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66 donations

This fundraiser ended on 09/02/12

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24-hour caregivers and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (not covered by medical insurance) needed to help bring Ken Catbagan back! Thank you!

Ken suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke on September 2, 2010 while at work. (He was a top-producing realtor with his wife, Natalie Neith, of the Catbagan-Neith Team/The John Aaroe Group). It was a pontine stroke—deep next to the brain stem, affecting one side of his body and the opposite side of his face. His mind is intact; yet he is trapped in a chamber of silence, unable to speak except for a few utterances. Ken is also unable to walk or eat…he is fed through a feeding tube.

In 2011, he was hospitalized about a dozen times, for everything from aspiration pneumonia to a very rare life-threatening form of hemophilia. Ken is such a fighter and has pulled through every time, which is why his loved ones affectionately call him "The Comeback Kid." He is currently at the Veteran Administration hospital where he was admitted for rehabilitation therapy (Physical, Occupational, Speech) only to immediately come down with H1N1 flu and aspiration pneumonia (again!) He spent almost 3 weeks in and out of the ICU. But once again, he fought his way back, and is finally beginning a [limited] session of rehabilitation therapy.

While Ken has medical insurance and veterans benefits, these do not cover the cost of his caregivers. A few years ago, Ken tried to make provisions for himself: He had applied for long-term care insurance, but was denied because he had been diagnosed with “border-line sleep apnea." Long-term care insurance would have helped defray the costs of the round-the-clock caregivers necessary since Ken came home in January 2011.

To cover costs, Ken and Natalie sold their intended retirement home, three cars, and Ken’s beloved Harley-Davidson that they enjoyed so many great rides on. Since his stroke, Natalie has been Ken’s staunch advocate, spending countless hours in hospitals and driving Ken to appointments for therapy, acupuncture, and exploring possibilities that will help with Ken’s recovery. Since Natalie is self-employed as a realtor, her schedule is--thankfully--flexible as she has tried to continue to work to cover costs, even though she has lost her business partner in Ken. Their costs last year were almost $100,000.

As stated, Ken is such a fighter—despite numerous set-backs, he has worked hard to bounce back from MANY serious health challenges. He communicates through pointing to letters and words, thus making known his needs and desires, and/or commenting on life around him. Meanwhile, Natalie has worked to research strokes and stroke recovery—as well as trying to educate others about the signs and dangers of stroke. Her research has led her to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy [HBOT]—which has been an effective treatment for stroke victims, especially abroad. Purchase of an oxygen chamber for use at home would be $20,000-$25,000. Home use is indicated as 80 treatments are recommended in the first go-round, and 2 treatments a day can accelerate recovery. Otherwise, outpatient treatments run as much as $200 per treatment. Moreover, a patient could regress without regular HBOT sessions.

Please donate whatever you can--every bit helps--and please forward this to everyone you know… Ken is such a wonderful guy, beloved and respected by so many, from his former college students to those who know him as a ceramic artist, potter and owner of The Clayhouse, to his realtor colleagues and clients, and all his Harley buddies from SCHRA and LA HOG Chapter #1. He has had over 46,000(!) visits to his CaringBridge patient website by those following his progress and sending their prayers and words of love and encouragement. (CaringBridge.org/visit/KenCatbagan)

Your help would be soooo appreciated! Let’s all pitch in and help them through this tough time…The Comeback Kid is more ready than ever to FIGHT ON!

And PLEASE, take care of yourselves: Be aware of how to protect yourself against STROKE, and consider long-term care insurance---Remember, this could happen to you or a loved one. For more information, view this link: nsa@stroke.org

Thank you for caring enough to help Ken Catbagan!
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