Community taking care of one of its own |

Community taking care of one of its own

The Hayden community is coming together to help Tim Ingalls, who does not have health insurance and needs open-heart surgery. Pictured are Tim Ingalls and his mother, Pat, at their Hayden home.
Matt Stensland

— Community members in Hayden are coming together to help a family in need.

Hayden resident Tim Ingalls needs open-heart surgery, but he does not have health insurance and is unable to work because of his condition. Two fundraisers are being held in Hayden on Aug. 26 to raise money for Ingalls and his family. An account has been set up at First National Bank of the Rockies to collect monetary donations.

Ingalls has been a plumber for nearly 30 years and has been self-employed for the past seven years. Because he has Type I diabetes and was born with a heart murmur, he has been without health insurance.

Medical bills are expected to add up to at least $150,000. It cost $18,000 just for the helicopter ride from Steamboat Springs to Denver’s University Hospital after he became ill June 16. Ingalls drove home from work that day, pulled into the garage and passed out at the wheel. Ingalls’ mother, Pat, has been living with him during summers and found him in the garage. Doctors said an infection from his mouth had spread to his already weakened heart.

“It’s kind of corny to say I’m just glad to be alive, but that’s how I feel,” Tim Ingalls said Tuesday at his home on Washington Avenue.

The doctors pulled all 22 of his teeth to help get rid of the infection.

“They’re trying to get me healthy enough for surgery,” he said.

He has to wear a fanny pack that holds a pump that drives penicillin through a tube directly into his heart.

“It’s like a ball and chain,” Ingalls said.

Ingalls is an avid fisherman, and despite gaining some strength back, he has not been able to make it onto the Yampa River as much as he would like.

“We’ve had better summers, but this too shall pass,” Pat Ingalls said.

Being sick also has kept Tim from working.

“He’s not used to being idle, and it’s difficult for him not to be able to work,” said his mom, who said she is helping as much as she can with her retirement teaching income.

People in the community have donated groceries and money in addition to prayers. Paying the mortgage and utilities will be tough, Pat Ingalls said.

“Those are really the biggest concerns right now,” she said.

On Friday, Tim Ingalls will be tested to determine whether he is ready to have surgery to replace his aortic heart valve.

“I need to know whether I’m going to get the surgery or not,” Ingalls said. “I just need to be able to plan my life.”

Pat Ingalls said they have grown closer to the community since her son got sick.

“The church has been great, and the people of Hayden have been really nice in helping out,” she said. “This is an awesome community.”

Two fundraisers are being held Aug. 26. There will be a barbecue with a $20 suggested donation from 3 to 6 p.m. and a bake sale and rummage sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both events are being held at the Hayden Congregational Church.

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