By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Twenty years ago, a friendship was formed among three families from Shrewsbury. The Hallys Clearys and Magners family shared endless playdates when their children were younger. Kim Hally, Kate Cleary, and Pat Magner have also shared a sisterly bond and, although they all do not remain in the same neighborhood where they met, their friendship is the strong driving force that has propelled Kate and Pat to seek out help for their friend.
In April 2013, Kim was attending her son Tim's lacrosse game. At the conclusion of the game while driving out of the parking lot, she had what at first appeared to be a seizure. But in fact, it was much more serious; Kim had suffered a devastating brainstem stroke.
Kim, who is now 54, spent three months in the Intensive Care Unit of UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester before moving to the Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Westborough until her insurance would no longer cover it. She has since been moved to the Wachusett Extended Care Facility in Holden. She has no speech or movement, but cognitively she is fine.
Kim's husband, Jack, is there every morning at 5:30 a.m. He then goes to work and returns in the evenings. Her three children also are very devoted to their mother. Tim, 17, is a junior at Shrewsbury High School and sees his mother daily after school and sports practice. John, 26, lives in Milwaukee, Wis., and Bridgette, 23, lives in Virginia. They rotate weekends, flying in with frequent flyer miles donated by friends and family.
“After they were dropped by their insurance company, we knew we just had to do something,” Cleary said. “We learned of this not-for-profit organization called HelpHopeLive that is based in Pennsylvania. It was initially started as a group for transplant patients, while now it is also for people who have traumatic brain injuries as well as spinal injuries. They hold the funds in a trust and they handle all of the paperwork and tax forms so people can make a tax-deductible donation.”
“Jack and Tim bear all of the responsibility for Kim and it is difficult,” added Magner. “Tim feels that his mom is alive and he is so happy for that. He has given up his life after school. He heads out to Holden and shares his day with his mom and does his homework there with her.”
Jack has shared the family's heartbreaking journey on the website, www.caringbridge.com. There he has detailed in elegant and thoughtful words just how much Kim's illness has impacted the family and how grateful they are for the many kindnesses shown to them all throughout this terrible time.
Kim has tremendous faith and has been a part of St. Mary's Parish in Shrewsbury for a long time. Monsignor Michael Rose has been very supportive in getting the word out to the public that a fundraising effort is underway. In only a short time, $12,500 has been raised.
“In order to bring Kim home, a lot of modifications would need to be made to accommodate her wheelchair and more,” Cleary explained. “They are still waiting to be put on Mass Health. She would also need 24-hour care as she is paralyzed from the neck down and has a tracheostomy.”
There are also a few goals that her friends and family would like to see achieved. A special computer would enable Kim to communicate much easier as she now communicates through a letter board. Jack's brother is an architect and has already sketched some design modifications to the Hally's home. Her family and friends are hoping that with funds, the promise of bringing Kim home is a dream they are hoping will come true.
Anyone wishing to help bring Kim home can go to www.HelpHopeLive.org. Make checks payable to: HelpHOPELive in honor of Kim Hally (in the memo) and mail to: HelpHOPELive, 2 Radnor Corporate Center, 100 Matsonford Road, Suite 100, Radnor, PA 19087.