Giving back: What Y-S is all about
I recall once, as a junior, lazily making my way into another American history class, expecting this day to be just like the last. But a man stood next to my teacher's desk whom I had never seen before. Obviously he was a guest speaker. But when he began to speak, one of his arms began to tremble. He wasn't one to ignore the obvious, though.
"You may have noticed my flipper," he said, with a smile on his face.
It was an apt description. The apparently involuntary movement of his arm reminded me of a flipper in a pinball machine — maybe a little less violent.
He introduced himself as Ken Miller. He had a video for us, one he'd produced himself. It was Washington's farewell address, with the language updated so as to be understandable.
That video was a major contributing factor to a paradigm shift of my own. As I watched Washington's words come to life, I thought more deeply about the founding fathers' ideas for this country than I ever had before.
Ken Miller is, primarily, a videographer. He's lived in the Yuba-Sutter area for more than 20 years. During those years, he's worked with most of the major organizations in this community, including the newspaper you're reading right now.
But for the last four, he's lived with Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's is a degenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system. With Ken, the first things you notice are the aforementioned "flipper" and a tendency to forget what he's saying.
His tremors have made it impossible for him to do what he loves — hold a video camera. But doctors at Stanford University have approved Ken for a surgery they call deep brain stimulation. To learn more about the procedure, and to follow Ken's journey, visit his somewhat whimsically titled blog at www.ActuallyItIsBrainSurgery.blogspot.com.
DBS can give Ken his life back. It can reverse or lessen the symptoms of Parkinson's. But, as always, there's a catch: The cost of the procedure is a quarter of a million dollars. And that figure doesn't include expenses incurred by the year-long recovery process he'll undergo.
At Faith Christian High School, kids are doing their part. During homecoming week, students raised almost $2,000 for Ken.
Glad Tidings Theater is hosting "Decades," a musical review benefiting Ken, where a plethora of local performers will be gracing the stage, including the award-winning FCS Players. Tickets can be purchased at Gauche Aquatic Park, Kaffe 'T' Latta or at the door, and the show runs through tomorrow.
FCS Players director Paul DeMeritt said "Decades" is a great opportunity for area residents. "It's exactly what this community is about: responding to people in need. They respond across generational lines, across ethnic lines, across denominational and religious lines," he said. "I'm a better man for having known (Ken), and would like to afford others that opportunity in years to come."
Justin Weeks is a senior at Faith Christian High School. This is his final column for Education. He plans to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in the fall.