So you’re probably wondering; who is Ferris? Ferris is a pseudonym I came up with for the target of this hubbub. There are a number of reasons why I used Ferris, but any name would have done.
Ferris COULD have been any of us. Ferris has a wife and four children, and for the largest portion of his life he worked in the aircraft industry in Wichita, Kansas. For those that know a little bit about Wichita, that should send a small chill up your spine – Ferris was one of the many that got laid off. This happened to a lot of people, and a good number of those people are springing back, entering other manufacturing or labor fields. It’s what happened next that separates Ferris from the rest of the group.
Even with a physical job, Ferris has always been overweight. As happens with many who are overweight, he developed diabetes. This is not uncommon, many people have diabetes.
Diabetes lowers the immune system, leaving the person susceptible to infections. Ferris contracted a staph infection; and then a second one. He ended up in the hospital – the infection required aggressive treatment. If that weren’t enough, while in the hospital, things took an even worse turn – his kidneys shut down.
Healing was a slow process, leading to a long hospital stay. Between the infection and the treatment, he lost large amounts of weight, including muscle mass. Skin grafts were used to repair the damage from the staph infection, and he then had to go through physical therapy to rebuild enough muscle mass to be able to walk.
It took a while with a walker, then with a cane, but most of his mobility returned. However, he was no longer allowed to do physical labor, and was put on disability.
On the day of my wedding, tragedy struck again. After the ceremony Ferris stopped me to say he wasn’t feeling well and was headed to the emergency room. That was April 29th, 2012.
He had contracted another staph infection, this time requiring multiple surgeries to get the infection under control, and more skin grafts to repair the tissue damage. Finally on September 11th, 2012, Ferris was allowed to go home.
Ferris now has a serious problem. Some people can live their life on disability and welfare, but Ferris needs structure in his life, purpose and a set of achievable goals. His wife, friends, and family are starting to see the same thing – without a purpose, Ferris is slowly sliding further and further into depression.
Ferris does have a set of raw talents that can be usable if refined. Ferris is amazing storyteller. He has created intricate tales as a game master, keeping his players on the edge of their seats for decades. (I used to be one of those players ) He also has a deep interest in art and graphic design. Even in its raw form, he’s quite good. Throw in a love of games, and you have a greatly specialized skill set.
Game Development is the perfect vocation for this skill set. It utilizes creativity, graphic arts, and storytelling. There is also a demand for games. This is where I, a game developer by trade, and you, a potential donor to the cause, come in with the Save Ferris Project Kickstarter.
Since it has been asked, why did I choose the pseudonym Ferris for my friend? First, there’s the whole “Save Ferris” bit from the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – I think it’s funny, and catchy; making it very marketable to a Kickstarter.
Second, a lot was said about Ferris Bueller’s health condition in the movie – it starts out with the character calling in sick with the flu, and by the mid-point of the movie, rumor is; he needs new kidneys! This happened to the real life Ferris as well – I had visited him during his first hospital stay, discussed his status with his wife two days later, and generally kept in frequent communication with both of them. Over the weekend, another mutual friend was stating in public that Ferris was in the hospital – dying. (Rumor also was he had a flesh-eating bacteria. Flesh-eating bacteria that was in the news is Group A Streptococcus – Strep – and what Ferris had was a Staph infection – Staphylococcus. It would be easy to confuse the two.) This conflicted with the reality of his improvement. There was no diminishing the fact Ferris was in a life threatening situation, but he was already recovering when I heard that third-hand report.
Third, our Ferris has two non-functional kidneys now (and next year may be put on the transplant list). In the movie, there is this exchange:
Shermerite: [a student is walking around with a can collecting money] Save Ferris? Save Ferris?
[Solicits Jeannie, Bueller's sister]
Shermerite: Save Ferris?
Jeannie: Excuse me?
Shermerite: Well, a group of us are collecting money to buy Ferris Bueller a new kidney. They run about 50 g’s, so if you wouldn’t mind helping out…
(Quote from IMDB entry for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
Finally, well… it’s just a really good movie!
Who Is Ferris To Me?
Ferris and I have been friends for about 20 years. At one point, I lived with him and his wife. They had a nice house with an extra bedroom – I can think of at least 5 people that ended up living with Ferris and Sloane – they have always been generous people. He was also one of the groomsmen in my wedding. We often refer to each other as “brother”. I don’t have a biological brother, and somewhere along the way, he became mine.