Healthy Choices

News and inspiration for healthy living in Northern California

As family launches non-profit, Granite Bay flu victim works toward recovery

04/04/2014 1:30 PM

04/04/2014 1:30 PM

Lesley Bunning’s story touched so many Bee readers that we wanted to keep you abreast of Lesley’s continuing odyssey while recovering from devastating complications of the H1N1 flu.

For example, the Granite Bay resident has been re-learning how to walk in Kaiser Permanente’s physical therapy facility near the Bay Area. Family videos chronicle Lesley’s journey.

This, after spending more than 50 days in the intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanent medical facilities in Roseville.

Many medical personnel did not think Lesley would live through the worst of it. But she continues to make progress – and her family continues to urge people to do as they say, not as they did.

Prior to Lesley’s illness, the Bunning family shunned flu vaccines.

Afterward, they say they see the folly of that.

Family members got flu vaccines after witnessing Lesley’s struggle to make it through a medically-induced coma and, surprisingly, wake up and begin to thrive.

They are now urging everyone else to get the flu shot, which increases the chance of survival from the H1N1 flu up to 70 percent.

Bernard Bunning, Lesley’s husband is launching a non-profit to educate and help families afflicted by severe flu cases.

The first fundraiser is to be held Sunday, April 6, at Crush 29, 1480 Eureka Road in Roseville. It will be from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes food, drink and conversation. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at http://projecthelp1.eventbee.com.

Here is Lesley’s husband’s invitation statement, in full:

“My name is Bernard Bunning and I’ve had a great deal of success in my life, but on January 6th, 2014, I checked my wife of 20-plus years into the hospital with H1N1 and none of that mattered. I didn’t realize at the time, but my life would change forever that day.

“In a matter of four days my wife was on life support and within a week I was being told she would never recover and that I should take her off life support.

“My family, friends and employees were a tremendous support, but no one was there to provide me with the one thing that I really needed – and that was answers. The only answers I got were from God and he delivered.

“I spent sleepless night after sleepless night pouring through information on the web while my wife lie plugged into a machine for 45 days. I e-mailed the top experts in industry with only one word in the subject line – HELP – and they gave it to me!

“I always believed in God, but I hadn’t been compliant in a long time and he still answered my prayers. I believe he answered mine so I could help others. I want to make sure no one has to go through what I did and feel like they have to fight for their loved ones as their loved ones fight for their life. This is my Project HELP.

Come join us for a great night of drinks, food and fellowship at Crush 29 in Roseville. We will be sharing Lesley Bunning’s amazing story and telling you all about Project Help and how you can get involved. Bring your friends and family and we will see you April 6th at 3 p.m.”

About This Blog

Sacramento Bee reporters Cynthia Craft and Sammy Caiola write about community health issues in the Sacramento region. Their work is in conjunction with the California Endowment, a non-profit health foundation created in 1996.

Cynthia H. Craft is The Sacramento Bee's senior writer on health. She graduated from Ohio State University and previously worked at the Los Angeles Times and California Journal. She was a fellow in 2012 at the National Library for Medicine in Washington, D.C. at the National Institute for Health. Reach her at ccraft@sacbee.com or 916-321-1270. Twitter: @cynthiahcraft.

Sammy Caiola joined The Sacramento Bee as a health reporter in 2014. She is a recent graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where she was a Top 10 finisher in the William Randolph Hearst College Journalism Awards. Reach her at scaiola@sacbee.com or 916-321-1636. Twitter: @SammyCaiola.

 

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