Helios Project Director Felled By Stroke; Linux Community Support Sought

By Caitlyn Martin
June 14, 2011 | Comments: 1

Helios Project logo
Many in the Linux community are familiar with Helios Project and it's outspoken founder Ken Starks. Mr. Starks has been a very visible and tireless advocate for Linux and FOSS. His non-profit Project brings computers and the Internet to children whose families simply cannot afford them in the Austin, Texas area where he lives, effectively bridging the "digital divide". Using Linux enables the Project to use systems that either will not run a current version Windows or would do so very poorly and uses free software to offer a complete solution at no cost to the recipient. The Project also solicits donations to cover the cost of Internet connectivity for recipients of these systems.

One of the people behind the scenes has been Mr. Stark's partner, Diane Franklin, who has served as Logistics and Planning Director for the Helios Project for the past year. Ms. Franklin is retired and has served in this capacity without pay. Her skills allowed the project to better organize and distribute the resources they receive to those who need them.

According to a post in Ken Starks' Blog of Helios, Ms. Franklin suffered a "minor" stroke last week. However, tests revealed that:

that both arteries feeding the brain stem were either partially or almost fully blocked and the decision was made to place stents into those arteries and restore flow to that part of the brain.
Unfortunately, as of now, that necessary surgery is on indefinite hold and, again quoting The Blog of Helios:
Diane is 64 and took Social Security retirement at 62 so she lives on $1200.00 a month. There is a no-man's land of 3-4 years where she is not eligible for Medicare so she's just been hoping for the best...

Ms. Franklin's Social Security income is too high to qualify for Medicaid in Texas as well. The net result is that she cannot afford even basic health insurance and without it the hospital will not perform what may very well be life saving surgery.
So now instead of surgically placing the stents, the plan is to "passively" treat her condition. Blood pressure meds, blood thinners.... The doctor said with any luck, those treatments would relieve the pressure that caused the weakening of the arterial wall. [...] We went from a good surgical solution to luck.
Running a small, specialized non-profit has left Ken Starks with a very low income level as well so he is unable to pay for the care Diane Franklin now needs. Suddenly he has gone from helping underprivileged youth to being in the uncomfortable position of soliciting help for his partner for much needed medical care. His work fo on the Helios Project is on hold as he concentrates his efforts on Ms. Franklin's immediate needs.

Mr. Starks has setup a PayPal account to allow those in the Linux community who would like to contribute to do so. Contributions should be made to dianekfranklin@hotmail.com. For those without a credit/debit card or a PayPal account contributions can be sent to the address found here.

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1 Comment

Thanks, Caitlyn. I know Ken will appreciate it.

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