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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bill Pekarski: Day 330, Living life on my terms.

Bill Pekarski:
Day 330, Living life on my terms.

Why do we have the best communities up here in northern Pennsylvania? One part of the answer is very simple; when someone or a family is in need, we do what we can to help them out and give them a hand up. This weekend, we have an opportunity to show our support for a great man and family in Port Allegany.

Just this past May, Kevin Baer went to the hospital with complaints of dehydration and general malaise. He was in Charles Cole for a few days and they were unable to get a handle on his condition so he was sent to UPMC Hamot in Erie where doctors determined he experienced a Pontine Stroke (brain stem) and was suffering from Wernicke's encephalopathy. Wernicke’s disease is the presence of neurological symptoms caused by biochemical lesions of the central nervous system after exhaustion of B-vitamin reserves, in particular thiamine (vitamin B1). Both conditions are extremely serious and life threatening.

As a result, Kevin had a lengthy hospital stay as doctors worked to correct the imbalances that had resulted. He was bedridden and unable to speak at all for many weeks as family stood by praying for a miracle. Doctors and nurses worked diligently to start replacing vital fluids and electrolytes in his body, being careful along the way to not overload or create new problems.

After a few weeks, Kevin was still unable to eat, drink, or talk. You could tell he was thinking and he could squeeze hands, but it was like he was locked out of our world completely. It was a very difficult situation indeed for a man who was an Armed Services Veteran, active reservist, hard-working husband, and a loving father.

Slowly, Kevin has been able to make some modest progress. After swallowing tests, he was able to start taking nutrition by mouth and started talking a little bit. However, his road to recovery is still a lengthy one. He went from the ICU at Hamot to specialty care facility next door and eventually began rehab at Lakeview Manor in Smethport. He has managed to progress to the point where he can use a walker and a wheelchair, but still needs help pretty much around the clock as his strength and stability can falter from time to time.

This past week, he was released from Lakeview and has been able to come home where he continues to rehab every day with the help of family and friends. Through everything, his wife Brenda, his children, and his sisters Millie Kagarise and Sue Speed have been at his side. They have sold “#BAERSTRONG” t-shirts that have his military and reserve emblems on the sleeves and the slogan “FIGHT LIKE A BAER” on the back.

On Sunday, they are holding an event at the VFW on Rt. 155 just south of Port Allegany from 1 to 6 p.m. The event will feature a car show, food, live music and a DJ, games, Chinese auction, and a corn-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Baer family to help with mounting expenses they have had to endure. There will be a special kayak raffle including life vest and paddle as well.

I am also told that Sue Speed will be making her famous meatball subs so anyone in attendance better bring their appetite! For just $6, you will get a meatball sub, macaroni salad, baked beans, drink and desert. There will also be kids’ meals where a hot dog can be substituted in place of the meatball sub (if that is your wish) for just $3

Today I am dedicating my progress to Kevin Baer. Kevin, I know where you have been and I understand what it is like to have to get back to where you want to be. Just know this; you have the love and support of your family and community as you continue your fight to be “#BAERSTRONG!"


Anonymous said...

I believe that the benefit is actually from Noon-6:00pm.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this informative article, and we will add all the Baer family to prayer list.We hope it is a very successful fundraiser and also uplifting for everyone who can show support and know it is appreciated. While we can not attend, could you provide an address to send a check?
Thank you, and Blessings to all.
We are out of the area. Anne Kline