• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

Friends join forces to keep Lou Gehrig’s disease victim at home

March 31st, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

By Jessica Sonderegger

LOGAN—The comedians of the improv comedy troupe Logan Out Loud and the committee of the Keep Kim Home Foundation joined forces recently for an evening of humor and hope.

“Thanks again, Kim, for letting us come and perform for you,” LOL said from the stage.

Keep Kim Home pic

Kim Maibaum (center) gets by with a little help from her friends.

The focus of the evening is Kim Maibaum, 58, a USU alumna and nine-year survivor of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“Pineapple wants me to sacrifice my kid, and guava fruit gives out free doughnuts,” said LOL’s Kendall Pack during a skit. “I don’t know who to choose.”

The humor was random, hilarious and all in the name of granting Maibaum’s wish to be able to live at home.

That’s the goal of the KKH foundation, which includes 10 USU students who hope to make this a permanent reality. The Keep Kim Home boosters try to host fundraisers every month to raise money to help support Maibaum’s care.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that depresses and eventually shuts down all voluntary muscle movement, and has an average survival rate of two to three years. Nine years into the disease, Maibaum’s mind is still active and her thoughts are complex, but she lacks the muscle control to communicate traditionally. Her aides and certified nurse assistants rely on their translation of various mumbled sounds Kim makes to spell out words and sentences, a painstaking practice.

Because of this communication difficulty, Maibaum found living for two years in a nursing facility very frustrating and unsatisfactory. Maibaum says staying at home and working with her aides is a better fit for her demanding condition and progressing illness. With this decision, however, comes financial hardship.

Since her diagnosis, Maibaum has exhausted her financial resources and is in need of a steady income to supplement her government assistance and stay out of a nursing facility.

Several of her personal nurses, friends and neighbors took up the challenge through monthly events to gather donations.

“A lot of people will donate (link http://keepkimhome.blogspot.com/p/donate-now.html) on the blog after events,” said KKH vice president Katie Wright.

Maibaum’s monthly expenses amount to about $2,000, said KKH secretary Cami Larsen at the LOL fundraiser—with 400 people pledging $5/month, Maibaum would “be sustained without big fundraisers like this.”

Maibaum said something similar in her opening message to the audience during March’s event, reminding them that $5 is half of a large Pizza Hut pizza. An aide translated for her as she welcomed and thanked her 105 guests: “Thank you for coming and thank you for Logan Out Loud.”

KKH founder Anika Jeppson, who also works as Maibaum’s aide, says the work is demanding but rewarding.

“She has a way to communicate,” she said. “It’s complex and arduous,” but Kim can make decisions for herself. If she were in a care facility, Jeppson said, nothing would be on her time.

“I think of how she would feel to be taken from her home, the last thing she really has in her life,” Jeppson said, worried that Maibaum’s funds could run out as soon as April.

Jeppson said that the KKH foundation has every intention of fighting for Kim and encouraging Cache Valley to do the same.

It’s a fight that has its good days and its not-so-good days, she says.

Committee members agreed. KKH is always seeking opportunities throughout the valley, and any volunteers who are willing to donate their time, talents and services.

“Once you connect it in your head,” said Wright, concerning the complexities of Maibaum’s communication, “there’s no way” you’d want her in a nursing home.

Donations can be accepted at keepkimhome.blogspot.com, and the committee can be reached at keepkimhome@gmail.com. The foundation can also be found on Facebook (link https://www.facebook.com/pages/KeepKimHome/440387086025546?fref=ts) and Twitter #keepkimhome.


Tags: , , ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.