We will all be there sooner or later: someone we love will become sick, their lives will be hanging, not by a thread, but by far too many tubes, monitors, catheters, whirring machines, monitors, and electrodes pasted all over their bodies. It might be a close family member, or it might be, as it was for me, an old friend who, though far from my daily life, remains close to my heart.

There are a few people like this: we live apart, in different states, in different countries, yet it doesn't matter if we can't see each other, a friend is a friend is a friend. Forever. Ken is a friend. One who never liked hugging or effusive behavior. Who would look at you quizzically, if you told him that you would miss him over Winter break and say: "Really?" forcing you to admit that yes, it was just a figure of speech. You were going home, your were rejoining your high school sweetheart, of course you weren't literally going to miss him. But the truth is, I do miss you Ken, really, I do. 

No one else could make me laugh with a story which should make anyone cry. When Ken got sick I needed to DO something, to MAKE something. This is what I did.

Step 1: The idea

After hearing about how Ken's long brain surgery was followed, after a few hours of calm, by a stroke and a heart attack, I did what I often do to calm down: I walked my dog. Staring across the east river at the city lights I thought, not just of Ken, but of all his friends, all around the world, who were thinking of him, and hoping for him, and wishing they had a fraction of his talent for expressing their thoughts. Did I mention he's a brilliant writer? I'm not British, so when I say brilliant I actually mean brilliant, exceptional, amazing. I don't mean OK, pretty cool.

That's when my brilliant (yes, brilliant) idea struck me: forget words! I would take a picture, I would show Ken where I was when I was thinking of him. I would also ask all his friends, all over the world, to do the same. Then I would make a book with all our pictures to send to him. Then I would sell the book, and give the profits directly to him.

Though he had never said a word about it, I could figure out the math. Primary bread winner gets sick. Spouse must take care of two young children and husband, so can't work either. Income = minus, expenses = plus. This is a common math formula when illness strikes.

I hope, in my darkest of hours, that I'll have a friend as amazing as you are. I'm sending this link to every social networking and friend I can find, encouraging them to support you and your cause.
I know you do, and that you most certainly have even better friends -- because, to be honest, there was quite a bit of selfishness involved in the creation of this book. Of course I did it for Ken, but most of all I did it for myself: it was my way of coping with my grief (which again was partly selfish too -- like Ken, I have two young boys so part of my anguish for him came from picturing my boys in his situation). This was also my way of coping with the fear that Ken's wonderful voice would disappear. Kind of like refusing to take an umbrella so that it won't rain -- I planned this book to give him as a welcome home gift back when we didn't know if he was going to make it. Superstition like this is of course absurd, but these little rituals do bring a sense of control -- imagined of course, but consoling nonetheless. And it worked! Ken is home now, slowly and painfully re-learning to do all the small things we take for granted.<br>Thank you for forwarding this to your friends. The hardest thing when someone you love gets sick is the feeling of helplessness, and putting together a book like this really really helps. Not just the sick friend, but the whole community of people who care.
sounds like doing a colloush of photos in memory of a loved one ust passed. Very healing
Very sweet.
i loved the puddle image and description...
It's written by <a href="http://www.julie-cohen.com/">Julie Cohen</a>, my freshman year room-mate from Maine who ran off to England to become a romance novel writer. She also teaches seminars on how to write sex scenes....
&quot;There are a few people like this: we live apart, in different states, in different countries, yet it doesn't matter if we can't see each other, a friend is a friend is a friend&quot;<br><br>Oh but your wrong, I think theres many people who do the long distance friendship thing. I count myself among Those :). <br><br>Arent They just Great :)? But it always worries me-what if *something* happens and Im not there? Im always a phone call away from most, but they seem to dislike the phone (except for emergencies :/ ) <br><br>I tend to think we are closer to long distance friends than physical ones. :)
That's kind of what I meant: even though we live far away and almost never see each other we are still friends -- but you're absolutely right that in a way it is easier for friends to drift apart when they are geographically close. There's no excuse for the lack of contact. I'm not going to call my Upper East Side friends just because I happen to be in Manhattan, but I wouldn't think of traveling to a distant place without looking up old friends who live in that region... So as a result I have some dear friends just 30 minutes away whom I never see or talk to!
You can set up a non-profit medical saving account for him or anyone else facing critical medical bills. Go to www.ntaf.org<br> <br>This non-profit will set up a tax deductible account were donors get tax deductions and the account holder gets tax free money.<br><br>dwc<br>
That's an excellent idea and something I hadn't heard of -- but the website you gave, for the National Theological Accrediting Foundation, seems, as far as I can tell, to deal solely with schools and education, not medical savings accounts. Maybe there's more to the organization which isn't on their website... I didn't contact them, I only checked out the link you gave. <br>Thanks for the idea though, it's an excellent one, and if I find a link to the page which deals with medical savings accounts I'll update this instructable.
OOPs. They changed their web address. it is www.ntafund.org<br>It stands for National Transplant Assistance Fund but they do help people set up other medical accounts.<br><br>Good luck!!
This is a wonderful idea. I found it truly touching and I hope Ken's family did too.
Wow! You and the other contributors really stepped up with the fine writing and lovely pictures, in this ible and the book itself. Ken must have inspired everyone to do their best; you were lucky to have such a friend, and he was lucky to have all of you in his life. Thank you for posting this.
I agree -- it's the fact that everybody came together, each in their own way, which made this project successful.
Nicely done sir. Thank you.
I feel your feelings from my heart. <br>But also your courage make me feel better. <br>Thank you for being like this. <br>Thank you to be there for your friend and his family. <br> <br>
This really moved me. Its one of the best Instructables i&acute;ve read. I even wept a bit on my keyboard. hope it survives. good job
This is a beautiful idea and concept, I love it.<br> <br> <br> <em>When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. - Japanese Proverb</em><br> <br> Biggsy<br>
I am so moved by this. The whole human story and your idea to capture it is very creative and thoughtful. I do hope you make some money. If not, the book will be a beautiful and poingent keepsake, for the family, of your, and others kindness.
Thanks -- I did hesitate quite a bit before posting this, but in the end I decided it might help Ken some more (especially if I win one of the prizes for him) and it could be useful for others in similar situations. It really was nice for old friends to come together like this on the pages of a book...
Beautiful.<br><br>Every honest effort to help--changes everything.<br><br>Often in ways unexpected.
A very eloquent and resourceful solution to a particularly knotty problem. An excellent demonstration of the power and ubiquity of modern communication technology.<br><br>It gets my vote.

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Bio: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I ... More »
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