Since this is Kenny’s Dream Foundation’s first year participating in #GivingTuesday, I thought I would share my brothers’ story.
Kenny was born November 25, 1969. First born to Ken and Carole, he was the apple of their eye. Extremely bright from a young age, he could be difficult at times to raise and had strange fears and would act out at times. He was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at about age 10. He loved music! I think it was part of him, maybe his way of escaping the pain a little. He could play anything he heard, whether it was on his guitar, keyboard or the drums. He played by ear just like our Dad, no lessons, just plain talent. He loved lots of different genres, like rock and middle eastern music. But I think heavy rock was his favorite. It spoke to him somehow and I think part of it was the difficulty and the challenge of playing that type of music. Kenny was really funny too and loved doing open mic night at local comedy places. He was great at doing imitations and telling jokes. I certainly didn’t inherit those talents! He loved God and always kept his faith even though his soul was tortured year after year. I am not sure if I could be as faithful as he was with so much suffering. I think that takes a very special person, which is exactly what he was. He loved animals too. He was so sweet and gentle with them. I remember he found this kitten that was a mess and had mange. I had to bathe that cat in special shampoo that smelled awful but I did it anyway because I am an animal lover too and Kenny knew I would help out.
It has been 15 years since that unexpected day, when I came home from Clearwater to find out that my brother had died earlier that day. I still remember it like yesterday although sometimes it feels like a dream. Like I had stepped out of my body and could see myself and everyone around me. That is how I remember it sometimes.
Most of my memories of my brother Kenny include his disorder, Tourette Syndrome. I was probably about 7 yrs old when he was diagnosed, so most of my childhood included TS as well. It affected the entire family and we had some really tough times. We tried so many things to rid Kenny of TS to no avail. The drugs only clouded his mind and drained his soul. But through all of this, Kenny kept his faith in God and believed that he would be healed someday. His IQ was borderline genius, which made him acutely aware of his condition. I ask “why Kenny?” a lot. I did back then and do sometimes now as well. I will never know the answer so I am not sure why I ask. I guess it is just human nature to ask that question when someone you love is suffering. But I refuse to believe that his life was in vain. He touched so many lives and definitely made us laugh and entertained us with his music.
Since Kenny was super smart and always wanted to be something great, like a famous musician or scientist, I think he would be proud that, to honor him, this charity will give others help in pursuing their dreams. Whether it be attending a university, trade school or summer camp, Kenny will be smiling down on us as he watches others do what they love, in spite of having TS. Live your life the best you can and always remember, if you can’t find the light in the darkness, then build a fire…..