A family of givers in need

Julie, Bob and Alyson Hanhauser

Bay Village residents Julie and Bob Hanhauser will be counting many blessings this Christmas season: 28 years of wedded bliss; large, loving, supportive extended families; a multitude of friends; their daughter, Alyson, a Kent State dean's list student who is beautiful inside and out. However, the challenges and hardships of recent years have overwhelmed them and even those who love them. 

All of his adult life, Bob has been struggling with serious, and now disabling, Crohn's disease, a condition which inflames and sometimes destroys portions of the colon. He and Julie lost their beloved 14-year-old son, Ian, eight years ago from a rare and fast-moving cancer. Before and after this tragic loss, Bob underwent five bowel surgeries. He is now unable to eat as he can no longer absorb the nutrients from food.

Most of us are fortunate to take our daily meals for granted, and can especially look forward to scrumptious holiday feasts. It’s difficult to even imagine not being able to eat anything … ever! There was no Thanksgiving feast for Bob. There will be no Christmas dinner, no New Year's repast, no birthday cakes. 

Bob is being kept alive by a daily 12-hour infusion of fluid containing nutrients and medications through a port in his chest. This mixture is extremely costly as are the multiple other medications and treatments which he needs. His illness manifests in severe fatigue, balance and memory deficits, periods of confusion and severe abdominal pain. These symptoms are only part of many complications, and often there are complications to the complications. The Hanhausers have insurance, but no amount of insurance or social security can cover the astronomical out-of-pocket costs of his ever-changing illness. In addition, Bob is no longer able to work or drive.

The Hanhausers have always been givers and, until Bob became so ill, had organized annual walks in Ian’s memory and donated the proceeds to animal rescue groups or cancer research. They continue sharing their love and support with Alyson’s and Ian’s friends and, amazingly, still volunteer to assist friends in numerous ways when time and energy permit. 

The role of being in need themselves is new and difficult for them. Julie is a Cleveland Clinic nurse and works many extra shifts, but her salary can not cover their ever escalating expenses. Therefore, a fundraiser has been started in an attempt to alleviate at least some of the financial stress they are facing. 

Anyone wishing to help may do so through checks made out to Julia Hanhauser at any Key Bank or by visiting GiveForward.com. As we all celebrate this joyous season of giving and the hopes that every New Year brings, may those who are able, share one more blessing by Giving Forward.

Read More on Community Service
Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:45 AM, 12.09.2014