Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and Good Tidings to you'all

It's X-Mas Eve... "a time of year to remember those who have touch our lives in so many special ways...You are ALL fondly remembered, cherished and loved today and all year through, and I always wish you good health and happiness for a new year!" For the holiday we are staying close to home. We have great neighbors, Jayne and Allen, and they invited Kurt, Mom and I over for x-mas eve dinner. Tomorrow we are gathering at home for dinner here with my sister Kim and her husband Lance.
I am so lucky my Mom is still here with us, helping me--I love her company--we even managed to find a way to get her little dog "Dudley-the dachshund" down to here from Montana so they can be together. Mom gets me going in the mornings, and right when I awake I start bending my knees for about a half hour, then hang my legs passively off the end of the bed and put the electrical muscle stimulator on both quads for a half hour, then the I kick and pull, kick and pull. Recently I've had a bone density scan that showed ostopinea, one point from osteoporosis, due to not being able to stand or exercise my legs. I am hopeful to reverse this once I am able to stand and rehab. Right now they have me on a drug called Fosomax--a weekly pill that is suppose to help with bone loss, if it doesn't burn my esophagus or make my joints swell or teeth fall out first. Onward and Thank You again for your prayers and good wishes.
May all your Christmas wishes come true!
Love, kelley

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Slow and steady...strong and calm.

Yesterday was a HUGE day for me. I had my 4 month doctor follow-up after breaking both distal (near knee) femurs last July. Kurt took time off work and drove me...I like it when he is with me, and he can help ask the right questions. My doctor was super happy with the x-rays; the hardware was in place, and it showed good calcium bone growth...where there was not any before! REHAB BEGINS! My doctor wants me to start working on bending...SLOWLY!... using only gravity to work the knees. At present the right knee bends 60 degrees and my left is less than 30. My doctor said I have a 50% chance of being able to bend my left knee 90 degrees, enough to where I would be able to ride a bike. I had a knee replacement before I was paralyzed, and the break is at the knee level. My fall really knocked the replacement out of whack, making the left knee more complicated and difficult to repair and to heal. I will be using my rented wheelchair with my legs straight-out for 2 more months, and still no swimming. Today, I woke up and started "passively" bending my knees. I'm gonna ride that bike. Slow and steady...strong and calm. Thank you all for checking in on me. kelley

Monday, October 26, 2009

Words cannot express my Gratitude.

Last Friday Oct. 23, there was a fundraiser held in my honor...but it is I, who is deeply honored to have such special friends.

Whew!!! I am completely overwhelmed! Dear Tiffany Shiro, thank you for taking that spark of a dream and making it a reality. As well as Steve Shiro, Sarah Canfield, Janet Debret, Janice Stanley, Michell Sage, Kay Osborn, Sue Campbell, Bessie Jackson, Chris Spaulding, Howard Penn...(I am sorry if I have left anyone out) words cannot express my gratitude...thank you all so much for your generous gift of love by taking the time to put together such an event!!!

There are still so many many people I want to thank for making the event possible. Everyone who gave their time in preparing for many hours, days, and months. All the people who donated the auction items and trips...I am so curious of who won the Molokai, Costa Rica, Baja, and Tahoe trips!!..thank you for the food and drink donations; merchants and businesses that sold tickets; Howard Penn for having such a great place to gather at the Sierra Nevada House; and all the wonderful musicians who performed and gave their time.

My dear friends and family, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support in coming to the Jam Fest benefit...I was truly overwhelmed and was so happy to have gotten the chance to say hello to so many!!...and I am sorry for the ones I didn't. I was sitting relaxing in the sun over the weekend, recovering and reflecting on our Friday night, trying to remember All the folks I spoke with or just saw from a distance hoping to say hi. Remembering off the top of my head...of all you wonderful people who are part of my life...

Thank you for coming:

Kurt and Mom "Lee"~thanks for bringing me to the event!; my sister Kim & Lance; my cousins Marvin bukema, Steven & wife Suzanne Franklin; there were friends from high school: bless you Rogar Watson; Cathy "McIntire" (love to Doris-mom) and Larry Patterson; Dana Foy Pedrizzettis~thanks for your gift and yummy candy!; Ricky Day; Gina & Leanne & Kim; Steve Abel; Ron,Leslie Vardanega & beautiful daughters; Katie "Mulligan"; Mike Paiva; Lisa & coach Bruce Boyle; Linda Chavez; Carol & Mark Water; my Girl Scout leader Donna & daughter Tony "Conley"; my trainer Sean Cheng xie xie; Vince & wife thank you for your kind words and awesome music!; River bros Jimmy Katz and John & EJ Kipping; Mike & Jan Turney; Pat Lehey;
Thorn Barrager; Howie & Pamela Hammermann~a special thanks; Abigail (miss you Juju); Tanya & Sherrie; Doug Stadler & mom Heike and dad; Kelley & Eric Ahola~yummy brownies thanks!; Charles Albright; Wilbur say's hi to Lynn and Dorthy & husband; Mike & Hildi Fentress; Eric & Moira Magneson; Erin Davis; Kay Osborn and daughter Shannon & darling daughter; Jayne & Allen; Mark Hauck; Michell Sage; Sue Campbell & Mary; Randy,Jen and Tanner Calvin; Tiff & Steve Shiro and Mom; Jim Bauldini; Pat Lahey; Jonas; Louis & Janet Debret; Tom VanNord & Susan; Terry & Tommy Anderson; Tim & Patso Madden; Phil & Mary DeRiemer; Sarah & Spencer~so good to see you Spenc! and sweet daughters Cassidy & Dana Rubin; Caroline Paul & friend Wendy; Janice Stanley; Tina Coleman; Sue Norman thanks for being there for me always; Lisa Dearing~thanks; Laura Bowle~thanks & friend Lisa; Kerry & Judy; Linda Whitney; RB Clark, son & daughter Sienna (maybe we'll go skiing); Renee, aunt & mom; Miki Miyashiro; Kim & John Green; Phil Boyer and mom Patty & Beau; Kiwi Andy; Robin King; Mo Daly; Heather Snow; Wesley(hi to Mo); Brad & Bessie Jackson; Erin Jackson; Julie Stanley~thanks; Marty Booth; Bill Center; and there were others there supporting me who I met for the first time...I'm so sorry if I forgot your names.

Jeff Snyder, Oh My Gosh!! Jeff surprised me and filled me with so much emotion, I was touched and speechless. During the silent auction Jeff bid and won the most beautiful painting, that he himself donated! Jeff had acquired this painting for $3700 at a previous fundraiser held for me. And to top it off, later in the evening Jeff gave me this most awe-inspiring piece of artwork, an oil painting of women outrigger paddling in Hawaii, with velvet green mountains as a backdrop...when I look at it, I can imagine, me getting into that canoe. And as I do, I can feel the perfect warm soft water where it meets the sand washing over my feet and toes. Thank you Jeff, your gift gives me Hope and Faith that I will walk again. Mahalo, Aloha Jeff! The painting was originally donated in the previous fundraiser and painted by Ronald Macedo, a good friend living on Maui with his family (hi Naldo, Jen, Summer, & Ocean I miss you all).

"It has been 2 years since I have been paralyzed and not a day goes by when I have not thought about how deeply grateful I am to the people who have contributed to helping me physically, spiritually and financially. I continue to get better everyday, and everyday there is a new light of hope"
. For so long I have been wanting to write....and with that I wish to convey my belated expression of my deepest gratitude to Sue Norman, for being there for me every step of the way...and thank you for blogging my story and being my voice!

On another Note, but along the same line the fundraiser Showing "3 Women" on September 27th. I'd like to Thank very good friend of mine, Kitty "Couch" Tulga for organizing a great event; And Mark Tulga, Kathy "Hill" and her husband too, for all your patients and help...and giving your time.

To you all, thanks for helping me to be strong. I love you guys.
In Loving Gratitude, kelley

P.S.  Some of the final proceeds are still trickling in, but the bottom line is, it looks like a little over $20,000 was raised for Kelley's account with the NTAF, Spinal Cord Injury Program.  Kelley uses this account established through this non-profit organization to pay for her medically related expenses not covered by her insurance, including the essential and rigorous physical therapy she needs to achieve her rehabilitation goals, without jeapordizing the public assistance she is also receiving.  Your tremendous efforts and generosity have given her renewed hope and opportunity for recovery.( p.s.s.  I got one of the Costa Rica trips in the auction!)Sue

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jam Fest Fundraiser for KK

October 23rd, 6:00pm, the Sierra Nevada House in Coloma is hosting
an invited Artist Musical Jam Fest. Music, silent auction, food & drinks.

The musical line up sounds GREAT, with music starting:
6:15 with local talent Tiffani Shiro, Robin King & Thom Bently
6:45 Robin King - Singer
7:15 Laura Bowly - Acoustic singer/songwriter
8:00 "In Full Swing"
8:45 Vince Di Maggio - Cameron Park soul/funk/groove musician
9:30 "Call Me Ugly" - Raggae band

Silent Auction options and item for KK's benefit:
Costa Rica, Hawaii, Baja, Tahoe and the Russian River, all vacation and/or trips you can bid on. In addition to these travel options, will be art and jewelry items, interesting local items, and tasty wine and food gifts. On the more practical side you may bid on construction help, organizational assistance, or a Camp Lotus pass. With over 70 items, there is surely something for every taste & can feel good about your choice, since bidding is just another way of donating!

$25 donation at the door & Kids 10 and under free. Includes hors d'oeuvres and beer & wine available for $3 while it last. Sierra Nevada House has special dinner menu offered for purchase.
Buy a ticket early, receive a complimentary beverage. All proceeds from this event go to assist Kelley in her recovery. For more information, view this YouTube interview or read her story in the Sacramento Bee.

Tickets are available in
Coloma-Lotus: at The River Store, Sierra Nevada House, The River Shack, and Gringo’s.
Placerville: at The Bookery, Main Street Music, and Fitzpatrick Physical Therapy.

Tickets will also be available at the door. Please click to download a flyer for the event (PDF). For more information, contact Tiffani Shiro at (530) 642-8517. [website]

I have the feeling this will be an event not to be missed. Kelley will do her best to be there.

Monday, September 28, 2009

About 2 weeks ago Kelley had her first follow up visit with the doctor who performed the surgery on her broken leg, and the news is good!. He says it is about half way healed, and he is very pleased with how it looks. She still has about 2 months to go, but the end is in sight. She is going to be able to ease into some exercising now, albeit very gradual and easy at first, just working on some easy upper body mostly and moving what she can in her lower body while sitting in the chair. She also had a great visit with some very old friends at her high school reunion last weekend, and about 20 of them came the next day to see the "3 women video". It was her first outing (except for doctors visits) since she broke her legs, and she really enjoyed it. She is planning on starting to go to the local gym with her mom this week, so moving forward....yet again.
I took advantage of an unplanned car break down in Sacto yesterday to help her out with catching up on her medical bills through the NTAF account. Good news on that front, thanks to the raft trip and other donations. Got all caught up on her bills, with a comfortable buffer for a little while at least. The Coloma fundraiser will really help ensure she can cover her expenses for the next year of rehab that hopefully can really kick in by around mid november. She also was able to finally complete the process to get her medical coverage through Medicare (primary insurance) and the state MediCal (secondary insurance) program and drop her Blue Cross account. This will probably reduce her regular monthly medical expenses by almost $1,000 a month (between monthly premiums and drug and doctor co-pays)... and her insurance was good....!. Sure gives you some perspective on this whole health insurance debate. She had to become financially destitute to qualify for Medicare and MediCal, and with the cost of paying for regular insurance with a condition like Kelley's you are about guaranteed to become destitute sooner then later.
But Medicare and MediCal still will not pay for much of the alternative and aggressive therapy, and supplements Kelley really needs for optimum recovery and health. So the NTAF account has been, and still is, critical for her since it can pay for that support without affecting her MediCare-Cal status (since the NTAF account is non-profit and only pays for strictly defined medically related expenses not covered by insurance).
Thanks to everyone that has provided this well timed and much needed support! Kelley, Kurt, Sean, Leona (Kelley's quiet but capable super-mom), and I hope to see many of you in Coloma in a few weeks. Sue

Friday, September 11, 2009

Well its been more than a month so this blog is a long one. The Tuolumne River Fundraiser was a resounding success. Many thanks to Bob and Jane Ferguson, the owners of Zephyr Whitewater Rafting who hosted this trip, and as a result will be donating approximately $6K to Kelleys NTAF account. We had 15 clients, largely consisting of an extended women’s posse of Kelleys friends, (and their friends) , and “The Family”. The family consisted of one of Kelley’s old friends Jim Elliot, his wife Laurie, and their two sons. The group energy was just great, including both the volunteer guides ( Joe Dengler, Didi Cioffi, and Janice Stanley) and the paid Zephyr guides (Bridget, Neva, and Rueben). The highlights of the trip for me was 1) paddling in the front of Joe’s boat, who since he hadn’t seen the river in ten years, ran it as a read and run exploratory, with precise and exacting moves from slot to slot. As he repeated at the top of each rapid, “Ok, now for this one… we are going to stay on top of the water…and go between the rocks.” Great fun, and created a totally unique “T” experience for me. 2) the joy of sleeping under the stars on a California river canyon in late august, in what feels like the very heart of mother earth and 3) watching Ben and Jesse Elliot just do what they do, particularly hucking the cliffs at the North Fork pools. Jim and Laurie have raised some adventurous, and socially engaging young men that were simply a delight to have on the trip.

Of course my mind was filled throughout the trip of the many memorable experiences Kelly and I have shared with other friends on this river. My first trip down the Tuolumne was during what I think of as the “Summer of Love” of California river rafting, in 1983. This was the first year I came out to California to work on the river, and as many of you may recall that high water year, California river running was just outrageous, I was completely enamored by the whitewater and whitewater community, and after that summer knew I was moving to California! The peak experience of that season was a 40 person private trip of south fork river guides on the “T”, still running at over 5,000 cfs in early August. There are so many stories from that trip. Lets just suffice to say that it was just one of the first of many times when Kelley and Julie helped push me outside of my comfort zone, as I was drawn into their constant quest for adventure.

Watching the new generation of young river guides on this trip definitely reminded me of those magical years, and of course the tragedy of how much life has changed for Kelley. Joe and I stopped and visited Kelley on our way home, to deliver the tip money the guides wanted to donate and tell her about the trip. Of course we reminisced a little about the “summer of 83”. Kelley is hanging in there, but this is obviously a tough time. Not only is she on a complete hold on rehab, but the braces her legs are in seem to be stimulating a lot of nerve pain. Day by day, thats all she and her loved ones can do.

Upcoming Fundraisers: Some other news to report regarding fundraising. Sue Campbell hosted a small fundraiser in Anchorage, Ak, showing the 3 women DVD last month, and estimates they raised about $1.5K for Kelley's medical fund.

September 27th at 1:00 pm, at the El Dorado High School, Kitty "Couch" Tulga, a friend of Kelley's from High School, will be organizing the fundraiser - showing the DVD
"3 Women 300 Miles"
- $10 donation at the door.

An invited Artist Musical Jam Fest, for October 23rd, 6:00pm, at the Sierra Nevada House in Coloma - $25 donation at the door. Tiffany Gomes and a group of folks from Coloma are organizing this Jam Fest Fundraiser and the line up sounds GREAT, no one famous, but talented and entertaining for sure. I have the feeling this will be an event not to be missed.

And lastly please check out the new link at the left of this blog. It features a short 3 minute video our friend Trish produced, to help tell Kelleys story. Hope to see many of you at the October event, to be with Kelley on the 2nd anniversary of when this journey all began for Kelley. It helps to know she is still not alone on this path. Sue

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Well Kelley is healing. She had her first check up last tuesday and the doctor says the xray shows that the bad fracture above her prosthetic knee joint is healing. This is the one that they were really worried about. The femur broke just above her prosthetic knee, so they inserted two long thin metal rods half way up her femur that criss cross and "pinch" her prosthetic knee. They then pinned these two rods just above the knee joint so the rods really squeeze it. This is all supposed to knit the whole thing back together so her femur reattaches to the prosthetic knee. Complicated... and so far it appears to be working. Kelley spends a fair bit of time in her new chair, but is still taking it very easy. But at least she can move around the house, get outside and visit with friends. In this photo she and her Mom are visiting with Julie and Abigail. Wilbur has a little basket in back of the chair that he just likes to lay in so he always goes where Kelley goes.

Some funding has been coming into the NTAF account, thank you to everyone that has contributed, it sure helps with the insurance premiums and copays. The Tuolumne trip has filled! so that will also be helping making a dent in some of the backlog of bills, and hopefully help pay for a badly needed wheel chair ramp to the house. Please continue to send her your good thoughts, meditations,prayers, and emails, and stop by and visit. Your positive energies definitely help. Sue

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How it happened. A lot of folks have been asking, and guess it’s better if Kelley doesn’t have to tell everybody the story over and over. She and Sean were leaving the house to go on one of their bike rides. Their house unfortunately is situated at the top of a short and steep slope relative to the street and sidewalk. There is no easy way in and out of the house for her, but in her knobby tired wheelchair she had developed the confidence to switch back down her yard to the sidewalk. It’s a class 4 (maybe 4+) move for sure, but you know how it is when you’ve developed some skills, and done something often enough, just doesn’t seem that risky any more. So she left Sean to lock up the house while she went down the slope. But right near the end of the slope her tire dropped into a large fist sized hole that she did not see or know was there, and the abrupt stop pitched her out of the chair. She came down on he knees in a deep knee bend. It is disturbing that this fall caused so much damage, because it just doesn’t seem like the impact was that hard (she went down on grass). But she does have very little muscular support to absorb the shock, and we just aren’t sure at this point to what degree the condition of her bones may have become compromised by the events over the past year. It will be one of the things that are examined in her follow-up to this accident. More later, Sue

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shock, despair, disbelief, heartbroken, angry. These are a few words to describe the range of emotions Kelley as been experiencing this past week, and have been shared by her friends in your voicemails and emails. I just spent a day and a half with her in the surreal time warp that is the University of Davis Medical Center. I don’t know how to describe the experience, but I am not the one that has had the traumatic injury, am not on drugs, but still am in a perpetual state of feeling, " what the f***ing hell is going on"? Can you imagine how Kelley feels? After many long hours interspersed by brief interludes of various peoples of different roles and responsibilities popping in and spouting off various confusing, conflicting, and lacking amounts of information, we finally got a few minutes of time with the Doctor who performed her surgery, and will be doing the follow up on her recovery. He is expecting 4 to 5 months for her fractures to heal. During this time she is to do virtually no activity with her legs, so her rehab is essentially stalled during this time. She came home from the hospital this afternoon, and we started setting up her situation for an extended period of bed rest and loss of mobility. I will post more information over the next several days. Please do call or email, and make plans to stop by if you can. She could sure use the support right now friends. She is still Kelley, staying strong, trying to keep her justifiably earned meltdowns brief, and looking forward. Lets help her get through this. Sue.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Kelley has had a pretty major set back in her life. Last saturday she "tripped" in her wheel chair, and in the fall ended up breaking both her femurs. She did not know her injury was so bad until her legs started swelling a couple of days later. She just got out of surgery this evening, and the doctors have told Kurt it went well. She has some new pins in her legs, and cannot put weight on her legs for 6 weeks, so she will not be able to do her high level physical therapy for some time, and undoubtably will be basically bed ridden for awhile. Her spirits are still strong, although she knows she is in for a tough couple months ahead (as if her life has not been tough enough). So please give her a call, and for those who live close, arrange to stop by if you can, and maybe offer to run some errands for her and Kurt if they need. And of course the NTAF fund could still use a boost, since there will undoubtably be some costs associated with this situation. Will keep the blog posted as events unfold in this new unforeseen detour in Kelleys Journey to Recovery.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As I said in my previous blog Kelley and Sean are doing lots of biking these days. Since this is assisted biking and they are going for so long (10+ miles some days) Sean has figured out how to hook his bike up behind kelley's so they are kind of doing a tandem thing. Thought you might enjoy the photo. Also want to get the word out about another fantastic river trip offer. Ken Streeter is offering a 4 day Rogue River Trip for $750, from September 16 through September 19. If you are interested in learning more about the Rogue River, or signing up for this trip , please go on Kens website at Spaces are limited, so this trip may fill pretty quickly.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Haven’t seen Kelley in a while, but we have been in touch. Her last email sounded very positive. She is able to crank a spin bike in the gym for 15 minutes on her own, and has been doing long hours of walking in her braces and walker, and assisted biking on her tricycle. Sean is still working with her almost every day, and at this point is working just for basic living expenses since we have run out of money in the NTAF account. We have planned some rafting fundraisers for this summer to help eventually reimburse Sean fairly for his invaluable role in Kelley’s recovery program. She has a relatively narrow window of opportunity to make the recovery that is possible for her, and this daily intensive training with Sean is the key to making the most of the ultimate outcome. We think the next 6 months will be especially key.

The raft trips being offered through the generous offers of outfitters are a two day Tuolumne trip on August 27th and 28th , and a one day + camping trip on the South Fork of the American on July 31st . The South Fork trip will have a women’s trip group, as well as a separate kids trip group. If you are interested in either of these trips please contact Zephyr Whitewater for the Tuolumne Trip, and Mariah Wilderness Expeditions for the South Fork Trip, or you can contact me at for more information. We also may need a few more volunteer guides for these trips, so please contact me if interested in doing that as well. I know I had said it before, but I will say it again, Kelley’s focus and ability to work through (and sometime having to just wait out) the nerve pain is something I think about almost every day, and keeps everything in my life in perspective. Makes the challenges I face in my life seem so easy in comparison. Keep sending her those positive vibes. Happy Solstice, Sue

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kelley saw many of you river folks recently at a memorial gathering for our friend Lars, on the banks of the American River. Was great to see such an incredible gathering of the river community, and sad and powerful to hear and share stories of our friend Lars. It was also great to keep looking over at Kelley and see her surrounded and visiting with so many of you. Her life is currently very isolated in some ways, and she misses the river and its community tremendously. Hopefully now that she is driving she can get out more. Thats right, Kelley drove up in her "accessible" van from Sacramento, and picked Julie, Lisa and I up in Coloma, and drove us up to Chili Bar for the memorial. It was her first big outing in the van, and it was only after I got out and really started looking at the hand controls, that I really realized that naviagating the steep curvey descent down to Chili Bar, is a bit more challenging with that set up, then regular cars. The gas and brake are on the steering wheel. But she did great (of course).

So unfortunately our San Juan River Trip fundraiser had to be cancelled, (lack of sign-ups) so am working on other local options instead. Keep tuned, next blog will hopefully announce dates for South Fork American, Tuolumne, and Rogue River fundraising raft trips. Finances are tight,and would like to try and keep that from getting in the way of Kelley's progress. Kelley is still making hard fought progress,with the amazing Sean. I asked Kelley to send me this letter she got from Sean, after she had had a particularly bad day fighting nerve pain, so she could do some physical therapy with him. Their work together is hard, painful... and beautiful....

"Hi Kelley,

Here are some photos just were taken after the big pain during the whole hard day, I don't think it's a bad day, it is still a recovering day and developing day.

Remember, we are making a miracle!

Don't worry about the money, it would not stop the miracle.
Don't worry about how fast or how slow it is, it's not our business, it's God's business. Our business is Keep going, going and going, never stop!
Please clear your mind, concentrate on it!

What is miracle? there are many ways to explain. one way is below.

it would not happen today, many people stop at today;
it would not happen tomorrow, many people stop at tomorrow;
it would not happen next week, many people stop at the week;
it would not happen next month, many people stop at the month;
it would not happen next year, many people stop at the year;
it would not happen in the time people expect;
it would happen when people completely forget ask the time, only concentrating the hard work, ....

See you tomorrow,

Friday, April 10, 2009

I visited with Kelley this past weekend. She and Sean have been continuing to make progress. She walked for about 15 minutes, with her leg braces and walker from the living room, through the kitchen around the bedroom and back. Her progress is slow but deliberate. This is still walking for therapy, doing weight bearing exercise to rebuild nerves, muscles, connections…so that eventually she can walk for transport. After some massage and exercise, Sean then took her out on her new tricycle. Kelley straps her legs into this 3 wheeler, and with Sean providing a slight assistance by pulling on a strap, Kelley peddles.. The nerve pain is still bad, though it cycles with good days and bad days. But Kelley continues to never take a pain free moment for granted, and uses those for all she’s worth.
I am continuing to work on some fund raising events for her (San Juan River Trip, maybe a film showing in Truckee). Her NTAF fund is currently tapped out. Sean works at a very good price, but because he works with her so much, it still adds up. If you feel like you can help out, please send a contribution to her NTAF account, following the info presented on the side bar of the blog. Sue

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kelley has been spending more time in her leg braces, as you can see in the picture. But the last couple months have also been preoccupied with her fathers failing health. After visiting him for a week several weeks ago, he passed away last Sunday from cancer. She went back up to Montana to try and see him before he went, and has spent the last week with her Mom. We also just found out a good friend of both of ours has also passed away from a very aggressive cancer. A very sad time.

I would also like to let everyone know about a river trip that is planned this year as a fundraiser for Kelley, through Canyon REO, on the San Juan River. We had a very successful fundrasing trip last year with OARs, and Donnie wants his shot at contributing too. However the focus of this years trip will be different. For one thing Kelley is going to make every effort to go, accompanied by her Mom and a family friend, and hopefully Kurt and Sean. So besides doing a trip with Kelley and her loved ones, we are going to make the focus of this trip, a parent trip, for those of us who are realizing we may not have much time left to do this kind of cool thing with our parents. The San Juan, for those who don't know, is a beautiful and mellow southwestern river canyon. The launch date is June 16th, with 3, 4 and 7 day options, the price is $800, and Donnie is donating all profit to Kelleys fund. If you would like more information about the river, please google the Canyon REO website. If you are interested in signing up for the trip, just email me ( , and I will send you the waiver forms, and deposit invoice needed to get you started. We are looking for a $250 deposit by mid April. Remember to tell those you love, that you do.... Love, Sue

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Well we had a fundraiser for Kelley last weekend here at the Lake Tahoe Community College. Showed the 3 Women/3 Hundred miles DVD and our outrigger canoe club hosted a social mixer with appetizers and soft drinks before and after the movie. Almost sold out the 200 seat theatre. I have been hearing all week how moved my friends and co-workers were by the film and her story. Very generous donations were received which will help replenish Kelley’s NTAF account. If anyone reading this blog wants to host a fundraiser please feel free to contact me. I can line you up with a DVD, info for setting up donations through the NTAF, and possibly free event insurance (if held in California). The best part is Kelley came up to attend the fundraiser, and visit with folks afterwards. I also got a chance to meet Sean finally, Kelley’s full time therapist, coach, and ‘angel’. He is a gem. So attentive and focused on Kelley’s needs and capacity, and a personality full of exuberance and light. The next day, Sean did a workout session in the morning with Kelley at my house, then we took a drive out to Emerald Bay to show him Lake Tahoe. Kelley can practice standing with a Walker now in her leg braces, so she doesn’t need to travel with the easy stand to get the weight bearing exercise she needs on her legs when she is traveling. My floor was a little to slippery for her to walk with the Walker, but she does do this at her home. She also told me this week that she went to the gym and was able to turn the pedals on a spin bike on just her own power. So the gains continue, slowly but surely. The photos with this blog are of Kelley doing some pool therapy, and she can “pedal” her legs pretty well in the pool too. So the gains continue, slowly but surely.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6, 2008

Well its along time since the last post, but wanted to wait until I got some good beta about the trip to Johns Hopkins Hospital by Kelley and Kurt. Kurts description is below, and the photos show Kelley standing and walking in her new leg braces, and working through some nerve pain with her love cell Wilbur. Nothing like a little puppy love to help you through the tough times. Sue.

Kurts says: " Our trip to Johns Hopkins was very positive overall. We went to two different centers. One was for physical rehabilitation (Kennedy Krieger Institute) and the other was the formal Transverse Myelitis medical group at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Both centers did a full workup on Kelley, including bone density scan, Optic nerve testing, full bloodwork and another spinal tap for a special test. We are still waiting on several of the results. However, all tests that are concluded show that Kelley is very capable of performing the hard work she needs to do in order to recover. Kelley had a full week of physical rehab at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She learned several new exercises there and came home with prescriptions for an improved wheelchair backrest and seat. Most importantly, they also prescribed an electronic muscle stimulator unit. This will help Kelley combat muscle atrophy during the time that she needs to regain motor function. At both facilities, we welcomed the staff's willingness to look at Kelley from a fresh perspective. And although there are so many variables and mysteries about Kelley's condition of Transverse Myelitis, we did feel comfortable that these people really know what they are doing. I think that the greatest and most lasting impression gained was the positive energy that everyone projected towards Kelley's recovery. Nerve pathways can grow back in time, and the limits to this are very much related to the individual's capacity for very hard work. Getting such a positive a feeling from the staff has raised Kelley's own determination to an even higher level."