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Guest Column: Carol Whalen beats meningitis. Thank you, community!

  • Written by The Whalen Ladies

Hello everyone,

This is the post our family has prayed we'd be able to write since Tuesday, July 9, 2019 -- an unbelievable 62 days ago. Our beautiful Rockstar Mom BEAT MENINGITIS AND IS COMING HOME!!! We are bringing her unparalleled smile and gorgeous spirit back to Friday Harbor later this week. She has missed our island home and all of you so much.

That's A Wrap

In the month since our last post, Carol has graduated from her rigorous physical and occupational therapies with flying colors. She has faced every potential long term effect of this voracious illness and said "not me!" -- and has suffered no long term hearing, vision, neurological or physical impairments. The road to full recovery will still be taxing, but she's medically ready to return home and begin the journey of getting back to her rich and wonderful life.

All of you that have followed her story have helped bring this miracle to us. Our GoFundMe campaign has had 640 unique shares, and 165 of you have followed each step of her journey. That's not to count the tens of direct supporters who have followed us through email, phone calls, texts -- an outpouring of love and assistance that kept us going. In total Carol has received over $15,500 in financial support - money that is allowing us to face the financial fallout and continue to support her while she faces prolonged downtime from work (doctor's orders!). The power of human kindness is astonishing, and from the very reaches of our hearts we thank you for loving us, knowing us, and standing with us. Over the coming months, we hope to be able to uphold our promise of donating to Friday Harbor EMS - without whose support our joy today wouldn't be possible.

Many of you have asked what you can do to help once she is home; we are now ready to receive your help with open arms. We girls (Bristol and Desi) will be on island during the first several days to get her acclimated and rejoice in her return home. Carol still faces some hard work in her recovery --- her ability to multi-task and keep her energy up will take months to fully heal. We are also facing two important timelines that will force us to adapt and overcome both financially and physically:

Carol cannot return to work until November 1, 2019. More than ever, we thank you for the financial support you've provided and appreciate the continued sharing of her story to help us through the next two months.

Due to her seizure, by state law, Carol cannot drive until January 2020. Though she lives in town and has the support of an amazing roommate and best friend, transit to/from basic daily outings - such as grocery shopping, appointments, as well as getting in walks for physical therapy and more - will be a new chapter of her journey.

If you would like to be included in a meal train or transportation list, please reach out to bristolwhalen@outlook.com.

But most importantly, it's the love and friendship you have to offer that will become the most important form of help over the next several months. Even though we know she's safe and ready, we have some anxiety about mom heading home. When you nearly lose someone, it's hard to let anything go out of your control. Us girls both live and work off island, and while we'll be on island as often as we can, we appreciate you in advance for welcoming her back home and showering her with love and support. Visit her! Take her to lunch! Go for a walk! Revel in that big smile and amazing laugh you all called to mind over the last two months and celebrate with us. In the face of so much scariness, Mom has reflected and found much inspiration to "focus only on the good" -- forgiving what's in the past, thinking only forward toward making this second chance all it can be.

Because she did it folks. Go Mamacita, go.

The Whalen Ladies: "Team Rockstar Mom" -- Bristol, Desi and Carol

Haven't read Carol's full story? Here is the link to her campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/carolwhalen