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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Help a Neighbor

A community is a collection of individuals. Each individual has aspirations and goals, things that they love, like and don’t like. Modern communities consists of vast and ever growing numbers of individuals. So often we don’t get to know our neighbors well, and often times we don’t get to know them at all. Yet despite this, our lives are often highly intertwined. All of us seek to live our lives as best as we can. We all treasure our privacy. We all hope that through our efforts we can live a full and hopefully happy life.

A huge and ever growing problem in modern life is the punishing cost of health care. Except for the very wealthy, all of us share the hardship of being able to pay the next health care payment. This worry is doubly true if we become ill and can’t work. I spoke with a neighbor down the street recently. He is a medical doctor and said to me with a look of horror on his face that over 30 million people in the USA do not have health care insurance. This was shocking to me. I used the power of the web to check his statement. He was wrong. According to one source I found, as of 2005, there were 47 million in the USA without health care coverage. Clearly the high cost is the reason that so many go without insurance.

The reason I mention this is that one of the members of my community, whose name is Ky Loop, is one of those without health care coverage. I never met Ky. I first heard about Ky at a recent Community Council meeting. One of the members made a passing reference that there was going to be a pancake breakfast to benefit Ky. I meant to ask about Ky, but there were other items on the Council Meeting agenda, and I forgot. At the next Council meeting Ky’s name was mentioned again. I took a moment to ask about Ky and was given the name of a web site that would tell me something about him. Here is the web site: I urge all to take a moment and look at his site.

Following is a short excerpt:

Greenwater friends are like family—it was as if the boys had dozens of cousins and some of the friendships bonded in those early years just grow stronger with time. The teachers at Enumclaw used to remark how the “Greenwater Kids” took care of each other. If one of the little ones got hurt on the playground, one of the older ones would tend to him or her. It was a remarkable time and a remarkable place.

Ky is fighting Cancer. Like about 47 million of our neighbors, Ky has no health insurance. Ky is a highly motivated person. Ky grew up in Greenwater and went to culinary school at South Seattle Community College. He had to drive around 100 miles for each trip to school. Ky got a job working as the chef at the Café Panini in Enumclaw. He is said to be an excellent Chef!

After reading about him at his web site, I came to realize that, even though I never met Ky, I found that his and my paths have crossed probably thousands of times. The Community College where he learned culinary arts and sciences is a place where I am within 2 blocks of many times per week. I pass right by the Café Panini, where he worked every time I pass through Enumclaw, and, of course, he spent much of his life in Greenwater, doing many of the same things I like to do.

To help pay for some of his expenses, on March 29, there is going to be the first of two benefit events in Ky’s honor. There will be a Spaghetti Feed and Auction at the Enumclaw High School. Registration starts at 4:30 PM and dinner starts at 6:00 PM.

Then, on April 5, 2008, starting at 6:00 AM and continuing until Noon, there will be a Pancake Benefit Breakfast at the Greenwater Community Center.

If you can show up for either or both of these events, please do so. If you can contribute something or even extend some good wishes to Ky he would be grateful for it. If you can, do it for no other reason than in all likelihood, some day, some time in your life you will need the help of others. As we all know, what we give is about the same as what we receive. For those who do give, our neighbors that make up our communities always return the favor.

Note: This article was updated 3-27-08 for corrected dates and times.

Note: A duplicate of this article can be found at where we have a discussion forum.


JosephMcG said...

Thanks Tracy for bringing us home to South Sound and helping us to see our neighbor's needs through their eyes.
Joseph McG

Lorraine Hart said...

I send my heartfelt good wishes to Ky in his struggle. I'm so glad to see his community rally around him. Good for you, for helping to get the word out Tracy.

Out here on the Key Pen, there was a gentleman dying of cancer and it really touched my heart that this community all took turns (worked out an entire schedule together) to be with him and see to his needs every day.

Rather than trying for the impossible task of giving everyone in the country the same cushy medical coverage members of Congress enjoy...perhaps it would be a great lesson to take their coverage away and put them on the same footing as the rest of the country.

Is there a fund set-up that folks can mail to?

Kim Thompson said...


I always like seeing your posts. This one was particularly poignant, as you covered the universality of our small, small world and your interactions with your neighbors. I will check out his site. Best wishes to him and his family in this time. Best wishes to Greenwater in their community efforts to help a native son.


Stephanie Frieze said...

Tracy, your posts are always peeks into a lovely little community and once again you've shown the Neighborhood what community really is. May your community fund raising be enormous.

Unfortunately, fundraising may help immediate needs, but the root of the problem is deeper than such measures. I second Lorraine's emotion about taking away Congress' health care and let them pay for it out of their fine pockets.

Tracy Lebenzon said...

Thanks all for the kind feedback and well wishes.

I've made corrections to the dates and times above.

It is sometimes hard to understand the nature of personal tragedy and crisis we face due to serious illness. The huge numbers of people who will face this problem is numbing to attempts at comprehension. It takes seeing someone who is a kind of reflection of ourselves, and then realizing that on another level, that person amounts to one in 5 people who will face a health problem without insurance. That is about one in 5 people for the entire USA. Looked at that way, the mind can begin to understand the monstrous size of the problem. It is amazing what positive things can happen when we only try to give a little help to our neighbors....

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

There is a 52-page booklet called "Where to Turn" that is a guide to community resources for Tacoma and Pierce County. The current issue is valid through July of 2008.

"Where to Turn" is a publication of the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources Center.

Even though Ky is a young man, there will be many useful resources identified for him and his new family in the pages of the booklet.

Call 253.798.4600 to request a copy of "Where to Turn."

If the booklet is no longer available, let me know and I'll photocopy it in its entirety for you to give to Ky and his wife.

Here are some additional links where you/they can find more resources for assistance online:

Tracy Lebenzon said...

Thanks for information on the "Where to Turn" document and related. I'll make sure he knows about it.