Ray Thompson


Approximately 4 years ago Ray Thompson started to discover difficulties with his heart.  At that time he was treated and diagnosed with heart disease.  His heart was enlarged and was not able to adequately pump blood in/out.  During this discovery, he suffered a stroke, and was surgically outfitted with a defibrillator and pacemaker to keep his heart operating should there be an emergency.

On September 4, 2012, Ray was admitted to the hospital after not feeling well.  His heart had become exhausted and was in need of repair.  The doctors determined that Ray’s heart was no longer able to function on its own, and he would need surgery for a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) to essentially perform many of the hearts functions mechanically.  While Ray was in for surgery, it was discovered that Ray’s heart had increased to the size of a basketball and was in very bad shape.  In addition to the planned LVAD, a Right Ventricular Assist Device (RVAD) was also needed.  A heart transplant determination had been made as the long-term need.  

Following surgery for the LVAD and RVAD, Ray embarked on a very tough road to recovery.  He had suffered multiple infections and required heavy sedation and doses of medications to help his system fight to recover.  Through much prayer, and by the grace of God, Ray was able to fight off the infections and recover strong.  But, this is only half the battle…

Ray is still in need of a heart transplant and has a long road ahead to reach the ultimate recovery.  His, and his family’s, life has been altered and requires many daily changes to the normal routine.  As with a major health treatment such as this, the medical costs are escalating and expected to continue with many treatments ahead, and the cost for an eventual heart transplant.  In addition to the burden of healthcare costs, there are daily living cost adjustments with Ray’s limitations to work and provide for his family.

This benefit is being organized to help take alleviate the financial burden for Ray and his family…and help get back to normal.  


“All in for Wesleyan,” a Historic Day of Giving

On July 17, over 2,500 alumni and friends made gifts to IWU totaling over $450,000. Unless otherwise specified by donors, all the money raised went to student scholarships and financial aid.  The “All in for Wesleyan” challenge began when Illinois Wesleyan Trustee John Horton ’82 and his wife, Joann, offered a gift of $100,000 if alumni and friends could raise $50,000 in one day.  When that challenge was met, several more challenges followed — and each was fulfilled.  Howard ’60 and Sharon ’60 Fricke offered a $10,000 gift if 600 donors participated.  Ed ’62 and Lin Phelps then offered $25,000 for 1,000 total donors.  Korey ’00 and Heidi Coon offered a $15,000 challenge for 1,200 donors.  Dr. Mike Sombeck ’83 offered $25,000 if we could reach 1,500.  Finally, at the end of the day, Dr. Randy ’73 & Jodie Reed offered $25,000 and Ed ’62 & Lin Phelps added $10,000 more to match every new gift, dollar for dollar…up to a total of $35,000 in gifts before midnight.

It was an exciting day to be a Titan.  The challenge became about so much more than numbers and dollars and donors.  It provided our alumni and friends with a chance to share their pride and explain how much IWU means to them.  If you weren’t following these conversations on social media, you can click here to read them now.  THANK YOU to all of our loyal alumni and friends who made July 17 an incredible day for our school and our students.

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