Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fundraiser for a true friend's medical bills

On Monday, May 7, a true friend of mine collapsed at home. The quick dialing fingers of his wife, and rapid response by paramedics, saved his life. I had just gotten off the phone with Kyle at 6:00 pm and he was fine, and at 6:25 I was in my car, breaking traffic laws to get to his house (normally 20-30 minutes away) in record time, so I could watch his 2 year old daughter while his wife went to the hospital. It happened just that fast.

While the paramedics worked on him, they were forced to shock his heart with a defibrillator several times when he went into cardiac arrest. He also vomited, and some of that vomit went down his lungs ("aspirated" is the medical term). A good chunk of the last two days has been spent trying to deal with the complications resulting from that aspiration. They've kept him on a paralytic sedative until this afternoon, because in his half-conscious state he was fighting the wires and tubes, and he needed those to help heal. The doctors still don't know for sure what the underlying cause of all this was, but they do have some ideas (forgive me for not sharing all the details--it's not my place). At the moment, it's looking like he may end up having an implantable defibrillator put in, so that if his heart ever stops again, it will shock his heart.

Kyle's professional life and passion for the past several years has been helping those people with developmental disabilities have a happier life, with as much independence as they can. For years he worked directly with adults with developmental disabilities, giving them care, teaching life skills, helping them learn to handle and navigate a world that often ignores them and their unique needs, and helping each individual become the best he or she could become. As he has advanced in his career, he has gradually focused on advocating with the Minnesota legislature and elected officials on behalf of people with disabilities. He has helped and encouraged the very people he advocates FOR advocate for themselves, and recognize that they can have a voice that is heard. Last year the Minnesota legislature was debating the new budget, and arguing about where to cut funding. Kyle went to Capitol Hill several times to talk to our elected officials, and helped organize events for people to express their voice. Human services did receive cuts in the budget, but it was not nearly as bad as it had looked like for a while, and I believe that Kyle's efforts, and the efforts of those he helped organize, contributed to that. I recall, while this budget battle was going on, chatting with Kyle in his office, and a client of the company we both work for came to his office and handed him a letter. The letter was hand written, addressed to that client's Representative. Kyle's face lit up with pride and happiness at seeing this client doing something that for her was very difficult, and letting her voice be heard. 

On a personal level, I met Kyle the first week of college, in the fall of 1999. At first, he was just a goofy guy that I liked to hang out with. But one evening someone told Kyle they had seen me in the dorm's common area, and I looked upset. Kyle came to see if there was anything he could do for me. I wasn't actually upset, as it turned out. I had been listening to someone practice the Moonlight Sonata, and was moved by the beauty of her playing. I'm not sure what that person saw in my face that they thought I was upset. Regardless, Kyle and I talked, and that was the first night that I realized this was a man of substance, a man I could be friends with, and a man I wanted to know better. No conversation I've ever had has been more stimulating than the multiple conversations I've had with him over the past 12 1/2 years. I was honored to be his best man (twice), and was honored that he stood as my best man when I got married. He was there for me when I was struggling through my Depression, and even saved my life once. He did not know what I had planned when he saw me that night, but he could tell something was wrong, and the concern he showed was instrumental in me not following through with that plan. He supported me as best he could when I was homeless, and shared in my relief when I got back on my feet and had a place to live again. When I moved from Winona, MN to Rochester, MN, he gave me a place to stay while I got a job and looked for a place of my own. And when I was unemployed and looking for work last year, he strongly encouraged me to apply at Cardinal of Minnesota, the company he works for in the disability services field, despite my fears that I could not show the level of care I would need to, the patience that is required. He saw more in me than I saw in myself, and I have never regretted following his advice and applying. It is the best, most rewarding job I've ever had.

Kyle is my best friend, my best man, my "hetero-lifemate" (as my wife calls him), but above all that, he is -in every way that matters- my brother. He is family.

Not many read this blog, and fewer of you will have met Kyle. Nonetheless, I hope you will help him. A mutual friend of ours started a fundraiser to help pay for Kyle's medical bills. I have given what I can for now, and will give more when I and my wife get paid again (we struggle to stay in the black each month). Please, will you help? He is not just a friend and family, he has been an asset to society. Please, help him and his family.

Here's the link. Fundraiser


  1. If anyone doesn't like paying with PayPal, or was having problems with PayPal rejecting donations, Andy (who started the Fundrazr)and his wife have fixed it so that now you can pay with a debit or credit card. To anyone that donates to Kyle's fund, you have my eternal gratitude.

  2. Thank you so much for writting this Nathan and my eternal gratitude to all involved for helping out our friends!

  3. I've had a couple of people ask me about alternative ways to donate to the Kyle Mullen Medical Fundraiser, other than the Fundrazr site. Here's what I've got so far:
    If you're concerned about login details at Fundrazr, you can donate anonymously. No need to create a new account! (I think the login is just for the people who start the funds)
    If you don't have or want to use PayPal, upon checkout there is an option to "buy as guest." That allows you to use a credit/debit card. The link shows up at the point when you're asked to login to PayPal. It may be a little small, but it's there.
    Other options, if Fundrazr isn't a good one for you, include a personal check, made out to Stephanie Mullen. If you email me or message me on Facebook, I'll give you my mailing address (my email is nathandst (at) gmail (dot) com). I'll talk to Stephanie to see if she prefers me to give out her home address for that.
    One more option, if you already have PayPal, but the Fundrazr site won't work out for you for some reason, is to transfer money from your PayPal to mine (I use the same email as above), and I will donate in your name (or you can be anonymous, your choice). Transfers are always free.
    If none of these are good options for you, or you have another idea, either message me on Facebook, or email me, and we'll see what we can work out. You can also message Andy James on Facebook (Andy, I'm volunteering you for this since you started the Fundrazr; hope you don't mind :D ). I want this to be as easy as it can be for all involved. You could also ask on the Kyle Mullen Fundraiser page.

  4. What a beautifully written picture of your friend. Thanks so much for sharing. I will also seek donations for this wonderful friend of yours. Prayers and good thoughts are on their way.

  5. I'm grateful for any donations to Kyle and his family.

  6. Thank you so much Joy for your help and donation! :)

  7. Kyle is blessed to have a best friend like you, I hope his condition will get better with all the prayers and donations. It is so true that the real riches are not seen on our bank accounts, but by the people who care for us, which makes Kyle one of the richest people in the world. :)