Les Jensen is currently recovering from a rare autoimmune disease in the Kelowna General Hospital. (Gail Jensen submitted photo)

Les Jensen is currently recovering from a rare autoimmune disease in the Kelowna General Hospital. (Gail Jensen submitted photo)

Family seeks assistance for former Haida Gwaii resident struck with rare disease

Les Jensen is recovering after being struck with rare autoimmune disease

Family members are seeking help for a longtime Masset resident after he was struck by a rare disease.

Les Jensen spent a decade and a half in Masset, working a number of jobs and getting to know many people in the community. He was a charter fisherman, operated a commercial crab boat, ran the Isolated Auto Sales car lot, worked for B.C. Hydro, and even performed duties as coroner for Haida Gwaii.

Recently though, Jensen has been afflicted with myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s muscles. The disease strikes the entire body, ranging from face and head muscles to those in the torso and limbs. As a result it affects most bodily functions, including breathing, swallowing and speaking.

Jensen is currently in the acute stroke and UBC clinical teaching ward at the Kelowna General Hospital. His wife, Gail, says her husband has lost more than 30 lbs. and spent time on a ventilator and feeding tube. There is no known cure for the disease, however Gail says there have been encouraging signs from Les lately, such as the ability to go on short walks, regaining of some eyesight and speech, and being able to feed himself.

Gail stresses though that the recovery process is extremely slow, and being such a rare disease, expensive. Her son Tony has therefore started a GoFundMe account to attempt to assist with some of the costs. It can be found by searching for Les Jensen. The family says that any assistance to help in Les’ recovery would be extremely appreciated.

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Alex Kurial | Journalist
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