Robert Burke is a visionary artist that has repeatedly broken boundaries with his conceptual, interactive performance oriented sculptural installations. His early work in the origins of the Burning Man community shaped the event in integral ways that have yet to be duplicated. Before his work with Burning Man, Robert lived an experience rich life in the tradition of the modern Renaissance man: sailing the world, traveling as a journeyman sign painter…the stories he tells are unparalleled and vivid. He is a deep soul, caring, passionate, and thoughtful. His spirit is large and it is a rare soul that does not remember him, even just having met him once.
And now, a tragedy has befallen him:
Robert Burke has been diagnosed with primary progressive MS.
Multiple Sclerosis is an extremely debilitating, progressive, incurable disease. It has been taking him down in horrible ways, very very quickly. for more information see this link: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS
It has been explained to Robert in no uncertain terms by a number of medical professionals that his physical condition will continue to degrade steadily until he loses all motor functions.
Robert first began experiencing severe symptoms including difficulty controlling his motor skills, balance issues, impaired cognitive functions, nausea and fatigue about three years ago, but it is possible that he has actually had MS for years without realizing it, as he had no health insurance. When his physical difficulties became so severe that he was unable to support himself financially, he lost his housing and began living in his bus. His condition continued to worsen until his friends, concerned for his wellbeing, organized and began trying to help him to get medical care, secure housing, assistance with transportation, medical advocacy, and counseling.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, he now has medical care, and has received a diagnosis, but the battle is far from over. It is imperative that he receives regular medical care, eat well, and receive physical therapy twice a week. As his condition worsens, he will need a medical advocate and assistance with even the most basic of needs.
Robert is unable to work. He is at this point homeless, and has been staying with friends for a number of months. This temporary situation is not suitable for him: because MS is progressive, it is of utmost importance that he find housing that he can afford and is suitable for his reduced abilities, near public transportation. Robert has been assigned a social worker that is trying to help him navigate the bureaucratic intricacies of the social safety net (SSDI, HUD, ACA, etc.), but his grip on the basics of life are extremely tenuous at this point. He needs help.
Please, donate if you can and please tell your friends about Robert’s plight. Share this page on your social networks. Join Robert's Facebook Page Friends of Robert Burke https://www.facebook.com/groups/2101807163377805/ Getting the word out is important in so many ways.