Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Leaning into Life…Mentor Needed Volunteer

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2017 at 7:11 pm

CREATIVE MENTOR WANTED for bright young woman in her 20s recovering from Lyme Disease who has been ill since 10 years old. Both Ari and Imani are anxious to live life as fully as possible, even in the midst of medical challenges. Because of the isolation caused by their illness and the myriad symptoms including cognitive challenges which impact organizing and execution of tasks, someone to mentor and guide would make a LIFE CHANGING DIFFERENCE! Kate, their mother, must work six days a week, often in excess of 8 hours, to meet the financial demands of medical care, and cannot be present. Since the illness entered their lives, Ari and Imani have had to fend on their own a great deal of the time since they were 10 and 12 years old. This, the 20s decade, is a very pivotal time and both Ari and Imani  to establish themselves as young adults. They are deeply committed to making their lives as productive and meaningful as possible.
We’re looking for someone (or a team) with a compassionate, lively, go-getter personality.

Imani needs more intensive assistance, Ari just a bit!

Ideas for tasks include:

– Teach Imani life skills (checking account, organizing daily activities, managing personal affairs, etc.)

– Plan, coordinate  and participate in activities (art, exercises, stretching, outing, community activities as health allows, etc.)

-Not necessary, but would be great: help Imani with computer. Finding on line learning experiences, setting them in motion. (ie: Imani is interested in learning sign language)

– Be present and engaged


Looking for someone(s)  with compassion, initiative, health-minded and excellent communication skills!  English proficient required. No previous experience required.
Times/days extremely flexible  at your convenience. A  tag-team of two people might work.


-Clear communication in English
-Initiative, self-starter
-Ability to work independently
-Empathy and kindness
-Ability and willingness to plan and  provide appropriate activities
-Driver’s license

Looking UP and OUT

Fall Down 7 Times, Get up 8

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2016 at 7:42 am

November 24, 2016

“Awake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks

 for another day of loving.”             

 Kahlil Gibran


November 2016 Outing to SFMOMA

It has been a year. The event of Thanksgiving demands that I  sit, reflect and write to you…

Commitment as I write today:  Be boldly honest and transparent. There is an underlying pull to selectively tell our “story;” to give light to only the best and brightest moments, to let the underbelly of this journey remain banished to the shadows.  There is value in choosing the half-full narrative… for musings on another day…

Today, I feel called to open the door wide, with few constraints, to sit with the complexity, the half-full and half-empty side-by-side. To let in and to let out both the sunlight and the gales of sleet and rain… To reveal both the triumph and torment. They coexist. They tug at each other to gain front and center positioning. Each has their time in the spotlight.

A couple of days ago, at the prompting of a Facebook gimmick to keep us all involved, I framed a picture “thankful for us” as my profile picture. It was a ‘perfect picture’ Ari and Imani (Dannie) up and dressed, smiles all around. It was a day of celebration…. All three of us able to have a day out of bed, out of the house, together. We went to SFMOMA without a wheel chair, and made it through the exhibits, followed by dinner on Union Street. Everyone managed to eat something.

What is not visible in the picture is that this was one of four days during the last 365 or more that all three of us were able to get out together strictly for fun; two Lyme Fundraising Events (Dart for Art, LymeLight~ and Polo for Lyme, Bay Area Lyme Foundation~ outings that were not solely medical or illness- related.

The truth is, it took Imani (Dannie) over 4 hours to get up and get dressed — managing nausea, pain and myriad other symptoms, using makeup as a camoflauge for her illness. Ari fought through exhaustion which begs for him to lie down and waves of sweat and nausea. I put one foot in front of the other, letting go of intruding thoughts of the long list of necessities that fill my one day-off a week, and my body’s loud protest and screaming desire to stay in bed all day.

All this interruption was counterbalanced with the sheer joy we shared at being together – manufactured by sheer force of will and adrenaline to fuel the few hours. What is not present is grueling consequences of eating restaurant food, pushing bodies to be upright, managing torturous car rides with bumps and stops and starts, and the subsequent days which necessitated both Ari and Imani being in bed to recuperate.

Yes, it is sheer joy to have the opportunity to share the glorious moment with those who have supported us, prayed for us, encouraged us. We are weary of being those sick and struggling people.


November 2016 SFMOMA

One picture is followed by numerous exclamations of “so glad you are all healthy again,” and the dilemma of letting the impression stand or to share the confounding truth…

We had one glorious day. We are still embroiled in battling for health.

Today, I am sitting with a dexterous mind, no one stable perspective. Today, I could write an inspirational story on the gratitude I have for all the many blessings, people and generosity we have been recipients of, the courage and resilience Imani and Ari have demonstrated daily, the phoenix rising and falling and rising again.

That is the primary theme I choose for the narrative of our lives. When all is said and done, that is THE STORY…A gracious God who has been with us throughout, often in the form of friends and strangers, unexpected blessings, and resilient and meaningful love.

For a short duration this morning though, I am sitting with the ambiguity, the juxtaposition of disparate pulls, the contradictions, and the agonizing delay of resolution, or even a brief intermission, from this journey of chronic illness.

Today I sit, for a moment or two, with the internal, silent screaming of anger and protest that accompanies the unwillingness to give up or give in…

Today I openly juggle the varying facets of this experience, not selecting out preferred perceptions, complementing emotions and the “right” spin on things. Yes, the “spin,” of one’s chosen perception, when rooted in belief and faith, can make all the difference in the life actually lived.  Yet, simultaneously, we can hold more than one experience, one set of thoughts. We exist in conflicting dimensions of reality. If we are truly grappling with the human experience, this is unavoidable. There is depth and meaning in engaging the struggle, the paradox, the tug-of-war between hope and despair. Denying this, refusing to take on the struggle leaves lessons unlearned, doors to one’s soul unopened, dimensions of love unexplored, intimacy with one’s self and others, bonsaied.

At the end of the day, which story will we hold under the light? Which story do we feed and nurture? And when does our “reality” become so selective and narrow it borders on fantasy or even delusion? And at the end of our life, which one will have resulted in the best life lived?

For me the choice is clear, with vigorous intention and, on occasion, wild stubbornness not to give in or give up. I am stubborn. Sometimes others think I am delusional. I think not. Bold as it sounds, I feel I have a grasp on the real and tragic events in my children’s and my life, but I choose to live in hope anyway. I choose not to be pulled under, and to give “darkness” very little space. I know it is there. I know there are tragic events that don’t make the 180 degree turn-around with loose ends all tied up. I know that in this life everything does not have a fairy tale ending. But for me, I will choose to see the gentle gifts of sunlight filtering through leaves and feel joy such perception coupled with awareness can bring. I choose to follow the lilt of piano reverberate through me, the smell of lavender as a marker of rest, the newly emerging sprouts in Ari’s window plantings a promise of new  life. I, for one, will do my best to step forward into each moment with anticipation of even “better” being just around the corner.

My goals in life have changed, parried by life’s vicissitudes.  I have spent some time, only moments at a time, grieving what isn’t. It is far too frightening to let moments expand beyond minutes, as I can feel waves mounting that promise to over-power my positive resolve and carry me under to the dark abyss of the endless ocean of tears.

That “Parallel Life” that should have been…  Holding it in contrast to what is, is lethal to peace and contentment.

My  start of the day is meditation, prayer, affirming:

“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

followed by:

“ Awake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”   Kahlil Gibran

instilling hope  & ensuring each day will offer opportunity for success~

independent of situation, circumstance or outcome in the “physical world.”


My goal now is simple and “small” compared to my “Parallel Life” goal.

I struggle to make peace that I will not do what I set out to do in this life-time,

that my children have had to retool their dreams so many times that we cannot count them…


that dreaming again feels precarious…

that, even in the light of so many miracles,

the BIG MIRACLE of  health and all that a healthy body supports,

 has not yet been realized.

So, the stark truth:

This illness has robbed from each of us, thus far, from our versions of the full expression of the gifts that God blessed us with,

it has ripped from us, the dreams that required health to manifest,

it has faded the bright anticipation of accomplishment, expansion, giving back, making happen, answering the call of a flourishing life…

Nearly all resources have been directed toward fighting disease, moving toward improved health, stalwartly working, moment-to-moment, to build a foundation upon which to live a life which even remotely approximates the dreams given birth to in health.

Now, my newly adopted goal refined by life’s  vicissitudes  is to show up and to love the best I can, moment-to-moment. That ensures each day is a successful day. I tolerate the assessment of failure and loss very poorly. When my chosen goals were deferred over and again, then decimated by the inconceivable challenge of the severe and disabling illness of both of my children in the context of single parenthood, I was faced with redefining my meaning in life, of how I would contribute to a better world in my brief lifetime, to resketch the pictures I had of how my life, and the lives of my children would unfold…

Yes, there is more I envision for my children and for me: complete healing- body, mind, spirit, financial, educational, career….so much so that we don’t speak of symptoms, medications, protocols, appointments, pacing oneself, tentative plans or no plans; I see in my mind days of ease and without struggle;  a community of meaningful friendships for each of us; holidays with others; vacation days not saved to be spent on hospital stays, care giving and appointments;  funds going to something other than medical care; being able to “give back” with abandon;  relationships, holidays, hobbies, horses,  a house that is our home; Ari and Imani pursuing their dreams, making their way in the world depending upon their bodies to carry them.

What a day that would be!- to not think about one’s body or brain function as the primary consideration for what is to be or not be.


Next to Easter, the most meaningful holiday for me.

Rebirth in spring time, followed by lifting up gratefulness even as we move from fall to winter.

I sit to write today, house quiet with the exception of the fan of the heater and streamed piano from the iPad, both Imani and Ari in bed- 11:40 a.m. and no anticipation of them able to arise for some time.

I celebrate both with hope for the new opportunities ahead, and gratitude for all the blessings thus far. That is real. And equally real, but not given air time in my mind or heart is the screaming agony of thousands of moments, gathered to hours, days, months which I never believed could result in years… now 16 years… of fighting a battle that no human should be faced with…. The chronic and disabling disease of my two children, now adults.

Time keeps moving. We keep taking breath after breath and stepping forward against galing winds cutting our faces, pushing us back, tumbling us down, disorienting us, covering us with freezing snow and, at times, searing coals. And a midst this, we claim God’s promises, sometimes with confidence, sometimes with desperation. Sometimes holding our faith as something as tangible as the chair I am sitting on, other times as ephemeral as a wisp of a breeze that cannot be held or grasped…


“I know the plans for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Flashes of a darkened room, Imani reeling in pain with no relief to be found. Holding her gently, firmly, eyes locked between us to sear our focus, reciting together:  “I know the plans I have for you…” over and over, over and over through cries, choking and tears…. And until today, we do not see or know that “PLAN.”

At the close of his 8th grade year, which was largely spent on a futon in the corner of the classroom, Ari’s final presentation opening line was the Japanese Proverb:

“fall down seven times, get up eight”

Visceral recall of holding Ari’s loss and pain, of his resilience and courage in the face of such setbacks and losses. Of continual starts and stops. Of Loss after Loss. The Big Losses sandwiched between the little losses… Sometimes I cannot catch my breath if I let the “realness” in of what he has faced. My arms ache for want of holding him as a baby again, before the storm began, when life was simple and I could dream any possibility with him as he mapped his future with confidence of thriving.

He keeps standing up, again and again.

I am struck by the mysteries and vicissitudes of life. The road not taken…Working to let go of “what ifs…” as they serve as chains to the binding one to a reality that exists only in one’s mind… continually running a parallel story  to what is… keeping one trapped in perpetual grieving and melancholy. Sometimes raw agony.


worldly goals = certain loss.

spiritual goals= daily growth.

I do not exist in just one reality. Life is complicated. At least for me.  It is my intention, renewed daily, to step boldly with anticipation of adventure and joy and whatever I need, to face whatever is to come, into this moment and whatever is next.

In closing, how I face each setback~


“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


Medical Update:

Imani had an amazing few months in 2015, wherein she was able to volunteer with autistic children, finding a new calling, one which filled her soul. She took adaptive PE, and began to take hold of her “outside the house” life again. This was followed by a decline again, with her back in bed most days, venturing out 2-4 times a month, sometimes only for medical appointments. She had endometrial surgery in October of this year, which we are anticipating good outcomes to be evidenced over the next few months, and offering her days of less pain and other associated symptoms. IV antibiotic treatment was resumed for several months, and she is now back on herbal treatments. Having credited Embryonic Stem Cell (HESC)  transplant with saving her life, she has never returned to the level of debilitation she experienced for years prior to this tratement. It is her hope to return for her second transplant as soon as her health supports travel, the prior transplant is paid off, and funds are raised for her to receive the anticipated additional two-three transplants. In the interim, there is a treatment program which she test positively for, that may boost her enough to re-engage in activities of daily living and if possible to travel back to India.


October 11, 2016

Ari experienced 4 years of significantly improving health, he was able to live away from home and to gradually work up to full time school after his three series of HESC transplants. We truly felt there would be no setbacks. However, I am sorry to share that, last fall with the convergence of a severe virus(s), re-exposure to mold, over-work from full time school with slow cognitive processing , and the stress of witnessing his sister’s  suffering, created the perfect storm which resulted in a reemergence of Ari’s lyme and co-infections. He was required to take a hiatus from school, restart treatment, and rest. He remains in this state. We are in the process of identifying the most promising treatment plan with the guidance of genetic testing, and a multifaceted healing plan.

Kate continues to be inspired by her private psychotherapy practice, and work full time overseeing a social services department at a local hospital.


2016 Dart for Art LymeLight Foundation

Finances: With the generous 2016 contributions and gifts in memory of Arnold Leong 2016, Individual Donors, LymeLight Foundation, and prior to 2015: Harvest Christian Center Redwood City for providing grants, Yoga of Los Altos, Crossroads Fitness San Mateo and Montgomery High School Santa Rosa class of ‘73 for holding fundraisers, Putnam Volvo for their donation of a new transmission and repairs, Salon Kavi in San Mateo  for nurture, and numerous individual donors of funds, services, supplies  and air miles Imani’s and Ari’s first life-saving human embryonic transplants in 2012 and 2013 were possible. Ari’s transplants have been completely paid for! 

Annually, through Kate’s two jobs, Ari and Imani have been able to continue to receive medical treatment not covered by insurance. This amounts to approximately $40,000 to $50,000 annual out of pocket.  Additional treatments (Imani and Ari to receive an uncovered protocol in 2017) and the uncovered part of Imani’s surgery  are over and above this and paid for by the generous contributions of others.

Owed to India for Imani’s 2012 HESC transplant: $30,000.Past medical debt: $15, 000. Ari and Imani’s 2017 additional medical protocol: $70,000. Imani’s second HESC transplant to be scheduled as soon as possible:  $50,000.






One foot, then the other….

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2015 at 8:14 am

As the close of 2015 approaches, we want to express our deep gratitude for the love, the hope, the encouragement and support that we have received this past year, and for the 15 years of steadfast friendship and love as we have faced the ups and downs of healing from Lyme disease.IMG_8384 (3) (2)

With help in 2014, Imani (Dannie) was afforded an amazing opening to this year, as depicted in the photo above from Easter 2015. She experienced her most vibrant period since she became ill in 2000, with the first few months graced with “Rehab Without Walls” coming to our home to offer Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. This was augmented by a personal coach, tutor, acupuncture and a pain psychologist…. And for a brief while she was able to attend adaptive PE, attend 20’s groups at local churches to begin to be amongst peers, and perhaps the most meaningful, to do volunteer work at a local school for children 1-4 years old, who have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. She found her calling, her bliss…. with enlivened dreams for a future of being fully engaged in life, with others, with giving back.

I am deeply sorry to share that in the late spring Imani began to decline – summer lab work found her infection to be severely active again, with disabling pain and myriad symptoms returning and, driving her back to bed, and disrupting the progress she worked so hard to gain.  Having faced the laborious red tape of insurance/providers, we hope she will begin treatment this next week. It has taken TEN WEEKS to secure the IV treatment she needs to fight back this spike of infection. We believe that, while very disturbing, this is temporary, and her body “knows” how to get well again! Her desperate  goal for 2016 is to return to India for her 2nd round of human embryonic stem cell transplant, so that she might realize the healing she has witnessed in Ari, who has had the privilege of receiving 3 rounds of HESC transplant. Now that she has tasted a bit of life again, her resolute goal is to remain in this “flare” as briefly as possible and return to life.

Ari continues to put one foot in front of the other, a student at Foothill, working his way through general education so that he might transfer to a four year university. He is a bit weary of the process, wanting desperately to be self-sufficient and in the work world as soon as possible. This has been a very arduous process, starting with one class in 2009 and plugging away at it as his health allowed—getting his body going, and re-enlivening his neuro-pathways to allow learning to occur. He is amazingly persistent and stalwart. With HESC treatment, he has been able to attend school 5 days a week… with nearly perfect attendance and earning A marks consistently. He remains challenged with neurological/cognitive symptoms and slowed processing and requires extra time to meet the demands of his course work. He follows a daily self-care regimen and is diligent about continued healing.  Ari has joined a student organization, serving as co-vice president, of Fund the Future, an organization that funds the education of students and provides micro-loans to cottage industries in developing countries. Along with his passion for photography, he has enthusiastically embraced this commitment. The students traveled to India this past summer to assist a school that they have provided funds Ari was able to travel, not as a patient, but as a student!!! That said, he did take the opportunity to visit NuTech, the clinic where he had received HESC transplant, and received 4 days of treatment!

Kate continues working as a department manager at a local hospital, and has a general psychotherapy practice in Redwood City, CA  in which she is honored to serve persons who are facing chronic and life-threatening illness, including tick-borne illnesses.


“When you come to the edge of all the light you know,
and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown,
FAITH is knowing one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.” 
― Barbara Winter



Newsletter Fall and Winter 2014/15

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2014 at 5:57 am

Journey of Faith and Healing.2014 fall winter NEWSLETTER Volume 1 Issue 2

Please click on link above to see newsletter. If you want a hard copy, please send your address and the number you would like to . Feel free to post and share!

As we near Thanksgiving, Ari, Dannie (Imani) and I would like to extend our tremendous gratitude to you, for your loving support, your prayers, your help in educating yourself and others to prevent Lyme disease impacting others as it has us. We could not have come this far without you. Truly. It may sound trite or cliché, but it is absolutely true. The moments strung into hours, to days, to weeks, months and years we could not have traveled alone. I can’t tell you how many times in the darkest of hours when surviving one more moment seemed insurmountable, knowing that we were loved and supported – that even strangers had reached out to care — carried us on.

The Lyme Community has lost several dear ones this past year to the illness and related complications including suicide. I am forever grateful that Dannie (Imani) and Ari have remained faithful in their belief in God, and strong in the support you have provided. Please know that you have made a difference.

2104 november Imani and Ari (640x511)

Update since newsletter:

Ari continues to improve. He got through three episodes of the flu without a tremendous relapse! His maintenance plan which includes strengthening his immune system is holding his progress, and he continues to gain more and more of his life back!

Dannie (Imani) continues to face challenges daily, spending three weeks of October 2014 in the hospital. She is now at home and we are in the beginning stages of putting together a “day treatment” of sorts at home. This will involve programming 3-4 hours a day to help her begin move toward having more time out of bed and out of her room, rebuilding life skills, reducing isolation and enhancing her daily experience. Elements of this will be Physical Therapy, movement, tutoring, art, etc. We are looking for someone, or two people to tag team, to spend 3-4 hours a day, five days a week, developing a schedule, coordinating services, leading activities and being with her in a compassionate, positive way. I have attached the job description – please have anyone interested contact me through our email: You are free to distribute.

In addition, her caregiver who provides custodial care (hands on care giving, cooking, light cleaning, etc.) will be out for a month for her own medical needs so we need to hire a full time caregiver as well, through the In-Home Supportive Services program (county funded). Referrals for this position are welcomed/needed, as well.

2014 will close better than it opened!!! We ask, and believe what you have given will be multiplied and returned to you.

With great love and gratitude, Kate, Ari and Dannie (Imani)

Beyond the Headlines sitting (2)

Job description

CREATIVE CAREGIVER/COMPANION WANTED for bright 24 year old young woman recovering from Lyme Disease
Seeking creative caregiver for young woman with Lyme disease. We’re looking for someone with a compassionate, lively, go-getter personality. Daily tasks include:

– Help with daily routines (getting up, scheduling the day/week) and support with healing activities

– Plan, coordinate  and participate in activities (art, exercises, stretching, basic math review, etc.)

– Medication management (non-medical background okay, we’ll show you what to do)

– Be present and engaged

Looking for someone who is comfortable using the internet and computer programs like Word. Definitely someone with initiative, health-minded and excellent communication skills!  English proficient required. No previous experience required.
Part-time, flexible. 3-4 hours a day/5 days, we can be flexible and consider tag-team of two people.


-Ability to read and follow instructions

-Willingness to learn

-Clear communication in English

-Ability to work independently

-Empathy and kindness

-Ability and willingness to plan and  provide appropriate activities

-Driver’s license

-Legal documentation to work


THANK YOUs & Update, end of 2013 and mid 2014

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Thank you to the LymeLight Foundation and to Harvest Christian Center Redwood City for providing grants, Yoga of Los Altos, Crossroads Fitness San Mateo and Montgomery High School Santa Rosa class of ‘73 for holding fundraisers, Salon Kavi in San Mateo for nurture for Kate! and numerous individual donors which enabled Dannie’s and Ari’s first life-saving human embryonic stem cell transplants (HESC) in 2012, Dannie’s trip to Hansa Center and Ari’s return for HESC in 2013.

 Thank you from  Ari and Dannie ~ Mid 2014 Update

Thank you for your ceaseless generosity!  All that you have given so freely means more to me than words can convey, without which I surely would not have survived. Thank your furthering my life and increasing ability to enjoy it. My once intolerable pain has become more manageable, as well as lessened intensity of my other myriad symptoms (like nausea, total exhaustion, migraines, insomnia, myoclonus, sweats, vision and hearing problems, heart symptoms…. ). While I am still in bed most of the time, I can now rest without the concern of impending death or further loss of ability. I am still fighting for healing and have a ways yet to go in this journey to wellness, yet I now know that with the love and kindness you have granted me, I will make it. Thank you for becoming such a beautiful part of our extended family.          With love,     Dannie       (February 2014)


I cannot thank you enough for your game-changing support of my medical care/treatment!  Having recently returned from stem-cell treatment in New Delhi, I am stronger and healthier than I have been in over a decade.  Not only do I feel so much better than before, my Spect scans also show a dramatic transformation in my brain.  Head of Nutech Mediworld (where I received a total of 4 months of treatment), Dr. Geeta Shroff, has told me that with the exception of being re-infected with Lyme, I should not require any further stem-cell treatment, and can resume life as “normal.”  Unthinkable even a few months ago, I am now using the gym 3-4 times per week. This experience has been truly miraculous!  Without the blessings and support from you and your donors this would not have been possible, certainly not now.  For this I am truly grateful beyond words.  While I am cautious not to get ahead of myself with all of my physical improvements, I am very excited to begin the process of adjusting to greater health, strength, stamina, and a virtual absence of symptoms as I learn how to build a full and active life!            With gratitude and sincerity,     Ari Steele-Baker  (December 2013)


The Steele Family finished 2013 with such a mix of experiences—challenges and victories — which continued into 2014.

In February the Steele Family moved, after having discovered mold in the home they lived in for 12 years, and being notified that the owners would be returning to live in their house. Happily, and quite miraculously, they were able to rent a home in San Carlos which was aggressively competed for by many applicants. It is very near where they had lived as young children, and the town that feels like “home.” Ari was able to move his dozens of plants to the new home, and their faithful companions, dogs Lily and Wesley who have been by their sides for the past decade, were accepted!!!

2013 ari birthday eating cake 2

Ari’s birthday in New Delhi for stem cell transplant, October 17, 2013

WIth improved health, Ari was able to return to school and his love of photography.

WIth improved health, Ari was able to return to school and his love of photography.

 Ari is amazingly well— and has continued to improve, going to the gym, and enrolling in school full time. His first quarter back at school after returning early November 2013 from his second trip to India to receive Human Embryonic Stem Cell Transplant he was welcomed into the home of family friends, as he could not return to the house in Belmont which was found to have mold. He he took a photography course and produced an impressive portfolio, finding a passion for photographing nature. After so many years stuck inside, he could not get enough of the outdoors. He began working out at the gym for the first time on a regular basis and resumed gardening, another passion. This last quarter, a full time schedule of academics proved to be too demanding at this stage of his healing (with some remaining physical and neurological challenges) and precipitated a threatened relapse, with a return of symptoms he had not experienced since his transplant in the fall.  He quickly addressed this, and is recuperating with a report card filled with A’s this summer (three A+s and an A to be exact!!!).  A 26 year old, feeling literally dropped into a body that is functioning reasonably well for the first time since the age of 12, he is challenged to figure out how to fit the pieces of his life together. Anxious to be in the stage of life reflected in his mid-late 20’s peers, he is exploring how to forge a path between here and there… profound gratitude, with some angst and impatience!!!

Dannie and Dr. Jernigan 2.21.13

Hansa Center with Dr. Jernigan 2013



Dannie continues to press forward. After realizing significant gains from HESC transplant and two trips for treatment at the Hansa Center in Wichita, Kansas during 2013 to continue to strengthen her body in preparation to return to continue HESC, she returned home excited to share her new found improvement with friends and family. She was up, WALKING and making it to appointments DRESSED five days a week!!!

2103 peninsula imani

End of 2013 a month in the hospital and beginning of 2014 repeated visits to emergency room.

In hindsight this proved premature, as taking a hiatus from the daily treatment at Hansa and traveling home seemed to precipitate the return of her most onerous symptoms. She essentially became bedbound again, and experienced several more bouts with out of control pain (hospitalized for a month in October 2013, and then seventeen trips to the emergency room between March and May 2014), followed by a three week episode in May-June of medication “poisoning” of sorts, induced by a combination of medicines and her body’s reaction to them, which was extremely difficult.  She is continuing to fight valiantly, (dedicated to her healing protocol of supplements, meditation and restricted diet) experiencing complete indescribable exhaustion. In between she was able to push and push and manage a few trips out, on Mother’s Day to a LymeLight gathering where she met people she has know of for years, but never had been able to meet, and to a movie for the first time in what seems like forever. She is now undergoing an assessment at Amen Clinic that we hope will illuminate, through two spect scans, what the presence of Lyme is doing in her brain, and how the improvement from her first embryonic stem cell transplant is coming along.

Insistent on moving forward, Dannie contacted the home teacher who she worked with in High School, and asked her to resume visits with her. While all visits are bedside~ often Elana reading to her and sharing current events~Dannie has begun to read some, pushing through visual and cognitive challenges. Her isolation is excruciating and she is fighting to remain  hopeful and endure through daily and constant pain of an 8 on a 1-10 scale and a myriad of other symptoms which keep her in bed 90%+ of the time.

Dannie has seen, firsthand the amazing healing that Ari experienced after three rounds of transplant and is dedicated to doing what she can to prepare to return at the earliest possible time. Her hope is to return to Hansa Center, where she had experienced great improvement, and to gain more strength to return for her second round of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Transplant (which she/we credit as having saved her life in 2012) as soon as her health and funding permit.


Dannie HMB 3.15.14

Cause for Celebration: out together!

Cause for Celebration: out together!



Current Financial Update and Medical Treatment Needs


With the help of LymeLight Foundation, Montgomery High School Santa Rosa, class of 1973, Harvest Christian Center of Redwood City, CA, Yoga of Los Altos, Crossroads Fitness  in San Mateo and over a hundred individual donors, Dannie’s and Ari’s first trips to India for HESC transplant and Dannie’s two trips to Hansa Center and her assessment at the Amen Clinics have been paid for!!! Ari’s second trip has been partially paid for with approximately $30,000 remaining and approximately $10,000 remaining debt from past medical treatment prior to HESC. Kate continues to work two full time jobs and continues to pay down these debts, while providing for Ari’s maintenance medical treatment 80% of which is not covered by insurance, and Dannie’s continuing care. She is beginning to save for a return trip to Hansa for Dannie,  followed by a second trip to India for HESC transplant, anticipating Dannie following Ari’s healing trajectory.


Additional factors impacting acquiring the necessary care for Dannie to obtain the healing Ari has, and for Ari to maintain his tremendous improvement,  are a move necessitated in early 2014 which was quite costly and proved to be 30% higher rent than prior, and the loss of two cars (Ari was run off the road totaling his car, but uninjured due to being in a safe Volvo!) and, just having been paid off three weeks ago, the other car’s transmission went out, costing more than the car is worth to replace.


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Together again for a and laughter

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2013 at 8:57 am
After months, the first time in our home together... and maybe the last time.

After months, the first time in our home together… and maybe the last time.

Thanks to Ari, we were  masked and able to go home today for the first time since Ari left for his India trip at the end of September. He returned October 29th, with nearly PERFECT spect scans of his beautiful, bright brain!!!! We are still celebrating the miraculous improvement and excited to see how he progresses in the next months.

While Ari was gone, Dannie spent the same month in Peninsula Hospital. We did not post this, as we wanted Ari to not worry while around the world getting stem cell transplant. Today is the very first time Dannie was able to get out of bed to venture home, and the first time we have all been together here since September.

Due to the mold in our home, Ari was not able to return home from India and Dannie was not able to discharge from the hospital home either. Ari has been staying with an amazing and welcoming family, pushing through his shyness and reserve and Dannie and I have been with another generous family who have opened their guest room to us.

We are continuing to look for a new place…. nothing yet.

More to come. Just wanted to share our latest family portrait!!! Smiles wide beneath the masks…

Gratitude for life and the love of family and friends.


update from India

In New Delhi, Uncategorized on October 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Ari had placed an epidurlal catheter today as the route of transporting stem cells directly into his spine over a three day period, during which he would remain in bed. This is the biggest of all the procedures. At the first “top off” after the catheter insertion, it was found that he had a clot and the line had to be removed, followed by six hours of obseration in bed. Restless but feeling well. It will be rescheduled.

A patient that Ari met on his first trip is there again with him! a Wonderful “Coincident”~He is there for a spinal cord injury, having had no movement or sensation in his spine and lower body for over ten years following a sporting accident. Yesterday he reported that the first trip he had gained sensation from T11/12 to L1/2 and could feel the needle. This time he had full sensation at L3/4 !

Witnessing such miracles.

October 17 Ari’s Birthday

Ari's birthday at NuTech

Ari’s birthday at NuTech

2013 ari birthday eating cake 2Three Cakes! Lots of laughter, Tons of Love

Transplant underway!

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2013 at 8:58 am
India Exploration

India Exploration

Ari Getting Stem Cells!!!

Ari Getting Stem Cells!!!

Ari, in India for stem cell sporting his LymeLight T-shirt

Ari, in India for stem cell sporting his LymeLight T-shirt

ari and his nurse/friend, clint.

ari and his nurse/friend, clint.

From Ari:
“It is with excitement and gratitude to God and all those that have contributed that I am able to share that Dr. Shroff is confident that after this month of treatment I will not require any additional stem-cell therapy, save being reinfected with Lyme.

My initial spect scan taken upon my return for a third round of treatment has shown that the stem-cells have continued there work since my last trip to India – and show an impressive improvement over the last scan from my second round of treatment.

The expectation is that over the next 9-11 or so months, the new stem-cells will continue to move, grow, and develop, and that this process will lead to completed recovery and the opportunity to at long last live a more full life!”

Ari is half-way complete with his second trip to India for HESC transplant… excitement and challenge… up days and less up days. Being there is a blessing, missing having family and significant others there to face the procedures, share the adventure and to process the events of the days has been daunting at times. That said…. phone, skype, email has kept us close in contact. This week Ari will have a three day procedure, with an epidural catheter and pretty much bed bound, finished just before his birthday on the 17th.

Help With Housing… Leads Welcomed!

In Uncategorized on October 3, 2013 at 8:29 am

Mold… Yes, Again: With mold discovered in our home, we now have a clue as to what may have contributed to the loss of some of Ari’s progress upon his return from India last year, and we will not be able to continue living in our home, rented, but our home for 12 years or so. With mold being the first event that thrust us into the health crisis we have been facing for 13 years, we are all too familiar with the devastating impact on health and the need to move expeditiously.

We must find new housing as soon as possible… we have a dream of owning our own home again~ our cozy home lost with the cascading effects of mold 14 year ago, and necessity for me to stop working when Ari and Dannie were young, sick and in need of my care and presence. I was so thankful at the time to have the remediated house to sell to allow me to stay with them for a while. However, now, our desire to have a stable home, a healing place that we can nestle into, invest love and care, rest, and welcome others, has surged to grand proportions. I have so missed this sense of HOME and ROOTS. Ari has lovingly tended the garden and the Central Peninsula Church generously made over our home when we were in India… he is grieving the loss of his carefully nurtured plants, and sad to anticipate leaving the signs of love from the CPC community. It meant and means so much…visible presence of God’s care.

We do hope for some dirt… some place to ground, and grow… some place to feel secure and at ease. Though it could easily be a source of fear and anxiety, we are focusing on excitement and anticipation for what God has in store with this unsought/unplanned move. The peninsula housing market would deter us, but we know that supernatural things can happen…Thinking outside the box and outside of what seems likely or possible!!!

So, now to the list, prayers for supernatural guidance and direction for our house hunt! And Any Leads are Welcome!!!


Joy. Ari has Arrived in Delhi

In Uncategorized on October 3, 2013 at 8:26 am

Joy: Ari returned to India on September 30th! He is late in returning for the necessary follow up treatment, and so grateful to be able to go. He will spend his 26th birthday there… and the celebration of the birth of new stem cells…

With a continuing and progressive illness that Lyme and co-infections can be, repeat treatment necessary to out run the disease process. Ari has experienced some return of symptoms, though not to the depths of where he was before. That said, he expects to close the gap back to his highest level of functioning with the next transplant, and to retain the progress. It is uncertain if this will be his final transplant or whether or not he will need any additional treatment.

In the interim between treatments, he was able to attend one college course per quarter and received one of 12 annual awards for exceptional students in the Science and Math Department… his second one!  And nothing to do with his illness or “disabled status” but his student status!!! He has continued to garden as therapy… fruit trees, bonsai, a bit of everything… and he has taken up photography recently.


This trip to India he will sorely miss his travel companion, Sheila, and travel alone. His improved health allows this! While he would very much like a loved one to be with him, he is mindful of keeping the cost down. Clint, his dear nurse, brother, in India, will be with him through his stay, and a patient he met last time, will also be there for follow up treatment. He has other friends there, Pawan, a PhD student he met at the University of Delhi. He hopes to take lots of pictures, welcome and nurture the stem cells,  and return renewed and improving.

ari on his way to india with mike and wayne 9.30.13

Ari, Wayne and Michael at Airport : Departure for India 9/30/13

Kate and Ari at SFO 9.30.13

Kate and Ari at SFO 9.30.13

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