Sunday, January 19, 2003

Obituary: Chris Goettsch

Despite severe allergies, he loved school and his teachers

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mr. Goettsch

FORT WRIGHT - Chris Goettsch was only 3 pounds, 13 ounces at birth 27 years ago. Other than a defect in his right eye, he seemed fine.

But he suffered allergies so severe that his development was irrevocably hindered. Although a doctor eventually discovered and treated his problems, it was too late for him to lead a life of normal development. But he did learn to walk, ride a special bike and play on a computer.

He was a favorite at the Redwood Rehabilitation Center in Fort Mitchell, where he was one of the best-dressed students.

Christopher John Goettsch died Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was making his annual trip to see Dr. Kenneth Krischer, the specialist who had diagnosed and treated his condition, to have his allergy medication adjusted.

While at the doctor's office, Mr. Goettsch was rushed to an emergency room where his body simply shut down after a lifetime of fighting allergies. It all started when he was six months old, when the seemingly healthy infant stopped gaining weight. Although he was hospitalized, nothing the doctors did for him could make him grow.

His medical records were sent to doctors around the world who, one by one, responded that they had never seen a person with similar symptoms.

One day his mother, Dorothy, saw a child on a TV talk show who had a condition similar to her son's. After that child was treated for severe allergies, he was able to talk and lead a normal life.

Mrs. Goettsch contacted the doctor on the program who referred her son to Dr. Krischer. Within a few weeks of his first visit, Mr. Goettsch improved.

Mr. Goettsch, who could not talk or feed himself, loved school, and his teachers and caregivers loved him in return. Redwood will soon begin a campaign for building expansion and plans to name the adult activity center for him.

Survivors include his parents, Dorothy A. and Charles R. Goettsch; and a sister, Christina A. Sheldon of Green Township.

Visitation is 1-4 p.m. today at Connley Brothers Funeral Home, 11 E. Southern Ave., Covington. Mass of Christian burial is 9:30 a.m. Monday at St. Xavier Church, 607 Sycamore St., downtown. Burial is at St. Mary's Cemetery in Fort Mitchell.

Memorials: Redwood Rehabilitation Center, 71 Orphanage Road, Fort Mitchell, KY 41017.


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