All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for January 2004

Kay Williamson had help when she had trouble breathing Dec. 29

Jan 21, 2004
Linda Seida
PacketOnline News

Kay Williamson certainly had enough worries without adding the weight of another to her shoulders during the recent holiday season.

The 59-year-old woman has two children serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. She usually does not know where in the world her elder son, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shawn Williamson, stationed out of Hunter Air Force Base in Georgia, has been sent by military intelligence. Her younger son serves in the Army National Guard and is stationed in New Jersey.

In addition, she suffers from multiple sclerosis and has survived one battle with cancer. She was battling cancer a second time when she began to have trouble breathing Dec. 29, so much so she couldn't make it to a visiting friend's car parked just outside her Church Street home.

With the aid of a passing UPS driver, who jumped out of his truck to help, Mrs. Williamson made it to the vehicle. Her friend then drove her to Hunterdon Medical Center in Raritan Township where she underwent surgery that night.

"I am convinced if she (the friend) had not gotten her to the hospital, we would have lost her," said another of Mrs. Williamson's friends, LuAnn Atwood of Hancock Street. "She was in bad shape. She was in intensive care for five or six days."

Mrs. Williamson remained in the hospital for two weeks before being transferred last week to the Princeton Care Center in Princeton. Her friends started a phone chain to relay news of her health to each other, and her sons came home to see her.

Through it all, Mrs. Williamson worried about how to thank the UPS driver, a man who jumped in to help a stranger and left just as quickly, an anonymous good Samaritan.

Not only has she worried about the truck driver, but Mrs. Williamson also worried about the people she routinely visits several times a week at Buckingham Valley Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Pineville, Pa. She made new friends there when she began driving her neighbor, Mary Holcombe, to visit her husband, Ed, at the center.

"Rather than just sitting and waiting for Mary, Kay began to go around and visit with many of the residents of Buckingham Valley, helping them with little chores, etc.," said Sue Kramer of Lambertville, a writer for The Beacon, whose mother-in-law is a resident of the center. "Even after Mary's husband died, Kay continued visiting Buckingham Valley several times a week."

Ms. Kramer said, "She's out of intensive care and on the mend, but through it all, her concerns have not been for herself, but how to thank that anonymous UPS man and the welfare of her elderly friends at Buckingham Valley who will wonder why she isn't visiting them anymore."

Mrs. Williamson always has worried over and taken care of others, at least since the day Ms. Atwood met her almost three decades ago.

"She helps people any way she can," Ms. Atwood said. "She's just a good person. You don't find people like that anymore."

The same holds true for the UPS driver, according to Ms. Atwood.

"There's just a whole lot of people who would have looked the other way" instead of stopping to help a stranger, she said.

"I just think he should he acknowledged," she said. "He didn't have to do that."

On behalf of Mrs. Williamson, The Beacon found the truck driver, Mark Lynnes, and extended her thanks through a UPS spokeswoman. He wouldn't talk to a reporter.

In fact, at the thought of doing so, he "got very panicky," the spokeswoman said.

But now Ms. Atwood can relay the news to her friend and perhaps ease that particular worry.

The two women have been close ever since they lived in adjoining apartments. They hadn't met yet when, one day, the misbehavior of Ms. Atwood's 3-year-old son helped cement their friendship.

"She must have heard me hollering, yelling at my son," Ms. Atwood said. "She knocked on the door and asked if I had any coffee."

She was astonished someone who obviously could hear what a bad moment it was would interrupt to borrow coffee.

"No, no, I don't want to borrow coffee," Ms. Atwood recalled Mrs. Williamson saying. "I want to have a cup of coffee. It sounds like you could use a friend."

The two women have remained friends since that day 28 years ago.

Mrs. Williamson often checks on the elderly in her neighborhood, according to Ms. Atwood. She's also been known to house- and pet-watch, everything from dogs to iguanas.

"She doesn't want money for it. That's the way it's supposed to be," Ms. Atwood said, describing her friend's philosophy.

Mrs. Williamson would be cheered by cards and letters, according to Ms. Atwood. They may be sent in care of the Princeton Care Center, 728 Bunn Drive, Princeton, 08540.

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