[Updated: 11/6, 9:37am; 11/7, 10:22am]
Nearly a year ago I introduced you to Kyrstin Westwind — the carfree, single mom who was just starting a bike-powered blender business called Sprocket Smoothies.
Since then Kyrstin has been busy attending local bike events (at Bike to Work Day in May she let Commissioner Adams make a smoothie for himself), posting to her Wheel Revolution blog, going to school at Portland State University, and caring for her 12 year-old son, Leo.
Lately though, Kyrstin has devoted all her time to Leo.
Leo has a genetic liver ailment known as Alagille Syndrome. But despite this condition he’s led an active life; he’s earned a blue belt in Taekwon Do, he likes to do gymnastics, and I even remember him being front and center at the donut-eating contest at the Carfree Days event last year…
with donuts at the ’06 Carfree Days event.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)
Kyrstin, with the help of friends, even made Leo a custom sidecar to ride around in when he outgrew their Burley trailer.
(Photo: Kyrstin Westwind)
However, in recent months, Leo’s condition has deteriorated significantly. He has been on bed rest, has been unable to walk on his own, and he faces constant aches and pains.
Leo and Kyrstin are currently at Seattle Children’s Hospital where doctors have determined that a liver transplant is Leo’s only hope for survival (his poor health has made him eligible for a donor that becomes available anywhere in the region).
To help with health care costs (the transplant alone is estimated to cost $2-300,000), the community has rallied around the Westwind family.
for Leo flyer (PDF).
Leo’s dad Michael works at Free Geek, a local non-profit and long-time supporter of the bike community. They’ve set up the Leo Westwind Medical Fund. You can donate and learn more about Leo on the Free Geek website.
Another effort to raise money for Leo has come from Team Midnight, the folks behind Portland’s monthly Midnight Mystery Rides (MMR). The rides, which have been as large as 300 riders, happen on the second Friday of each month and February’s edition will be a special Ride for Leo. Team Midnight will give out prizes for various donation amounts.
Kyrstin has set up a blog called Friends of Leo to keep everyone posted on her thoughts and the latest news.
Kyrstin and Leo need as much help as they can get right now. Please consider a donation through the Free Geek fund and/or plan to attend the Midnight Mystery Ride in February.
Take care Michael, Kyrstin, and Leo. You are in my thoughts and you’ve got a lot of Portlanders pulling for you.
11/7: from Kyrstin,
“We have insurance at long last.. So the basic, direct medical expenses, including the surgery will be covered: YAY!!!
Leo was briefly released to Ronald McDonald House, back on December 1st, but had to come back before the first Hanukkah candle was lit due to an infection in one of his IV lines. So we have been camped out in the ICU since the 3rd. The docs say he is making a good recovery from the infection. He is still heavily sedated and hooked up to nearly every machine in the ICU
I am so very grateful to all of you, and in awe of the love and support that have been showered on Leo and I
Some unfortunate news. Here’s the latest from Kyrstin:
Leo went into the pediatric ICU here at (Seattle) Children’s Hospital last night, having suffered a number of set backs, including collapsed lung.
He is on a ventilator, heavily sedated, and hooked up to just about every machine they have here. The docs were concerned that he might be experiencing kidney failure, as well as liver failure, and were prepared to put him on dialysis, but he seems to have stabilized to the point were they are backing off on that now. What he really needs is a new liver.
Visitors are severely restricted, and no one with any indications that they might be coming down with anything will be allowed in, nor does the ICU allow balloons, flowers, or outside food (I am having to forgo my hourly caffeine infusions while with him) but cards and letters are quite welcome, he loves knowing you all are thinking of him.
Ronald McDonald House
5130 40th Avenue NE #287
Seattle, WA 98105.