Kim Hally suffered devastating brain stem stroke in 2014
By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Six years ago, Kim Hally was leaving the Shrewsbury High School parking lot after watching her son Tim’s lacrosse game. And then in an instant, not only her life changed, but also that of her family, when she suffered a devastating brain stem stroke.
Thankfully Kim survived, but the journey since, as her husband of 33 years, Jack, said, has been “heartbreaking and humbling.” Throughout it all, the Hally family has been surrounded by love from friends, family, community members, medical professionals and beyond.
As Jack wrote so eloquently on his Facebook page, “She wasn’t supposed to survive.
And if she did, her prognosis was bleak. Yet the strongest woman in the world would defy the odds they set against her. And so she fought.”
After her stroke, Kim 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 then was moved to the Wachusett Extended Care Facility in Holden.
Jack reached out and a group of very willing and able volunteers came forward to help care for Kim five days each week while she was a patient there, helping her work on skills such as raising her hand and sitting on the edge of her bed.
“Someone once told me that if something bad happens, think of the 10 people that would be there. However, you’re going to meet 100 people you never knew who will become part of your life,” said Jack.
In November 2014, a very successful fundraiser, “A Night of Hope and Song, Bring Kim Hally Home,” was held. Eight hundred people attended, raising $130,000, which enabled Jack to put in a state of the art handicapped accessible bedroom so Kim could come home.
About a year ago, there was another successful event hosted by the Exhibitors Designer Producers Association, “Rally for the Alley” in Foxborough. Sixteen thousand dollars was raised at that event, which helped with the cost of Kim’s continuous care.
Today Kim continues to make strides – from being able to faintly talk to eating some solid foods, according to a fundraiser page set up in her honor.
“She has become quite the celebrity. We have gone to basketball games, lacrosse games and just take Kim wherever we could. It was all out of pocket. I hate to tell you what it costs to take an ambulance, a driver and a nurse to a sporting event. But she was a mom first. I would not accept that she would not progress,” Jack said.
Her family’s journey has been a long and often frustrating battle. There have been medical setbacks and ongoing struggles with insurance and coverage. Through it all, the family tries to remain positive and focus on continuing to get Kim the support she needs.
Kim still needs care 24/7 and thankfully, that has been approved. As such, her family is now seeking qualified candidates to staff those shifts.
“We have had a wonderful group of people helping to make sure Kim is safe, positive and most importantly, home. Now, we are currently looking for good people who will be paid to assist with this task. We need candidates who are responsible personal care assistants or a qualified Certified Nurse’s Aid (CNA) or even a nursing student,” Jack said.
Since Kim’s stroke, Jack has worked tirelessly with a faceless bureaucracy to deal with medical insurance. Every year he goes under audit with Mass Health. He is so appreciative of so many people who have supported him and his family.
“State Representative Hannah Kane has literally come to our rescue. She has been incredible. U.S. Senator Bob Casey (of Pennsylvania) is a former classmate of mine and we have had many high-level discussions about healthcare,” he said.
Anyone wishing to make donations on Kim’s behalf to help offset medical bills may visit helphopelive.org/campaign/4353.For information on working with Kim in a professional capacity, contact Jack at [email protected] or via text at 508-873-2328.