We are pleased to spotlight Ken Hutchinson as our Staff Spotlight this month! Ken has been an important part of the Easterseals growth this year. Ken’s connection with Easterseals stemmed from an incident many years ago that motivated his current passion for raising awareness and education about Epilepsy and Traumatic Brain Injury.
In December of 1980, Ken was 16 years old when he was involved in a serious automobile accident – an on-coming vehicle was driving without its headlights on (just after sunset) and hit Ken at approximately 40mph. The impact threw him approximately 70 feet, leaving him with critical damage to his left-temporal lobe and in a month-long coma with a 13% chance of survival. Ken experienced seizures for three-quarters of the time he was in a coma. This was a very critical time for him and his family. Miraculously, about a month later, Ken awoke from the coma and immediately began intense therapies to aid his recovery.
For the first two months, Ken completed in-patient care at a rehabilitation hospital. For the following six months, he transitioned to out-patient therapy with intense physical, speech, and occupational therapy sessions (speech therapy lasting for a year-and-a-half). Ken stated, “I had to re-learn how to walk, talk, and just about everything else.” Ken, now in his 50’s, has been a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patient for over 35 years.
Ken says over the years he has learned to cope with, and/or work with, his situation by, “…helping others and fulfilling a personal goal of becoming a published poet.” Ken views poetry as a helpful outlet, and is currently working on publishing his third book of poetry. Despite the lifelong effects from TBI (such as short-term memory loss, reading comprehension, and sometimes understanding what people are saying), Ken is leading a fulfilling and productive life. Ken is especially thankful to have been blessed with two sons (Tyler, 5 years old and Cole, 3 years old) and a very supportive family.
It was from his personal journey with living with TBI and epileptic seizures, that Ken realized there was an unmet need for TBI and Epilepsy education, awareness, and support. In 1992, he jumped at the opportunity to lead this effort at Valley Children’s hospital. Today, he leads two Epilepsy support groups (one for adults, another for children) in partnership with Community Regional Medical Center. Ken shared, “I want to help other people in similar situations; and when Easterseals asked me to start the Epilepsy groups, I said absolutely right away!” Ken has created a safe place for people of all ages affected by Epilepsy to come together and receive the support and education they need. We are so grateful that Ken has joined Easterseals and brings with him a passion (only garnered from his lived experience) to help many others.