Mark Nagasawa’s life changed dramatically on September 12, 2017. After a day of flu-like symptoms, Mark’s wife, Kat, found him confused and disoriented in their living room. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors diagnosed a heart attack and a PCA ischemic stroke. Following the first stroke, Mark had two more, which left both his speech and his vision on the left side impaired.
Mark was the education manager at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) where his wife, Kat, also serves as director of operations and governance. The association community was quick to circle the wagons around their colleagues in a time of need. Just 13 days after Sherry Budziak, CEO and co-founder of .orgSource and .orgCommunity, posted Mark’s story on gofundme.com, $14,135 was raised from 104 friends, co-workers and caring colleagues. The many messages of support on Mark’s gofundme site are a heart-warming example of the bond that forms among people who work in the association family.
Following his hospital stay, Mark was transferred to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for rehabilitation therapy. He is now able to have visitors and makes daily progress. But, there are months, and perhaps even years, ahead until recovery. Kat’s mantra for herself and Mark is “to conquer a really big mountain, you focus on each step and not on how high you must climb.”
One of the great rewards of working in the non-profit sector is its emphasis on people and mission. Friends from many different associations have given the Nagasawas a boost up their mountain. People who had never met the family demonstrated this group’s huge heart and willingness to support one of their own. Megan Schagrin, executive director of SAEM, also played a leading role in making Mark’s fundraiser a success. The goal is to raise $25,000 to help with the ongoing expenses associated with Mark’s recovery, such as finding a new home that is ADA compliant and purchasing a car that can accommodate his wheelchair. Visit this link to help the Nagasawas on their journey to the summit.