Ron Simonsen needs your help
Ron Simonsen of Salem, New Hampshire, a well-known camper at Camp Jabberwocky for many years and a communicant at Grace Church, is in Boston struggling with leukemia. He faces six weeks more of treatment, and he needs your help.
Gillian Butchman (glbutchman@ aol.com), the former July camp director of Jabberwocky and the new director of the Nantucket Jabberwocky called Tulgy Wood, has appealed for help from Ron's Island friends and supporters. The costs of treatment are staggering, of course, but so are the ancillary costs, including arranging a place for family to stay near the hospital to keep Ron company and support him.
Ms. Butchman says that Ron's many friends, who have banded together to form Ron's Fight Club, "have been calling, visiting, and sending cards. Some of Ron's beloved hospital 'court' went so far as to come in on their day off to help him collect all his cards from the walls, and ceiling, and to see him before he went home.
Ron Simonsen as he appeared in the 2003 Camp Jabberwocky 50th anniversary celebration. Photo by Susan Safford
"His amazing spirit and daily mantra - 'I'm gonna lick this thing' - have been like a touchstone of courage for so many of us. And we who have known him for many years at Jabberwocky, and watched his progress from our Sunday nights' pastor to the talented and famous actor in Return of the Muskrats, feel very proud of our friendship."
Carrie Lashnits, who has undertaken to spread the word about Ron's need, says many Islanders remember Ron for his role in the Jabberwocky movie "How's Your News?" about the campers' trip across country, and "How's Your News on the Campaign Trail," which is hilarious.
In an e-mail, Ms. Butchman describes the ordeal in store for Ron, who has cerebral palsy: "The next round of Ronnie's fight with leukemia is about to begin. Within the next month he will have the bone marrow transplant. For this he will again be in the hospital for several weeks, following which he must return to the hospital daily, and sometimes perhaps twice a day, for continuing treatments and checks. And because he cannot be subjected to crowds or other likely possibilities for contagion, his doctors are requesting that he live somewhere in 'wheel-chair pushing' distance from the hospital for these additional weeks of treatment. This of course is possible but also very expensive, and comes on top of the many recent expenses to Ron's family in transportation, food away from home, and specialized equipment and services.
"Most, if not all of us, have fervently offered, 'If there is anything at all we can do to help, please let us know.' Now, indeed there is something we can do; we can help Ron's family find the money needed for Ron's persevering fight and to secure the lodging close to the hospital that his doctors are requesting for another month or six weeks of treatment following his hospitalization...."
Contributions may be made to Ron's Fight Club, care of Katie's World, a 501(c)3 organization. Gifts are fully tax deductible. The address is: 12504 Rolling Road, Potomac, MD 20854. Progress will be updated by e-mail. The goal is $10,000. "And that's just 500 people contributing $20," Ms. Butchman reminds us.