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Fundraiser set for bass player

Man's health posing challenges

Ken Olsen and his granddaughter, Madison

KEWEENAW COUNTY — A fundraiser for well-known and popular musician and Keweenaw County mail carrier, Ken “KO” Olsen will take place at the Mohawk American Legion Hall on Sat. Oct. 8, 2022 from 3-6 p.m. Longtime and popular accordionist Jim Enrietti and his wife, Teri, will provide entertainment.

Julie Carlson, a close friend of KO and his wife Terri, said 2022 has been rough for the Olsens.

Olsen, known to most as the exceptionally talented bass player for the local musical group Wingnuts, suffered a heart attack in February, said Carlson and more recently has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

According to a GoFundMe fundraiser starte by Carlson earlier this month, KO has been to Mayo, and in October, he and Terri will be staying there for five weeks as he undergoes radiation and chemo. They will come home for a month to heal and return for him to have surgery.

“This will be a LONG road,” the GoFundMe page states.

“This diagnosis has turned their world upside down,” Carlson wrote on the fundraiser page. “Terri may be able to work virtually for some days during this treatment, surgery and recovery, but we don’t know when KO will be able to return to mail delivery. While they are in Rochester, KO’s sister will live in their home, caring for their granddaughter and dog.”

They have insurance and some time built up, said Carlson, but no one can plan for something like this.

KO, who is 55 years old and a resident of Calumet, is a contract carrier for the Postal Service, not a post office employee, so he has to pay someone to do his route when he isn’t there, Carlson said.

“There will be numerous trips to Mayo, copays, hotel, travel and living expenses,” she said. “They may need a more dependable vehicle to make the trips back and forth as they want to come home on weekends to see Madison (their granddaughter).

Carlson said KO and Terri are proud and independent, Carlson said, and were very hesitant about agreeing to a GoFundMe page, “but our generous community can help.”

KO has played in several bands and has performed at numerous fundraisers over the years and Terri has always been there to help.

“Please find it in your heart to help them out now,” Carlson wrote on the fundraising page. “He is fighting for his life, and we can come together to ease the financial burden. Every dollar will help and is greatly appreciated.”

Carlson understands that not everybody is comfortable with the website.

“If GoFundMe isn’t for you,” she wrote, “please feel free to drop off donations at the Keweenaw County Clerk’s Office in Eagle River or Lassila Insurance in Mohawk. We will make sure that every cent gets to them. Also, please remember them in your thoughts and prayers as they begin this roller coaster. KO, Terri and Madison thank you from the bottom of their hearts.”

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