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  • Living Love: One Woman’s Story of Surviving Carbon Monoxide


    ©Christy Lynch Designs 2013

    Anne Restino learned about LOK while searching for resources related to chronic carbon monoxide exposure. Anne works from her Cape Code home that she shares with her retired racing greyhound Kelsey.

    Between late November 2013 and March 2014 Anne and her dog experienced unexplained and persistent ailments until Anne’s father wisely advised her to tell a neurologist that both her dog and she were ill. The doctor recommended that she check her home environment for toxins and blood for Tick Borne Diseases. Two days later, on March 20th, a gas company inspector confirmed that carbon monoxide was leaking from her gas fireplace.

    When she shares her experience with others, Anne is often asked if she had carbon monoxide detectors in her home. Massachusetts enacted Nicole’s Law in 2006, requiring CO detectors, and Anne’s home was no exception to the rule. Anne shared, “Until recently, I lived with a false sense of security and was not informed about how CO detectors work and when they need to be replaced. I knew to change batteries annually but didn’t realize CO sensors wear out. My six-year-old detectors should have been replaced after five years.”

    Even with CO detectors installed, low levels of CO may go undetected and lead to puzzling and damaging health effects, misdiagnosis, and incorrect treatments. “I awoke in the middle of the night with burning pain in my legs and smelled turpentine in the room. My skin was bright red and too painful to touch,” said Anne, whose symptoms lasted for hours. Her doctor suspected she had an allergic reaction to antibiotics and treated her with prednisone. When it happened again, Anne was seen at the ER and put back on prednisone for her burning skin rash. “I knew something was very wrong as new symptoms developed. I had headaches, trouble breathing, and was always dizzy and sleepy. My eyes and skin burned and lips were numb. I could not focus or remember things,” she added. Anne also noticed changes in her dog. “Kelsey was lethargic and her eyes were red. She panted a lot, vomited, and became lame and painful to touch.”

    Upon discovering the CO leak, Anne asked her electrician to test and replace her hardwired detectors the next day. “My living room detector recorded a CO level of 77 ppm before it stopped working. Detectors are supposed to alarm when CO levels reach 70 ppm, but mine never went off.”

    “I am grateful for my dog waking me up every morning and afternoon after I’d fall asleep on the couch in front of my fireplace. I share our story to honor the memory of Lindsey and her dog, Chillbe, and to support LOK Wishing Tree Foundation’s critical mission.”
    — Anne Restino

    CO detectors need to be replaced every 5-7 years from the date found on the back of each unit. To be on the safe side, why not replace after 5 years? LOK Wishing Tree Foundation has once again partnered with First Alert, a leader in residential fire and CO detection devices. Please educate yourself on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and protect yourself and those you love.

    We are so grateful that Anne is living love and survived a perfect storm of situations that put her at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. We plan to cover Anne’s story in more detail in a future series of articles because her research has yielded information we feel would be beneficial for many to share. To be continued!

    Protect your home and those you love by purchasing and installing a carbon monoxide detector. Click here for a 20% discount coupon from First Alert. We can’t think of a more unique and thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift.


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    Our Partnership with the Lubeznik Center for the Arts

    Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation (LOK) began a partnership with Lubeznik Center for the Arts in 2013 in order to provide opportunities for youth to pursue a wide variety of creative activities that enhance their potential for success.

    Through the support of this partnership, Lubeznik Center focused their instruction and support on youth in Northwest Indiana. Activities included violin and photography lessons, after school dance classes, drawing instruction and a Young Artists Expo on June 6, 2014 that featured the artworks by students of all ages in a professional exhibition space at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

    Thanks to this video shared recently by Angie Carlson of the Lubeznik Center. It shows the incredible transformation made from students at Pine Elementary and Krueger Middle School, both located in Michigan City, Indiana.

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    More CO Awareness Support from Fire Fighters, Municipalities and Legislators

    Partners continue to boost carbon monoxide awareness efforts this season. “We are a small organization, staffed by a few part-time people and lots of volunteers with big hearts”, said Dot Kesling. “We rely heavily on the efforts of local fire departments and municipalities to help us get the word out. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have taken up our cause.”

    The town of Chesterton designated October, 11 2014 “Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day.” We created a template for a resolution you can use to ask your own town to designate its own awareness day. Download it here..

    The LaPorte County Fire Chief’s Association voted to officially endorse the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation’s efforts to promote CO awareness. Chairman Randy Novak stated, “It is our hope that working with LOK Wishing Tree Foundation we can save lives from this deadly killer.” Here’s a link to the letter of endorsement..

    Dot with Laporte familyLocal firefighters have already been credited with saving the lives of at least one family. In October 2013 Alexandra Christner attended a CO Awareness event hosted by the LaPorte Fire Station #1 and received a free CO detector, courtesy of First Alert, a leader in residential fire and CO detection devices. Just months later she and her family were awakened by the detector, which was triggered by a furnace leak. The family had a carbon monoxide alarm for years but it stopped working properly; money was tight and they decided to hold off on buying a new one.  Without her son’s urging to attend the event at the firehouse, the family’s story could have ended quite differently.  Alexandra says,”I absolutely believe everything happens for a reason. I believe my son had a passion for being a firefighter for a reason. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t become a firefighter when he grows up.” Read more about this story here.

    Over 180 gathered in Rolling Prairie yesterday at Kankakee Township Fire Station where they held a  CO awareness and prevention program as part of National Fire Prevention Month and as a re-dedication of their newly renovated fire house. Dot Kesling was one of the keynote speakers. Kesling recognized State Senator Jim Arnold and State Senator Tom Dermody for their strong support of the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation and its mission.  During the last session of the Indiana Legislature, Representative Dermody worked very to successfully amend a bill in the Indiana House that would have mandated home inspectors to note the lack of carbon monoxide detectors during inspections.  Unfortunately, the amendment did not survive when the bill reached the State Senate.  But, through his efforts in working with the Indiana Homebuilders and Indiana Home Inspectors Association, he was able to secure their commitment to include it on home inspections WITHOUT being mandated by law.  Thank you, Representative Dermody.  Your incredible support and efforts have made Indiana homes a much safer place.

    “LOK’s goal is to mandate Lindsey’s Law; CO Alarms required in every dwelling,” says Dot Kesling.
    Live Love, from The LOK Wishing Tree Team!!!

    To learn more about CO awareness events, please visit our Facebook page.

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    Carbon Monoxide Awareness Efforts Continue

    Lindsey O’Brien Kesling was 22 years-old when she died in her Scottsdale apartment from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Scottsdale Fire Department responded to the 911 call in November 2010.

    “Losing a child for any reason breaks a parent’s heart, but losing them to something that could have been prevented makes the loss so much heavier to bear,” said Dot Kesling, Lindsey’s mother. Part of the the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it, particularly in the coming winter months.

    Several organizations are hosting CO awareness event in partnership with the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation, along with First Alert, a leader in residential fire and CO detection devices.

    The event will be held throughout the coming months. First Alert is providing 20% discount coupons on select carbon monoxide detectors at each event. So far, the following fire departments have indicated they will host events:

    • Bloomington Mayor’s Office – Bloomington, Indiana
    • City of Bloomington Fire Department – Bloomington, Indiana
    • Chesterton Fire Department – Chesterton, Indiana
    • Coolspring VFD – Michigan City, Indiana
    • Kankakee Twp. Fire Dept. – Rolling Prairie, Indiana
    • LaPorte County Fire Chiefs Association – LaPorte, Indiana
    • La Porte Fire Department – LaPorte, Indiana
    • Michigan City Fire Department – Michigan City, Indiana
    • Porter Volunteer Firefighters, Inc. – Porter, Indiana
    • Scottsdale Fire Department – Scottsdale, Arizona
    • Turkey Creek Fire Territory – Syracuse, Indiana
    • Clay Fire Territory – South Bend, Indiana
    • Owen Valley Fire Department – Spencer, Indiana
    • Elkhart Fire Department – Elkhart, Indiana
    • San Pierre Volunteer Fire Department – Medaryville, Indiana
    • Griffith Fire Department – Griffith, Indiana
    • Willow Grove Fire Company – Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
    • Baltimore City Fire Department – Baltimore, Maryland
    • Hythe Volunteer Fire Department – Alberta, Canada

    If your organization is interested in hosting an event, learn more here.

    Besides hosting event, there are other ways to get involved:CO Video Still

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    LOK Dream Bird to Appear at Young Artist Expo

    Completed Dream BirdA bird sculpture, created from pieces of reclaimed wood — hand painted, and inscribed with messages of hope and inspiration from dozens of supporters near and far – will be on display during the First Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation Young Artist Expo on Friday, June 6th Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City. The expo will be a family-friendly, multimedia showcase of lively youth visual and performing arts that will include participants from each of the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation’s three partnering arts organizations: the South Shore Dance Alliance, the Lubeznik Center for the Arts and the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington. “Showcasing these kids’ talents—and the fruits of our labors—has been a dream of mine since the beginning,” said LOK Founder, Dot Kesling.

    The expo will coincide with Michigan City’s Uptown Arts First Friday Art Walk; attendees are invited to stop in to see the bird. The expo will feature art created by young creative artists as well as brief performances from young dancers and musicians.

    LCA Logo Rev 72 4x3 WebThe dream bird sculpture was created by artist Laura Marie Panozzo of Earth Angel Eco Art in LaPorte. Panozzo donated her time and the sculpture to help raise funds for the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds creative and performing arts opportunities for young artists. The bird will be sold via an online auction that will conclude on Monday, June 9th The LOK Wishing Tree Foundation was founded in memory of LaPorte native Lindsey O’Brien Kesling, who had a passion for the arts and for helping children. The Foundation continues the positive work Lindsey began prior to her tragic accidental death at just 22 years old.

    Click here for more details about the auction.

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    LOK Dream Bird Auction

    The LOK Dream Bird

    The “Dream Bird” The LOK Dreambird sculpture was created by LaPorte artist Laura Marie Panozzo of Earth Angel Eco Art as a gift to the Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Foundation. The piece was assembled from wooden “feathers” that were hand painted by supporters and assembled by Laura Marie Panozzo.

    The bird is being auctioned as a fund raiser to support arts programming for youth using an online format, following the guidelines described below.

    Dream Bird Auction Guidelines

    The auction will open on May 18th, 2014 and closes promptly at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 9th.  When the auction closes, the last and highest bid will be the winner.

    By bidding, you are stating that you are ready and able to pay for the Dream Bird.  All bids are contracts.  All sales are final.

    Paper bids will be received only on May 18th.  After that time, any and all bidding will be done through e-mail to dreambirdauction@lokwishingtree.org.

    Each bid must contain the following:

    • first and last names of the bidder
    • bid amount in even dollars (in amounts exceeding the previous bid amount by $25 or more)
    • phone number
    • valid e-mail address

    All bids must exceed the previous bid amount by at least $25.

    All bidders will be e-mailed (under blind carbon copy) the current and latest bid amount, when the bid is received.  The latest and current bid will also be listed on the LOK Facebook Page.  This correspondence and information will be limited to the bidder’s first name and current/highest bid amount only.  Correspondence via email and on Facebook will read, “Dear bidders, Kathy just submitted a new bid for the Dream Bird in the amount of $1500.  The bid was received at 5:00 p.m. central.”

    After the winning bid is received, the auction’s manager will personally call the winning bidder on the number provided and arrange for payment over the phone.  The winner will be contacted directly and promptly on  Monday, June 9th at 8:00 p.m.

    Major credit card, cash or personal check will be accepted for payment, and payable to the “LOK Wishing Tree Foundation”.

    After the payment transaction is complete, the winning bidder will verify permission for how his/her name will be listed and shared with all bidders and the public.

    The winning bidder will be announced via press release, Facebook and e-mail on Tuesday, June 10th.

    If the final and winning bidder defaults on their decision to purchase the bird with their winning bid, or if the final bid amount does not exceed the $10 minimum, the next previous bid will be accepted.

    For winning bidders, the amount that is tax deductible is limited to excess payment over the value of the item which is valued at $1500.  Please consult your tax advisor.

    After the payment transaction is complete, the winning bidder and auction manager will arrange for delivery or shipping.

    The Dream Bird will be delivered within a 50 mile radius of La Porte, Indiana.  Arrangements for shipping via the carrier of the bidder’s choice, and at the bidder’s expense may be arranged if the winning bidder wishes the item to be moved farther than the delivery area.


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    Feather Party for the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation Dream Bird

    Feather PartyLaPorte artist Laura Panozzo of Earth Angel Eco Art Studio  is creating a “dream bird” from pieces of reclaimed wood that will become the feathers of a large wood bird sculpture — the dream bird — which she will donate to the Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation and will be auctioned as a fund raiser. Each attendee will have the opportunity to create a feather as well as enjoy delicious seasonal small plates prepared by Chef Brad Hindsley of Spire Farm-to-Fork Restaurant, also of LaPorte.

    Panozzo and Hindsley recently began a collaboration they have named, “Our Common Thread”, their common thread referring to the artistry each applies to their craft. Their initiatives are community-focused — either on educational workshops, public art projects and  fund raising for local causes. Our Common Thread is donating all profits from this event to the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation. Journeyman Distillery is donating their space and will also make their hand-crafted, organic whiskeys available for sampling.

    The LOK Wishing Tree Foundation was founded in memory of LaPorte native Lindsey O’Brien Kesling, who had a passion for the arts and for helping children. The Foundation continues the positive work Lindsey began prior to her tragic accidental death at just 22 years old. The foundation provides funding for arts programming to youth in underserved areas, partnering with local arts organizations such as the South Shore Dance Alliance and the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

    Live musical entertainment provided by Midwest Hype, known for their urban garage jazz sound. Defined by  their hip-hop flow, unforgettable vocal melodies, punching horn lines, immaculate jazz improvisation, dance floor mayhem and tight pocketed compositions, they offer a refreshing youthful breath in today’s digital world

    Tickets are $65 per person and include food from Spire five sample-sized cocktails from Journeyman Distillery and the opportunity to create a Dream Bird feather under the guidance of artist Laura Panozzo. All profits for the evening will be donated to support LOK Wishing Tree Foundation. The event runs from 6:00pm to 9:00pm Saturday, March 22, 2014. Pre-registration requires. Tickets available here.

    For more information, contact Kathy Sipple, at (219) 405-9482 or visit to http://lokwishingtree.org.


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    NWI Give Day is Coming!

    NWIGives is a one-day fundraising event on February 12th, 2014, that will unite all communities in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties to support the nonprofit charitable organizations serving our region. The goal is to inspire local residents to make a gift to their favorite charities, raising thousands of dollars in one day! It’s your chance to make a real impact on people in your own community, and ignite giving across Northwest Indiana as your gift may be matched by generous corporate and foundation sponsors.

    How it Works

    On 2-12-14 you will have the opportunity to go online at nwigives.razoo.com and make contributions to your favorite charitable organizations in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties. It’s easy to make a donation to LOK…simply use the donation screen below or from the Razoo.com website simply enter LOK Wishing Tree into the Find A Cause bar, or click on the link here to get to our giving page. Select the amount you would like to donate on the right hand side of the screen and get started helping a young person achieve their dream! Don’t think you’re going to be around a computer on the 12th? You can go ahead and schedule a donation anytime before February 12th.

    For more information please contact Kathy Sipple at 219-405-9482 or vial email at development@lokwishingtree.org.

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    Cold Outside, But Spirits Were Warm at Bentwood Tavern


    Left to right: Kathy Sipple, LOK Managing Director; Chef Alberto, Chef Jenny Drilon, Christine Ward, LOK Facilitator


    Left to right: Unity Foundation Executive Director, Maggie Spartz; Dianne Carpenter, Judy Jacobi and Elizabeth Bernel.


    Left to right: Janet Bloch, Lubeznik Center for the Arts Education Director; Artist Ashlyn Bowen of LaPorte and Artist Christopher Jackson of Michigan City.



    Young artists share their work with Maggi Spartz from the Unity Foundation.

    Mother Nature and her polar vortex couldn’t keep us down…

    Due to forecasts of  scary  weather, our Give Back dinner at Bentwood Tavern in New Buffalo, Michigan was rescheduled from Tuesday,  Jan. 21st to Wednesday, Jan. 22nd in hopes of offering guests a safer experience. There were over 80 reservations for Tuesday and Brynn Hines from Bentwood contacted every single one to advise them of the new date.

     Wednesday night’s weather wasn’t much better, but nearly 100 LOK Wishing Tree supporters braved fierce cold and slippery roads to gather and celebrate in the warmly festive atmosphere at Bentwood Tavern anyway. Spirits warmed and troubles were forgotten over wonderful conversation and “artisan comfort cuisine” crafted by local icon, Chef Jenny Drilon.Ashlyn Bowen, 11, of LaPorte, and Christopher Jackson, 13, of Michigan City, served as Young Artist Ambassadors for LOK, displaying several pieces of their artwork created through their involvement with LOK arts programming.

    Janet Bloch, Education Director for Lubeznik, was on hand to share in the children’s excitement of sharing their art in public for the first time. Ashlyn participated in Lubeznik’s 2013 summer art program and has been drawing for 3 years or so; Christopher participated in Lubeznik’s new youth photography class, made possible in part by funding from the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation. Jackson has been involved in arts classes of various kinds for 9 years, the majority of his young life.

    Many thanks to Richard Warner of Visual Impressions Photography for commemorating the evening with wonderful photos of the young artists, LOK board members, Bentwood staff and our wonderful dinner guests. Additional photos available here.

    New friendships were forged and old friendships renewed. Young artists’ dreams were supported. Awareness about our mission was increased. The night was truly magical and a great example of “Living Love” in action. Many thanks to all who took part in making the evening such a success.


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    Join LOK at Bentwood Tavern Give Back Dinner on January 21st

    Bentwood LogoWe are pleased to announce that Bentwood Tavern in New Buffalo, Michigan has selected the Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Foundation as the beneficiary of their January 21st Give Back Dinner. LOK was selected as one of only five give back nights that Bentwood offers annually.

    Bentwood Tavern is committed to raising funds and awareness for important community non-profits. To date, over $61,000 has been donated. Fifty percent of all food and beverage revenue for that evening will be donated to support LOK Wishing Tree Foundation.

    Bentwood Tavern features “artisan comfort cuisine” crafted by local icon, Chef Jenny Drilon. Please join us for a wonderful evening of good food with friends.

    Give Back Dinner hours are 5:00pm to 10:00pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

    For reservations call 269-469-1699 or visit www.bentwoodtavern.com.

    Bentwood Tavern
    600 West Water Street
    New Buffalo, MI 49117

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