Wednesday, December 2, 2009

12/2 Barberton Herald Interview

Sandstrom continues recovery; Help needed for rehabilitation costs
Rich Muller, Herald Staff Writer 03.DEC.09

Chuck Sandstrom’s goal is to become the same person he was before a June 30 attack left him with a traumatic brain injury and unconscious for 40 days. As a result, he was no longer able to serve as the executive director for the Barberton Community Foundation at the end of October.

Speech therapy is a major emphasis. He knows what he wants to say, but has problems getting the words out. He wants to be as well as he can and communicate with people about his injury.

“I don’t remember anything about the incident at all,” Chuck Sandstrom said about the attack outside an apartment building he owns in Akron, “but we have decided that we are going to forgive the person who did the incident.”

Standing beside him throughout the ordeal has been his wife Auburn. She described what they have been going through as a dismantling of their world. Unemployment has been denied, which they are appealing. They are checking on workers comp for Chuck and they are looking for other options to meet the mounting medical bills.

She has become her husband’s full-time care giver, able to work some herself, but needed at any time at home. Auburn said Chuck has talked a lot about independence and partnership, rather than as caregiver and dependent.

Through it all they have not given up hope. Auburn said the way they keep laughing, getting up in the morning and caring about each other is to focus on what’s working.

“He is creating progress and at the end of the day, who cares about anything else?” Auburn said.

Chuck said what they are doing now is raising money for his rehabilitation and it is important to raise as much as they can because whatever they can raise will make a huge difference in the outcome for him.

In a letter prepared for those wishing to assist in raising funds, the Sandstrom’s write, “According to studies, there is a 100 percent correlation between the quality of care and the quality of the outcome in Traumatic Brain Injured (TBI) patients. There is no limit to the extent to which individuals can be rehabilitated, but there are often limits to what insurance can cover.”

The Chuck Sandstrom Benefit Fund has been set up. Donations can be sent to CF Bank Fairlawn, 2923 Smith Road, Fairlawn, OH 44333.

So far about $7,000 has been raised, but they estimate the cost of rehabilitation efforts through July 1 of next year to be $17,560. That’s with Chuck not working and Auburn only able to work part-time.

The Sandstroms noted two people who have greatly helped them. One is Elizabeth Wilson, who Chuck described as an enormous volunteer who has taken a full and complete interest. Auburn said Sherrie Sanchez at ManorCare Barberton began talking about Chuck’s rehabilitation, even before he regained consciousness, and “set the bar high” which has set the tone they are still following.

The benefit fund committee will meet Saturday from 4–5 p.m. to label and stamp post cards to raise money for the fund at Casa del Ranchero, 562 West Tuscarawas Ave. in Barberton.

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