Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Aug 21st

Friendship leads to new outlook on life

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Brenda Anders hopes the community will extend their help, as she has done, to her friend James Kubiak.

James, who is 30 years old, suffered a C4 spinal cord injury 10 years ago when he was involved in a three-wheeler accident.

He has resided at Town and Country Health & Rehab ever since.

"I was on my computer when she came in and said 'hi,'" James recalled as he told of how he and Brenda became friends. "She said she was the new chaplain and wanted to know if we could become friends."

James said he is a better person for knowing Brenda.

"Her friendship has been a blessing. It's hard to put into words, because she means so much to me," he said. "Without her, I would be more of a dead stick."

James said before he adopted Brenda as a mother figure, his mood was often discouraged.

"Not being normal, you know, not being able to know that there is life outside of a nursing home at a young age, those were the thoughts that would keep me down." he said. "She has had such an impact in encouraging me and getting me up ... letting me know, that there is more to life than just this – the way I am."

Brenda said she felt called by God to go to Town and Country.

"I woke up with Town and Country on my mind. I didn't know why other than God wanted me to go there for a reason," she said. "On the way there I was trying to figure out why I was going."

Brenda, who had recently received ministry credentials, thought she might be able to be helpful in a chaplain capacity.

"I went and talked to Mr. (Walter) Ledig (Owner of Town and Country) and told him that I didn't know why I was there, but I asked if I could help," she said. "I suggested myself as a chaplain if there was a need, and he said it was something he had been thinking about for awhile and that he would like that."

After meeting James during her first week on duty as chaplain, the pair became close.

"I went to see him every day," Brenda said. "I encouraged him and invited him to church with me. We are good friends now and go to church together, and he goes out to eat with my family. We built a ramp on our house so he can come over for visits. He even calls me 'Mom.'"

James said Brenda has been instrumental in supporting him in his endeavors to continue his therapy.

"He has been through therapy three different times, and all three times when he gets to where he is walking a little bit on a regular walker, Medicare drops him," Brenda explained. "Then he goes back to losing the strength he had gained in his legs. So we looked on the Internet to try and find a walker that would help him."

The Gate Harness System II has a harness, which would enables James to walk without falling. The price tag: $6,000.

"The walker is designed to where it will help support me and keep me up longer," James explained. "I can only stand for so long without my body getting tired and giving out – a matter of minutes before I have to sit down."

James' therapy is scheduled and largely determined by insurance.

"It only lasts for so long during the day, for so many days out of the week," James said. "But this walker, if I can get it, will be able to keep me standing at an upright position, even if I get tired.

"I can become more independent in doing my therapy with this walker," he continued. "I can be in the walker for a longer amount of time, at any time, at my discretion and build my strength up. I can control my own therapy with this walker and get back to life."

"This walker would be perfect for him, so I wrote a grant but that didn't go through," Brenda said. "We were both very discouraged by that. I was discouraged that I got his hopes up and he didn't get it. But I said, you know I'm going to raise the money myself so he can have this walker. So that is what we are doing."

Three different fund-raisers have been scheduled in James' honor, so his walker can be purchased.

Friday, November 30, fish dinners will be sold for $10 a plate. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Sheppard Heights Assembly of God.

A silent auction is also being held and bids can be placed Friday as fish dinners are being picked up.

Saturday, December 1, a gospel singing will be held at Sheppard Heights Assembly of God and donations are being requested. Several area churches will be represented by their choirs at the Gospel Singing.

December 14, a gospel concert will be given in James honor. Ben Waits, who is a handicapped gospel singer, will be performing. Donations are being requested.

To purchase fish plate dinners or donate to the account set up for James' walker, call Brenda Anders at 707-1707.

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