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By Hannah Kibler
It’s been two months since White Heath local Cindy Foster was diagnosed with a life threatening brain condition, but with the help of progressive medical treatment along with the prayers of family and friends Cindy is awake and starting the recovery process.
Less than a week after being admitted to Carle Hospital on July 17, Cindy was flown to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis after being diagnosed with encephalitis and meningitis, rare conditions in which the brain and lining of the brain become inflamed, often times causing seizures. These conditions can occur as a result of an infection, although, in Cindy’s case, a cause has yet to be found. As part of her medical treatment Cindy was kept in a drug-induced coma for seven weeks to stop her seizures and allow her brain to heal.
During this trying period, Cindy’s family and friends took a proactive approach organizing fundraisers and keeping a faith-based positivity. Between the homemade “pray for Cindy” signs scattered throughout White Heath and Monticello, the t-shirts and bracelets, and a Facebook page with more than 2,200 followers and constant updates, it’s clear that Cindy has not been alone throughout her fight.
The overwhelming response from the community to support the efforts of Cindy’s family and friends has not gone unnoticed. Cindy’s aunt, Debbie Foster Ackerman spoke of the response from not only White Heath and Monticello, but surrounding communities as well.
“Through this journey I’ve been reminded over and over again how wonderful growing up in a small community can be,” she said. “I’m blessed and humbled at how the communities have come together.”, noting that their support has often left many of Cindy’s family members speechless. Cindy’s mother, Vicky Foster who has been with her in St. Louis since July 22 notes how much the contributions from the community have helped.
“It’s allowed me to be here with Cindy,” she said.
Although Cindy is still on several seizure medications, she awoke from her coma on August 25, only a day after doctors discontinued heavy coma medications. She was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis on September 15th where she has been undergoing physical, occupational, and speech therapy to relearn important everyday activities in order to help her become functionally independent. “Her determination to relearn so many things we all take for granted is absolutely inspiring” said Vicky of watching her daughter complete therapy to relearn how to swallow, sit up, and move in general. Although Cindy is still in St. Louis she is able to talk family over the phone, and even sit outside to enjoy a nice day.
“We’re dealing with this one day at a time.” said Vicky. While all of Cindy’s family admits that this has been a difficult time, the family’s positive outlook shines through in her Aunt Debbie’s words- “Don’t take anything for granted and trust in GOD! “ “Put the bad things behind you and focus on the good.” And that is certainly what they are doing.
Although Cindy’s projected discharge date is November 10th, her family hopes she will be home sooner to attend a benefit they’ve been hard at work organizing. Although the event is planned for October 29th, raffle tickets to win a 12-guage shotgun are already being sold; and can be purchased for ten dollars per ticket, with only 500 being sold. Although there is no telling when Cindy will be able to return home, her cousin Brittney Ackerman says “she’s a Foster, a.k.a. fighter, you never know what to expect with Cindy.”
To purchase a ticket contact firstname.lastname@example.org.- put in a sidebar.