Kevin stepped into his next adventure the afternoon of May 4th, 2017, at his home in Vadnais Heights. Family and friends surrounded him with great love and deep appreciation for what he meant to each of us in our lives.
I’ve known Kevin for over 30 years. I’d say we were very close. The telling story of his life is kind of two-fold. Firstly who he was, how he lived and how he loved. And secondly his willingness to attack ALS and how he died.
When diagnosed with 18 to 30 months to live, Kevin took a holistic approach to the disease and it has been 83 months since that diagnosis. Those of us who know and love Kevin his recent decision and are honored to have been a part of his life.
If you want to know a little bit about Kevin and a lot about his approach to ALS and living healthy, then please buy his book. It’s inexpensive, it’s readable (very), and there’s a wealth of information for anyone who wants to live a healthier life. It can be especially meaningful for anyone suffering from illness. You can get it on Amazon. It’s titled: A Seeker’s Harvest, written by Kevin Pollari and Heidi Schauer. It is Heidi’s first book.
Kevin lived very fully. Passion with a dose of discipline was one way he approached life. He was generous and helpful to many, making marked differences in more than a few lives.
Kevin died on his own terms and felt blessed to have time with friends and loved ones these last few days – for healing, closure and sharing of strength. His message to us was to live fearlessly, love greatly, and know that unconditional love is the only true love.
He will be remembered, talked about, and enjoyed for a very long time.
Thank you for our times Kevin. God speed. Say hi to John and Shane and the others you know that I know, when you get there.
– brother Phil
This site will remain in place until that time.
Ever think “That won’t happen to me?” At 48-years-old, a craftsman and father of two sons, that’s exactly what I was thinking: ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – won’t happen to me. But it did happen to me. After losing my own father, a sister and a second cousin to ALS, July 7, 2010, I became the fourth family member officially diagnosed. I was given 18-30 months to live.
Well, it’s been 67 months since diagnosis. That, to me, is cause for celebration. At the age of 52, with a lung capacity of 35% and a very slow ALS progression, June 21, 2014, I gathered with family and friends and we celebrated. We celebrated LIFE. That’s what my story is about. Life. And my life is not about dying from ALS. After all, we all die sometime, right? It’s inevitable. God has a bigger plan. My plan while I’m here on this earth, is to have an impact, raise awareness, and do what I can to discover treatments to find the cause of each symptom for this whole body disease. My life is about encouraging progress and igniting hope.
In general I believe in the power of a positive attitude, but I can tell you firsthand battling ALS takes more than a positive attitude. I am forever grateful for the love and support I have received from others.
In 2009, despite thinking I may never find my soulmate, I met Leslie Hitchcock. From our first meeting in White Bear Lake, I knew I loved this woman. Imagine thinking you may never find true love, and then you find it, only to be diagnosed six months later with ALS, which you are told is terminal with no hope. What would you do? Or if the man you love has been diagnosed–how would you cope?
Leslie became a full-time caregiver playing a vital role in this chapter of my life providing unconditional support, compassion, empathy and service. And unconditional love. Surrounding myself with people who give an abundance of love – a care team of crusaders – has made a great difference in how I am doing.
So what exactly does one do after being diagnosed with ALS? I immediately began researching this disease and what is being done to find a cure. I watched a lot of Youtube videos and read a lot of books. One book was “Eric is Winning”, a story about an ALS patient who has lived more than 17 years. This book in particular focuses on reducing the toxic load that is coming into your body along with ridding it of the toxins already accumulated. Eric is Winning confirmed my health belief that unnatural substances in the body open the door to viruses and bacteria overgrowth, and that some substances overstimulate and alter DNA. Eric is Winning fueled my passion to put a bigger emphasis on ridding my body of toxins and paying even closer attention to what I am putting into it. In the past year especially, I have learned a lot about my body and what I should and should not be consuming.
In addition to research, my friend Phil and I set up this website, Kevin’s Crusade. This website and my personal Facebook page, as well as the Kevin’s Crusade Facebook page in the last year, have been the communication tools to keep family and friends informed about what is new with my progression.
Since diagnosis I have also traveled to places on my bucket list. And some places not on my bucket list. Arizona for stem cell treatment was not on my original bucket list, but I was SO HAPPY to get there last fall. Like the benefit held in 2010, the generosity, love and support from family, friends and strangers, that made that stem cell treatment possible was overwhelming. I have said it a hundred times, and I will say it again: It takes a village. More than one man or one woman, it takes a village to heal someone who is sick; it takes a village to MANIFEST A MIRACLE. Without help from others stem cell treatment would not have been possible.
I have outlived my life expectancy, my retirement fund, and my doctor’s expectations working toward a miracle: a cure for ALS. This has become my life mission. Currently in the process of co-writing a book about my journey with ALS and what I have done to slow my progression, I continue to live my research and, with the love and help from others, conquer obstacles. Yes, my ALS is progressing, slowly. I continue to dream that I will be around to take advantage of gene therapy as it evolves and becomes available for ALS patients.
Every act of kindness, no matter how small you may feel it is, plays a part in having a HUGE impact. For those who have shared their time, talent and love; financially invested in my future and/or attempts to find a cure for ALS; and have made efforts to raise awareness about this disease – THANK YOU. I hope you continue to actively play a role in my life story as one of Kevin’s Crusaders.
You can honor the strength and character of Kevin by donating to ALS charities and by taking to heart what he learned on his path and shares in his book.