Kasey has always been a fighter

Kasey (Karen) Currier was born with epilepsy, and with her Dad’s help, was able to meet her medical needs and minimize the frequency of grand mal seizures. Although he died when she was 11, his legacy and memories of the bond they shared inspired her to find ways to control epilepsy for 20 more years before reaching a degree of success.

She came from an established family – her father, Loyd Plunkett, helped build the Talladega Speedway in Alabama – and Kasey had never known money problems. Instead, she fought for equality at work due to her medical disability. She entered a lucrative career in architecture and design and her adopted son was able to attend private school. She often donated to charitable causes, never thinking she might one day need to rely on the aid of others for herself.

She worked for a builder from 2005 to 2008 as a Project Manager. Kasey was on the job site every day, changing plans and creating designs for upgrades and improvements. After three years, she was let go without receiving owed commissions or an explanation.

Shortly after, Kasey faced divorce. She didn’t ask for child support because her husband’s abuse made her fearful of his actions toward both her and her son. Luckily, she had built her house almost 20 years before and had a place to stay. Despite having to pay off a second mortgage taken out by her ex-husband, Kasey moved forward without major financial concern.

Kasey’s Health Decline

Then in 2009, Kasey got out of her car and fell to the ground having suddenly lost feeling in her legs.  She was completely taken by surprise since she had been in great physical shape and had epilepsy under control. She had been an avid competitive swimmer as well as participating in aerobics and Pilates several times a week.

Kasey called the same neurologist that helped her with her epilepsy, Dr. Howard Mandell at Metrolina Neurological Associates. He set up an appointment for an MRI with a spine surgeon, Dr. Anthony Kwon.

Together they determined that the 2 discs located closest to her brain stem had herniated and were a danger to her spinal cord. Surgery was immediate to avoid further damage that might leave her unable to walk. It was a success, but the original injury would go on to give her circulatory problems that affected her blood pressure and heart.

Since the surgery, Kasey shakes uncontrollably at times. These episodes are followed by migraines. She is also having trouble with her balance. The neurologist hasn’t been able to pinpoint the cause yet. Her cardiologist, Dr. Menzr at the Sanger Clinic, is also at a loss. Each month she sees her neurologist or internist, Dr. Vora at Tryon Medical, for medications and treatment including MRIs at a cost of roughly $2800 each. They recommended that she stop working, but Kasey’s disability of $15,072 isn’t able to cover her costs.

Due to rising medical issues and an inability to work, Kasey lost her home in 2011. Her monthly rent and utilities in Charlotte, NC, are about $1700 with a roommate. Section 8 and disabled housing programs in the area have waiting lists for at least a year.

Then she developed a heart condition in 2015 after suffering a concussion from being rear-ended by a car traveling at high speed. The cardiologist couldn’t confirm additional damage to her spinal cord and the insurance company denied the medical claim. But the shaking incidents became more severe and she is stressed by constant heart palpitations, shortness of breath causing an elevated heart rate, and blood pressure requiring monthly medication to give her some relief.

Today, she must have an EEG to monitor and video her shaking episodes over a period of several days at a cost of nearly $5000.

A newly developed drug at $900 per month is needed to combat her shaking events which can happen 3 to 4 times a day.

Stem cell therapy has been suggested in an attempt to replace neurons in her damaged spinal cord, help with neurological problems and injured heart muscle cells. The cost for each treatment needed is between $5,000 and $8000. Only successful fundraising could allow her to consider this option.

Kasey’s Current Financial Circumstances

Most of Kasey’s family is estranged from her. Her oldest brother had offered help but died just weeks ago from complications of prior exposure to agent orange while serving in the military. Kasey’s son has just started his career with an engineering firm with a 5-year contract in Aberdeen, SD, and doesn’t have the means to help any sooner.

Kasey was recently given the use of a 2013 Acura and makes payments on a $7,500 loan. Once it’s paid, she can register the car in her name and get a new tag for roughly $650. Auto insurance is about $70 per month.

She attempted to work even though doctors discouraged her but found that employers don’t want the liability of an employee in her condition. At 63, even people she’s known for years won’t hire her. Her options to reduce living expenses include moving to Aberdeen, SD to be her son or to areas like South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, or northern Tennessee.

Kasey would like to buy the car, pay off $13,000 in credit cards used for medical expenses including some gastrointestinal issues, stress and contrast CT scans, an echocardiogram, and the ambulatory EEG with electrodes over 3 days to monitor shaking activity. Also, a dental bill with Dr. Cliff Smith and costs associated with monthly psychiatric visits with Dr. V. Alan Lombardi and medication for anxiety and depression related to her long-term medical issues.

Kasey’s Expense Summary

$5,000  — 3-day monitor/video
$2800/ea — average MRI cost each
$900/mo is $10,800/yr — for a new drug
$7,500 plus $650 — to pay off car, register and tag
$70/mo is $840/yr — for car insurance
$1,700/mo $10,200/yr — shared rent (section 8 a 1-year wait)
$13,000 —  credit card debt for dental/medical expenses, GI issues, stress/contrast CT scans,        echocardiogram, ambulatory EEG, mental health visits
$3,000 — estimated moving costs to a less expensive living area
$10,000 — funds for training and education in Yoga and Pilates instruction that doubles as recommended therapy
$5,000-$8,000 — per stem cell treatment (if possible, more than one)

TOTAL: $60,800 with one potential stem cell treatment and $76,000 to add to stem treatments if possible.

Your contribution is a cherished gift. Please visit Kasey’s GoFundMe page: gofundme.com/kasey039s-return-to-health

Kasey would like to learn to teach Yoga and Pilates. Both practices are suggested forms of therapy to maintain her health. A $10,000 portion of funding would be needed for training, certification, and education. With earnings of $30 per 50-minute class, she can supplement her monthly budget by about $1,100 without risking her disability pay.

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Jessica Olma, Owner of Scribe Syndicate

Scribe Syndicate recently created this story for a GoFundMe page to help to make Kasey’s page a success. We are not often in a position to make a significant impact on a person’s life, but I hope Kasey’s situation turns around this holiday season and that her health is restored over the next few years. Good health is a precious gift. If you have not selected a charitable cause this year, please choose this one:)

Some acts of kindness are random, some are very specific. I would be happy to keep you updated on Kasey’s progress so you know your contribution made a difference.