Kenneth Ludwiszewski, 67, had been working at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk since 1989. He gained a reputation within the community as one of the best phlebotomists and also spent time working as an X-ray technician and in materials management.
Ludwizewski made a career of helping those in need in Chautauqua County. But now, the city resident is in need of some help himself.
In November, many began noticing that Ludwiszewski had a drooping eyelid. He went to an eye doctor, who believed he had a condition called Myasthenia Gravis, a rare neuromuscular autoimmune disorder, and subsequent blood work revealed that to be true.
According to Ludwiszewski’s daughter, Kristin Glowniak, they put him on medication to help with his day-to-day life, and when that didn’t work, they switched him to an expensive IVIG treatment, which began April 7, that he was expected to have to do twice a month. But because of the nature of his condition, they called him for treatments five times within the first month.
“It’s $ 1,000 every time he has to go for treatment,” Glowniak said. “It’s covered by insurance but that’s still the co-pay.”
Ludwiszewski had still planned on working through it, but the disorder and treatment have taken their toll on the body, forcing him into early retirement on March 31. Glowniak said that his noticeably short of breath just from driving over then walking into her house, making it so his typically active job would be impossible.
“He worked in outpatient care and traveled to county homes or to take house calls for elderly people,” said Glowniak. “He was very active and going out all the time, but with this, it affects his talking, chewing, swallowing, breathing, and his muscles just getting in and out of his chair.”
The length of Ludwiszewski’s treatment will be determined based on how he responds to it.
So far, he hasn’t shown any significant signs of improvement, meaning that the treatment and cost attached to it will have to continue for the time being. Because of that, Glowniak, with the help of her brother and sister, have set up a way to help alleviate the cost.
Glowniak is selling raffle tickets for $ 5 each to try and help offset some of her father’s medical bills. While she didn’t want to set up a full benefit for her dad, she did want to be able to help out in some way.
“With my sister in Virginia and my brother in Falconer, we figured we’d try and throw a raffle together just to see if we could raise a little bit of money for costs of treatment, just to give him a little beat of ease from having to come up with it, ” she said. “We don’t want to make it life or death right now, and I don’t want to say there’s a cure but some people with this can have normal life expectancy but there are others where it gets bad and goes to the lungs, like his has started to, and it doesn’t get better. ”
Glowniak has been selling these tickets at some of the local clubs, including the Kosciuszko Club in Dunkirk. She’s also taking the opportunity to sell tickets on her own, at places like the boardwalk on nicer days. While Glowniak herself, who runs a daycare out of her home, said she doesn’t know too many people, she knows that her dad does.
“I don’t belong to any of the clubs and I don’t know many people,” said Glowniak. “But a ton of people know him or know of him.”
The prizes of the raffle, which feature many items purchased by Glowniak and her siblings, as well as donations from community members, are a “Wagon of Cheer,” which is a Red Rider wagon filled with around 35 bottles of different kinds of alcohol; a “Summer Fun Tote,” which is a cooler filled with family oriented summer activities such as kites and pinwheels; and a board of scratch off lottery tickets. The drawing for the raffles will take place on Memorial Day.
If you would like to donate or purchase raffle tickets, contact Glowniak at (716) 366-3838 or through Facebook under Kristin Glowniak or Raffle to Benefit Ken Ludwiszewski IVIG Treatment. Venmo (@ Matthew-Glowniak) friends and family and Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org) are also accepted. Tickets are $ 5 for one or $ 10 for three entries.