Kevin Ransom was an accomplished, well-known music journalist and arts writer in the Detroit area for more than 25 years. For the last 18 months, Kevin Ransom has become disabled as a result of two serious medical conditions: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Because of this, Kevin Ransom has been unable to work, with no income and therefore in real danger of losing his home, which was his grandparents’ home for 50 years before he bought it after his grandmother died in 2002.
As he awaits approval from Social Security Disability (an 18-24 month process) and with only about $2000 of his savings left in the bank, Ransom reached out to the community for help, setting up a GoFundMe in July, and within six weeks, about 200 people had donated $15,000 (link to Ransom’s GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/ymy3bw page).
The local music community also rallied around him after learning of his disability when about a dozen of the Detroit area’s best singers, musicians and songwriters pulled together to do a benefit concert for him at The Ark in Ann Arbor. Recently, the rate of donations has slowed, leaving Ransom $10,000 short of his goal of $28,000–the amount he figures he’ll need to keep his home, and keep the heat and lights on, if, as expected, it does take two years for him to be approved.
Despite his current circumstances, Ransom is trying to be optimistic about the future.
“Due to my medical conditions and disabilities, and my financial situation, my quality of life is pretty poor right now,” says Ransom. “And five months ago, I was very discouraged, and didn’t have a lot of hope for the future. But the way the community has responded so far has been uplifting, and I continue to be moved by their support. So right now, I’m trying to live in gratitude.”
In his tenure as a writer, Ransom wrote more than 3000 stories on rock, pop, soul, country, blues, folk, jazz, as well as comedy. He was also a regular contributor to The Detroit News (12 years), the Ann Arbor News (12 years), Guitar Player (eight years), New Country Music, CD Review, Creative Loafing, Rolling Stone and Musician, among others. He interviewed hundreds of the greatest talents in entertainment including Roger Daltrey, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Weir, B.B. King, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Bill Maher, Joan Baez, Levon Helm, Lewis Black, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams, and many more.
More about Kevin Ransom’s conditions:
For about the last 18 months, these conditions have been so severe that he can’t stay awake more for than about three hours at a time before he has to go back to bed and sleep for two or three hours. He figures he is in bed for 14 to 16 hours a day. He’s been to many doctors, but their treatments have not been successful. But he continues to seek out new doctors, hoping to find new treatments, hoping that one will succeed.
The Apnea causes him to stop breathing more than 30 times an hour while he sleeps, and restricts the flow of oxygen to his brain and to his heart. Together, these conditions cause him to suffer from debilitating chronic fatigue, terrible sleep quality, extreme brain fog, and what sleep-apnea doctors describe as Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. (In February, the Institute of Medicine re-classified CFS as a disease, instead of a syndrome.)
He’s also going to need two surgeries soon–hernia repair surgery and knee surgery, after already having three hernia surgeries in 2012-2014. All three of those hernia surgeries failed–the sutures have come loose after each one. So, a fourth one is in the offing. As for his knee, he has severe arthritis that is frequently painful: He cannot walk without a cane, it’s difficult for him to climb stairs, and presently, when he goes grocery shopping, he has to use a motorized cart. After the knee surgery, he’ll need extensive rehabilitation. As a result of all this, he’s understandably also dealing with depression. And due to his financial straits, he can no longer afford a car. When he needs to go grocery shopping, to the doctor, to the pharmacy, etc, he has to find a ride from a friend or neighbor, or take a taxi.