Fundraiser planned to secure new bed for paralyzed woman

Krystle Wagner • Nov 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

SPRING LAKE TWP. – As Pam Allen recovers from her latest bout with a rare spinal cord disorder, her husband and friends are fundraising to help make her return home an easier transition.

With the help of friends, Jack Allen is working to raise $10,000 to purchase a specialized bed for his wife, who is paralyzed and recovering from severe bedsores. A fundraiser will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the VFW Post 3195, 5209 Grand Haven Road. 

The event includes a spaghetti dinner, silent auction, games and music. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Kids ages 5 and younger are free.

In 2004, Pam Allen was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare disorder caused by spinal cord inflammation, Jack said.

The inflammation occurred when a blood-borne virus got into Pam’s system and her autoimmune system attacked it while it was in her spinal cord, Jack said.

“She went from being healthy one day to maybe five days later, she was paralyzed from the chest down,” he said.

Following her diagnosis, Pam has remained at home with the help of Jack and their son caring for her. Jack’s mom and sister also live with them and provide support.

Since Pam is unable to use her fingers, they adapted tools over the years to help her eat, make telephone calls and operate the television remote.

In the beginning, Pam experienced bedsores that ranged from her hips to her feet.

About six years ago, Pam received a prescription for a Clinitron Air Fluidized Bed by Hill-Rom. Tiny beads in the bed inflate so there’s no pressure on the body, Jack explained.

Medicare paid the rental fee for the bed for several years. During that time, Pam didn’t experience a single bedsores, Jack said.

Although Pam had a positive experience with the bed, the company no longer sells it and has discontinued servicing the beds, with the exception of the beds in hospitals and nursing homes.

Pam used the bed as long as possible, but the bed requires maintenance twice a year.

Ultimately, the bed was removed and replaced with a different type that Medicare would approve to pay the rental costs.

Despite the family’s efforts, Pam’s bedsores returned within four months of using the new bed.

Pam was recently hospitalized to take care of the wounds.

As Pam recovered, she was moved to Riverside Nursing Home in Grand Haven. During that time, Jack has raced to raise funds to secure the new bed.

He added that they’re working on an after care plan program so Pam can return home in a few weeks.

After looking over options, Jack Allen plans to purchase the Synergy Air Elite, which is also made by Hill-Rom. Medicare won’t pay for the bed or a rental, Jack Allen said.

After speaking with the company, Jack said he’s able to purchase the bed for $10,000.

In addition to the fundraiser event, a GoFundMe campaign was also created to assist in raising money.

Whether it’s through donations or applying for a loan, Jack is optimistic he will reach the goal.

“We’re going to get that $10,000 so that she’s got the very best bed here when she does come home,” he said.

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