Flesh eating bacteria nearly kills former KREM 2 employee

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on November 5, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 6 at 7:28 PM

Former KREM 2 News anchor Dawn Picken is helping her husband recover from a rare flesh eating bacteria, her husband, Sean Stanelun is also a former KREM 2 photojournalist.

There was a benefit Friday night at the Spokane Masonic Center, raising money for the family and honoring their month long battle against Sean's illness.

Nearly 10-years-ago, Dawn Picken and Sean Stanelun pledged to love, honor and cherish each other, in sickness and in health. Nearly two months ago, that wedding vow got put to the test.

"It's like going to hell and coming back. You never think when you get married and say for better or worse that it's going to be this bad," says Dawn Picken of her husbands illness.

Sean, at only 48-years-old was rushed to the hospital, his kidneys were failing, and he was slipping into a coma. Family rused to his side, not sure if he would be able to fight the flesh eating bacteria overtaking his body. They didn't know how he got it, only that he might not beat it.

Dawn learned what it meant to stand by in sickness, she waited for any word about Sean, as bad news piled up; he had flesh eating bacteria, and kidney failure.

He was put on dialysis, and had a major mass on his pancreas. Dawn's life became hospitals and doctors. As a former journalist, she compiled pages of notes but had very few answers.

Sean slowly started to show signs of recovery, and after seven weeks in the hospital he is now in a transitional health facility in North Idaho. Too sick for rehabilitation but well enough to leave the hospital, and far too weak and sick to go home.

"It's torturous being away from my family," said Sean. He keeps pictures of his two kids, Fiona and Finley, close by. Constant reminders of the life he has outside a hospital room.

"Seeing my kids gives me strength, when those kids wrap their fingers aroud my hand, I'm not leaving them, I'm going to keep fighting," Sean said.

Dawn says she has plans for Sean, like growing old and one day having grandchildren. Sean says he's not going to let her down.

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