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Glow run to benefit local family





ELLIS -- Kelly Beisner was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2004. He struggled through Dyskinesia (the wiggling movements), and after 10 years of medication, he is needing to take the next step in order to improve his quality of life.

The surgical procedure Deep Brain Stimulation was recommended. DBS is a four-surgery procedure in which electrodes are put through the brain to stimulate the brain stem.

Since Kelly had success with the medication, he was considered a candidate for the procedure.

"The doctor told us it's not a matter of if you have the surgery," said his wife, Sandy. "It's a matter of when you have the surgery."

The surgery will be done in Kansas City, Mo., and requires transportation fees along with the cost of the surgery.

Ava North, Ellis, has been a longtime friend of the family, and her daughter is close to the Beisner's daughter, Grace, 11.

"The day Sandy contacted me and told me they were going to do the surgery, she wanted me to explain the situation to my daughter in case her daughter needed a friend," North said. "My daughter and I sat down, and she said to me, 'Mom, this is going to be really expensive.' She said, 'A lot of people do fundraisers. Maybe we should do a fundraiser.' "

North began researching family friendly fundraising ideas.

"I saw something about a glow run," North said. "Out here in western Kansas, there's not a lot of things you can do that you haven't already done. I wanted to do something to help the family that entire families can come out and do."

After North told the Beisner family about her idea, they discussed it at home.

"We were worried about this going public, since obviously with this kind of fundraiser, it would go public," Sandy said. "We decided it's just a humbling experience to have people we haven't heard from in a while contact us and send their blessings and prayers."

The Glow Run will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ellis High School. Participants will run 1.6 miles wearing glow in the dark necklaces, glasses and other gear. Glow items can be purchased at the event, and proceeds will be donated to the Beisner family to help with medical costs and travel expenses. Participants also can bring their own glow items.

A Glow dance, obstacle course and raffle items will follow the run.

For more information, contact North at avanorth3@gmail.com.

Parkinson's is an incurable disease, and as the disease progresses, some symptoms gradually will come back. But Sandy said it is the necessary next step.

When Kelly was first was diagnosed, he went to the neurologist because he was limping. The doctor told him it could be one of three medical problems. He either had a stroke, has a brain tumor or has Parkinson's.

"We were almost hoping for the stroke because you can come back from that," Sandy said.

Kelly said he's been very fortunate, since Dyskinesia didn't hit until a few years ago.

"One of the hardest things was telling the children," Sandy said. "We didn't tell them until a couple years ago when his feet would freeze and he started stumbling. You never think you're going to have to tell your children something like that. We basically said this is a disease that will not shorten your father's life; it will only affect his quality of life."

Grace and Taylor, 15, had several questions.

"Our daughter asked, 'Will he be able to walk me down the aisle when I get married?' " Sandy said. "We've tried to be open and honest. It was difficult, but at the same time, we were able to say this isn't something that is going to kill your father."

Kelly added:

"I don't know what is yet to come and on what level, and when it's going to hit," he said. "Explaining that to your kids is the hardest part. You don't know on what level it's going to come on, so you try to make the best of everything."

Kelly said he postponed telling his friends and acquaintances about the disease.

"I would stumble a little bit, my foot would swell or people would see me limp," he said. "Instead of going through the full explanation, I would say I twisted it playing with the kids. The doctors would ask if I was in denial, and I would say no. I just considered that the 'fast-track' answer since there's a better time for the full explanation."