IRON MOUNTAIN - The Baiel family is asking for community support and financial assistance to provide desperately needed medical treatments for Ken Baiel.
Born and raised in Menominee, Ken attended NMU and honorably served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. Ken, now living in Florence, is a loving husband, father, uncle, brother, and a good friend to all.
To provide for his family, Ken has spent the majority of his life working as a precision form grinder, but years of grinding dust, solvents, coolants and heavy metals at work contributed to a serious disease, known as pulmonary fibrosis, family members say.
The disease-if left untreated-will fill Ken's lungs with scar tissue, leaving no room for oxygen. Baiel's lungs are failing and currently, his lung capacity is at 24 percent. As his lung function continues to diminish, Ken is forced to rely upon an oxygen tank and must receive treatment soon.
His age and existing coronary artery disease led the VA hospital, Mayo Clinic, and the University of Wisconsin to turn Ken down for a lung transplant. However, Baiel is scheduled to receive treatment at a private lung institute in Tampa, Fla. The institute is run by Dr. Burton Feinerman. To treat Baiel's condition and regenerate healthy tissue, Feinerman will treat and inject some of Ken's own stem cells into his damaged lungs.
The treatment has been proven successful in the past, but it's not covered by insurance in the U.S. Therefore the entirety of the medical expenses, totaling $13,500, must come out of pocket.
In order to finance the first stage of Ken's treatment, which is scheduled for September 15th, the Baiel family must raise $4,000. The second treatment will occur six months after the initial procedure, and the family will need to raise an additional $9,500 to finance the procedure. The Baiels would appreciate any donations-either cash or merchandise-that can be used for upcoming events and fundraisers. Monetary donations can be sent to:
Ken Baiel Fund
c/o Ken and Alicia Baiel Acct# 204594
900 Roosevelt Road
Niagara, WI 54151