Kim & Ron Echeverri

Written by Kim Echeverri

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I am very humbled to think that because of JW, and out of his family’s loss, my family and I have been given such a gift, this refuge, this place of healing and recovery.

On January 24, 2016, with my arm around to steady him, my husband Ron, the love of my life, stumbled into the emergency room at Kaiser, Santa Clara.  He would not be well enough to come home for over five months.

 

Ron was admitted to the ER on the morning of January 24.  By that evening a team of doctors had diagnosed him with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder where the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system and strips the myelin sheath from the nerves.  Within a few days, Ron went from being perfectly healthy, strong, and independent, to being almost completely paralyzed and on life support.

 

Ron spent 5 weeks in the ICU at Kaiser Santa Clara.  The first few days are a complete blur.  I tried to go home to sleep, but it was useless.  All I could think about was that my husband was locked inside his body, which had turned on him in a frightening and terrible way.  He couldn’t blink his eyes, move his mouth to speak, or move his arms or legs, but he was very aware of what was going on.  I couldn’t simply leave him alone to face this nightmare alone!  The nurses in the ICU saw that I was not going to leave his side, and suggested that I go get a meal at the JW House, and maybe take a nap.  I am so glad that I took their advice.

 

The JW House became my refuge those first five weeks.  I ate lunch and dinner there daily, took a few naps in their day guest room, even got a massage there.  It was also a place where other family members could rest and get a meal when they came from out of town to visit my husband.  The JW House was a place of healing for me, and every time I went there for a meal, I was able to go back to my husband with a little extra to give to him, to help with his healing.  

 

Ron was finally well enough to come home on July 1.  He’s still recovering, and he gets a little bit better every day.  If there’s one thing that this journey has taught me, it’s that we, my husband and I, are among the fortunate ones.  I’ve met many people along the way who are not as fortunate, and will not be able to bring their loved one home.  

 

The vision of this organization was the dream of a selfless young man who, while battling brain cancer, wanted to do something to help other families facing similar circumstances.  I am very humbled to think that because of JW, and out of his family’s loss, my family and I have been given such a gift, this refuge, this place of healing and recovery.