Help author Katharine Kerr care for her husband Howard

For: Katharine and Howard Kerr
San Francisco, CA
Organizer: A. Rasmussen
Help author Katharine Kerr care for her husband Howard (Katharine and Howard Kerr)
$17,235
of $12,000 goal.
Raised by 425 donors
100% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Pictured above left: Katherine "Kit" Kerr at age 70.
Above right: Kit and her husband, Howard, picture taken at their marriage in 1973.

I first encountered Katharine Kerr’s writing in 1986 with the publication of her debut novel, Daggerspell, the opening volume of her much lauded and loved Deverry sequence (now 15 novels total). Over the years readers from all over the world have enjoyed these wonderful fantasy books and especially the memorable characters and vivid world. Kit has also written several science fiction novels, two urban fantasy series, and multiple short stories. Now 70, Kit is still writing and in fact she is the sole support for herself and her husband Howard. They live on a small income that has so far been enough to pay for housing, food, and medical insurance.

But she needs our help.

Here is her situation, in her own words:

"My husband has Alzheimer's. He needs help with getting up in the morning, with eating his breakfast and keeping clean. He needs help in remembering where he is and who the people around him are. Most of all, he needs help with filling the hours of his day. For a long time I managed to give him all this help and keep writing ­­ not as much as I wanted to write, but something everyday. I also had time for keeping in touch with friends and readers on the Internet, an activity that is keeping me sane. This despite the constant interruptions and questions. He has delusions, too, hears imaginary voices and wonders if there are other people living in our house.

Then Howard cut himself somehow, just a scrape more than a deep cut. He didn't tell me. It went septic. Fortunately we do have good health care. They kept him in hospital for several days and cured the blood poisoning. But he came home terribly weak and more confused than ever.

Without help in the house I can't write. Just getting online is difficult. I have a new Deverry book started ­­ a whole 70 pages. Two months ago I had 50 pages. This pace is not me, but concentrating on fiction when someone needs your constant attention is pretty much impossible. In a way, I have a small child who remembers being a grown- up. It breaks my heart daily."

Right now Kit (who has chronic asthma and a heart condition) is the sole caregiver for Howard.

We have set up this fundraiser specifically to pay for care for Howard to allow her to write, either a health aide to come to the house or an adult day­care specifically designed for Alzheimer’s patients. She cannot afford this unless we help. We have set a basic goal of $12,000, which should give Kit 20 weeks of coverage. Any money raised over that amount will go for more of the same.

Maybe it is selfish of us to want another Deverry novel from an iconic writer. Maybe it is compassionate to want to give a break to a caregiver working in a heartbreaking situation.

Both are true, but even more so it seems important to allow an artist to continue to work because she still has something to share with us.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 8, 2015

Posted on January 8, 2015

Hello, all. We've been completely blown away by the support shown here, and would like to bring you an update in Kit's own words on how this support has impacted her life already:

"Having a caregiver in the house has made it possible for me to continue writing, yes, and given me time to read, too, an important activity for a writer.  I have time to just sit and breathe, to play a dumb computer game for a few minutes while I think some writing problem through.  This is wonderful. But best of all, it's made a big difference in Howard.  He has help, he has companionship, he has a daily routine, all of which are essential for people struggling with Alzheimer's.  The end result is that he's making progress.  He'll never be truly well, of course, unless medical researchers have some enormous breakthrough.  But he has regained the state he was in before his last hospital stay.  
During the early parts of the day he's alert.  He can talk again, slowly and with great care, but he's communicating.  Late in the afternoon and on into the evening, talking becomes increasingly difficult.  Here's where the routine comes in.  He knows that he and his caregiver will watch TV for a while.  He'll get his medications on time and the same time every day, just as he goes to bed at the same time every evening.  So instead of being upset and agitated, he's calm at night.
The money you generous souls have given me has provided an interval of order instead of chaos.  I'm working on finding more funding to continue allowing him this level of care, which is really expensive, unfortunately.  I cannot say thank you enough times, and I can't say it dry-eyed."

Thank you. Although we've exceeded goal, we will be keeping the fundraiser open through to the original end date of April. Every little bit has helped.

Posted on December 18, 2014

Posted on December 18, 2014

Thank you so much for all of your support. This outpouring of comments, spreading the message, and donations has been immensely heartwarming and hugely appreciated. I can't express how much this means to us (the organizers) and of course to Kit and Howard as well.

Thank you again.

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