Why your gift Matters

In sickness and in health

Couple's contribution helps other families coping with stroke 

When Jason Holmes and Kevin Westrope first met 24 years ago, sparks flew – in the wrong direction.

“We’re in the same industry and were working on a project,” said Jason. “Kevin had more experience and thought he knew better. I was not going to take it!”

With Kevin in Kansas City and Jason on the East Coast, the two successful colleagues kept in touch. Simultaneously single about 10 years ago, sparks reversed direction and they realized they had fallen in love.

They set up home base in Kansas City and built a vibrant life overflowing with friends, family, travel, business and philanthropic activities. On July 8, 2015, their lives changed.

One life-changing moment
Kevin was traveling to a meeting, staying at their Dallas home. “When I got a call that Kevin hadn’t made the meeting, I knew something was terribly wrong,” Jason said.

Friends found Kevin at their home. He had suffered a massive stroke an estimated 12 hours before, and he spent three weeks in intensive care at a Dallas hospital. “It rocked my world,” said Kevin.

Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the nation. Jason asked a friend in the healthcare industry for advice. He told Jason to call Marilyn Rymer, MD, who led the neurosciences program at The University of Kansas Health System.

“Dr. Rymer was amazing,” said Jason. When it was time to transfer Kevin to rehabilitation, she told them the quality of care here was as good as anywhere in the world.

Kevin transferred to the health system, where he spent four weeks in acute inpatient rehab. Over the past two years, he has made remarkable progress. After marrying in October, the couple – who had made estate giving plans – decided “to do something good now,” said Jason. “We thought, ‘Why are we waiting?’”

Helping the next family

Their generous gift funded the Kevin Westrope and Jason Holmes Stroke Interventional Suite in Cambridge Tower A. The suite and its advanced technology allow physicians to further extend the amount of time they can treat a stroke and provide the best possible outcome. Their gift is critical to helping care for stroke victims throughout the region, said Dr. Rymer.

“We hope this contribution will allow another family to avoid going through what we have,” said Jason.

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