez-Almaguer have performed more than 3,000 HSCT procedures during more than 20 years for hematological and autoimmune diseases, out of which over 900 have been for MS. Positive results have been achieved in over 78% of patients transplanted at Clinica Ruiz, which includes both relapsing and progressive patients. Walt found out two weeks ago that he qualifies medically for the treatment. Now he has until November to raise $55,000 for the treatment. The additional $10,000 will cover his and Karen's travel, as well as the cost for the full-time caregiver and other unforeseeable costs (lodging and caring for his animals while Karen visits, lodging for Karen, etc.). Walt and Karen were full-time caregivers to Karen's parents in their final years. Karen has not been able to return to work as she is full-time caregiver for Walt since he began to lose his mobility as the MS progressed. Walt has not been able to work on computers since losing mobility and the use of his left hand and arm. Walt hopes to stop the progress of the disease and to regain some of his mobility and quality of life. If you know Walt, you know how strong and how deep his faith in God remains. He continues to have that Dennis the Menace smile and infectious laugh. He has accepted his mortality but wants to hold on to his wife for longer than the doctors have given him (18 months to two years) without this treatment. Karen and Walt met and married some 38 years ago, when Walt was a young Amry pilot and 1982 graduate of West Point. They are a devoted couple who have overcome many obstacles, the latest of which is Karen having a stroke last night. If you have known Walt from his years of working on computers, being in the Masonic Lodge or the Rotary Club (where he delivered flags for more than a dozen years), or being a show-stealing walk-on character in the annual Salado Legends play, this is the time to show him your love. Thank you.
- Stephen Kreipe
- Chris Adams
- Dwayne Parsons
- Richard York
- Kathy Myers
Fundraising team (3)
Raised $2,716 from 18 donations
Raised $5,677 from 24 donations
Raised $150 from 2 donations
This team raised $7,518 from 63 other donations.