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Got the virus blues? Here's cause for hope

We could all use a little pick-me-up right about now, with schools, libraries, bars and restaurants shutting down and widespread uncertainty about how long the coronavirus will hold us hostage. Mark DeGroft’s incredible story of perseverance and recovery, and the help of the local musical community, is just what the doctor ordered.

DeGroft, who managed Cripple Creek Music, was stricken suddenly with a sepsis and a rare clotting disease. The combination of the two nearly took his life. It did take all four of his extremities and parts of his face.

Thanks to the work of medical specialists here and at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, DeGroft survived, against seemingly insurmountable odds.

With the help of a huge benefit concert and auction staged by his fellow musicians and a gofundme campaign online, DeGroft and his wife, Cindy, were able to keep their house, buy a wheelchair-accessible van and pay for state-of-the-art prostheses to replace his hands and feet, as well as a silicone nose. A year and a half later, he is home and, incredibly as it may seem, playing music again.

That’s the kind of outcome we can all applaud.

Much credit goes to the musicians, friends, family and community members who helped out in many ways and contributed to the fundraisers. But most of all, it speaks to the tenacity, spirit and positive outlook of Mark DeGroft.

Mark notes that, among victims of DCI, the clotting disorder he suffered, half commit suicide, but “I never wanted that out.”

Cindy, familiar to many valley residents as longtime host of the Folk Show on Jefferson Public Radio, says Mark’s recovery is an inspiration to many. Count us among them.

“He was stripped down to bare bones and had to rebuild himself,” she says.

“I’m still here,” Mark says. “Just missing a few parts.”

But the one he’s not missing — the heart that got him through — is the most important part of all.