Rebecca Aleck Koltun Needs Your Help
At age 21, due to a tragic accident, Rebecca is paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on her own. Please help her get the spinal cord injury care and rehab she so urgently needs. ( If you want to follow Rebecca’s journey to recovery, scroll down and click “Subscribe”)
May 8, 2021
Dearest Friends and Family:
Another week has rolled by and again I am happy to report Rebecca continues to progress nicely in rehab.
This week Rebecca was testing out the power wheelchairs. The key is to find one that is easy to operate. Rebecca had previously used the sip and puff but was not crazy about it. This past week she used one with a joy stick which she could operate with her chin and/or tongue. She could also change the mode of the chair ( tilt, forward motion, rear motion) with a triggering device that she could contact with her head. The triggering device is affixed to the headrest adjacent to her head. In addition to the means of operation Rebecca has to decide if she wants a front wheel drive or a mid wheel drive chair. Talk about sensory overload!!
Rebecca also was on the tilt table and on the electric stim bike where they attach electrodes to her legs to stimulate her muscles so she can pedal the bike. Truly an amazing device!
Most importantly Rebecca had the chance this week to meet and interact with various other SCI patients on her floor in what will be a weekly get together Due to HIPAA guidelines and the Dodd Frank Act I am unable to disclose any further information about her fellow floor mates. Nevertheless she enloyed meeting them all and looks forward to seeing them again. Later that evening she facetimed a new peer mentor, a wonderful young woman, who suffered a spinal cord injury about 10 years ago. Rebecca has always been a pragmatic individual and she asked alot of very incisive questions about leading life with a spinal cord injury. Listening to her conversation with this delightful woman brought tears to my eyes.
Rebecca also is continuing her use of the diaphragmatic pacer and building up the strength in her diaphragm as she learns to pull in her own breaths. I could write the next five updates about the pacer and not run out of information to convey. It is a true medical advancement.
One thing I have learned is that there are no hard and fast rules for dealing with spinal cord injury. Every case is different and every injury is different. I have likened it to a labyrinth where you can’t always see what is ahead, you hit dead end paths and then must go back and try something else. Trial and error is key. The key is to never stop trying and employ both patience and persistence Rehab is so important but rest is equally important. Today after riding the electric stim bike Rebecca was exhausted and rest for her was critical.
As for Audrey and I we continue to adjust to life in Boston where even though it is May the weather is still freezing and the trees are hardly in bloom. We continue to dote on our Rebecca who refers to Audrey as her secretary and me as her butler. We take one day at a time. Our lives have been changed forever and the way I view things now is very different from the way I did eight weeks ago. Although I like to think I never took things for granted I am a different man now.
I thank you all again for your thoughts and prayers. The support that we have received from all of you has come in many forms. This support fuels us. It reminds us that we are not in this difficult and complex battle alone. Your texts, calls and messages keep us going.
One silver lining in this, (if there is such a thing) is that we have met and gotten to know many extraordinary people. Superhumans is a term I have coined for them in my mind. This unique group it seems will do anything to help us. That is their calling. Some were strangers before this that we now have the privilege of knowing, others we knew but we were not cognizant of the enormity of their hearts or the beauty of their souls. To that special group I also say thank you.(even though Superhumans do not want or like to be thanked).
Love to you all, Audrey, Scott, Erik and Rebecca
May 6, 2021
On behalf of the Koltun family, I want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers, kind words, generous donations and hard work in support of Rebecca’s journey to recovery. I can’t over-emphasize the gratitude the Koltun’s have expressed for all the warmth and support that they’ve received from family, friends and friends of family and friends. They are so lucky to have all of you.
We’re very pleased to report that Rebecca continues to make progress with her use of the diaphragmatic pacer along with her physical and occupational therapies, all of which are so important to her recovery from this tragic injury.
As of this writing, we’ve raised almost $710,000 for Rebecca’s care. Many people have asked where their donations are going, and some are wondering why we continue to fundraise (and increase our goals) despite the success of our outreach. I hope to clarify that for you here.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the estimated lifetime costs due to spinal cord injury can be as high as $4.7 million, depending on the extent of the injury (Rebecca’s injury — high tetraplegia [C1-C2] is among the most severe).
As you can imagine, the Koltuns face many costs that — despite being medically and practically necessary — are not covered by insurance, Medicaid or Social Security benefits. Here are just a few examples:
• The length of Rebecca’s stay at the Spaulding Rehab Center is dictated not by her medical need, but by her health insurance coverage. The Koltuns have been told that if she were to extend her treatment there under self-pay, it would cost a staggering $10-12,000/day.
• When she returns home to Plainview and likely for the rest of her life, Rebecca will need round-the-clock caretakers to help feed, bathe, dress and transport her to her various rehab therapy appointments and other activities at an approximate cost of $50,000/year)
• Rebecca will need ongoing respiratory, physical and occupational therapies for years to come. Health insurance and Medicaid cover only a limited number of those appointments each year.
Add these expenses to the costs of renovating their home, installing a generator to support a ventilator, power wheelchair and custom hospital bed plus finding interim (accessible) housing while the renovations are being completed, and the average first-year cost for Rebecca’s care can easily exceed $1 million. The cost in subsequent years will likely approach $200,000-$250,000. (You can find a more detailed fact sheet outlining costs for specific items by clicking the aqua box to the left of this column, labelled “How Much Does a Spinal Injury Cost?” Note, however, that the numbers cited are based on 2015 dollars, the latest year for which the data are readily available).
A Special Shout Out
Before I close, I want to offer a special shout out to the many small businesses in and around Plainview, NY that have been sponsoring fundraising events and providing raffle prizes and other donations. You can find their names in the “Media” section of the Rally for Rebecca page on Facebook. If you’re not currently a member of the page, you can join using this link: www.facebook.com to stay informed about upcoming and continuing fundraising activities.
Stay tuned for more updates throughout Rebecca’s journey. And thanks again for your generosity, kindness and support.
Koltun Family Friend
Photo Galleries (3)
May 13, 2021
Sending thoughts and prayers for healing as well as continued positivity, strength and determination. Rory and Debbie Cohen
May 12, 2021
Wishing Rebecca good health
May 12, 2021
Praying for Rebecca!
May 11, 2021
My prayers and thoughts to Rebecca and her family.