Source: Judy Wilson, The Pelican
Deerfield Beach – Daytime Radness, one of this city’s major beachside events, is about more than surfing, skateboarding and cool clothes. It’s about raising money to defray medical expenses for a local person struggling with the financial issues that usually go with poor health.
This year the beneficiary of the Oct. 18 event is Carolyne Koos, 40, a Deerfield Beach wife and mom who has battled a variety of mysterious afflictions her entire life. She was chosen, according to Mike Paim, because last year her husband, Ben, arranged for his BSO co-workers to provide security for Radness, an act of volunteerism which saved the sponsor, Island Water Sports, $4,000.
Paim, one of the organizers of Radness, said the family is well-known at IWS because their son Jack, 13, is a skateboarder and because the Koos have the same church affiliation as store owner Linsey Cottrell.
But being on the receiving end of a charity makes her uncomfortable, Carolyne Koos said.
She and Ben are the founders of Embrace Life Children’s Foundation, fashioned along the lines of Make-A-Wish. This summer, the Foundation was able to send about 30 kids with sickle cell disease to Camp Boggy in Central Florida. Major source of funding comes from an annual golf tournament organized by Ben and supported by the Broward Sheriff’s Department.
The Foundation came into being nine years ago when the couple discovered their second-born son, Christian, had Leukodystrophy, a rare neurological disease. His death at age two inspired the Koos’s to establish their 501C3 charity to help children with chronic or terminal illnesses.
Recently, her desire to nurture sick kids has been waylaid by her own illness, Carolyne says. After being plagued by asthma, pneumonia and lupus throughout her childhood and young adult years, her condition has worsened.
After rounds of visits to specialists at Mayo Jacksonville, Cleveland Clinic and UM Jackson, she was diagnosed with Dysautonomia, a breakdown of the nervous system, and Sjogren’s Syndrome. The latter prevents her body from regulating blood pressure, temperature and heart rate causing extreme dizziness, hot and cold flashes and seizures. Her teeth have become so brittle they break frequently. Her conditions put her at risk for sedation.
Through the years, her symptoms have intensified. “I kept thinking I would find someone locally,” Carolyne says. She is at a point where she cannot drive a car or work.
Local doctors are urging her to go Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where there is a world-renowned Center for Autonomic Dysfunction. There they have developed tests which can determine the severity and the location of the dysfunction and separate an actual symptom from those that mimic it.
The trip to Rochester depends on her having the funds to see the specialists there, pay for travel and lodging. Recently, she discovered Ben’s BSO insurance will not cover these expenses.
Says Cottrell, “It is very had to write about the things she does because they are not done for any type of accolade, but because she believes that everyone needs a little help sometimes . . . She has always been in the business of helping others, but life has thrown her curve balls.”
Paim expects Radness will raise $15,000 for Carolyne’s trip to Rochester.
This is the third year for the event which last year attracted 8,000 people. The draw is a huge store sale, silent auction and raffles which go to the charity, music, food, and exhibits by all the store’s major vendors.
A highlight of the day will be the finals of a skateboarding contest taking place next month at three venues in South Florida.
Still self-conscious about being the recipient of charity, Carolyne says she recognizes it is a prayer answered. Of Cottrell, she says, “She as blown me away with her heart.”
In efforts to raise funds for Carolyn, IWS with the help of our sponsors are hosting a silent auction. There are some amazing items like Miami Heat tickets, brand new Stand Up Paddles and surfboards, pro skater signed decks and more. place your bid today!! To start bidding, click here!