Taking a Personal Break to Address Health Issues
By Mary Yost, Editorial Intern
Kenneth Belkosky was born in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 17, 1966. When he was a young child, Belkosky’s father, brother and he moved to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. There, Belkosky attended elementary, middle and high school. While in high school, one of Belkosky’s greatest accomplishments was receiving the manager of the year award. “I worked on the school’s soccer field because soccer is my favorite sport,” Belkosky said. “Now, my favorite team is the D.C. United!”
After he graduated high school in 1985, Belkosky worked at a pizza parlor for two years before attending the University of Akron. There, Belkosky completed two and a half years of school, where he focused on special education. After dropping out of college, he stayed in Ohio to help take care of his father.
In 2002, Belkosky relocated to D.C., even though he had no plan about what to do once he got here. He became homeless when he arrived in the city and ended up moving into a community residence facility, where he still resides today. Belkosky has bipolar disorder and PTSD, so doctors said he is unfit to live independently. However, Belkosky dreams of living independently and hopes to own his own apartments in five years.
In 2007, Belkosky attended the Convoy of Hope job fair at RFK stadium. Optimistic that he would find work, Belkosky arrived at the fair with copies of his resume ready to distribute. There, he met one of the founders of Street Sense, Laura Thompson Osuri. She suggested that Belkosky should be a vendor and he said, “Laura, I will try anything.” Belkosky has been selling papers since then in Dupont Circle and has a lot of favorite customers. He enjoys the independence Street Sense offers to him and loves being his own boss.
One of Belkosky’s most proud moments at Street Sense was when his first story was published. “I like to write about fun events, such as festivals and restaurants,” he said, “because it makes people smile.”
Some of Belkosky’s hobbies include walking, listening to the police scanner and watching trains and airplanes. He enjoys watching M*A*S*H, Star Trek and Dr. Who. While not selling newspapers, Belkosky enjoys reading, especially the Nancy Drew series.
Belkosky recently found out that he has a few medical issues that need to be addressed. “Because I have a hernia and spots on my lung and liver, I will be taking time off until the tests and surveys are done,” Belkosky said. “I hope all of the readers will pray for me until I get back.”
By Kenneth Belkosky, Vendor
Even though I am going to be taking some time off, I will come back to Street Sense soon. I have some major health issues that I need to take care of during the next few months, so I won’t be at 20th and Q streets for a little while. Please don’t worry about me. Even though I won’t be selling newspapers, you can still contribute to me by making a donation to the Street Sense office, which will make sure that I get it.
I want to thank Dick Helming, a special person who drove me to the emergency room on June 6. He was concerned about how I was walking, so he drove me to the Georgetown emergency room. They did a CAT scan and found spots on my liver and lungs. I will be having surgery to remove a hernia. After that, they will determine if I need a biopsy. I am confident that I am in good hands and that we caught this early enough to get treatment. If my favorite customers want to visit me, I will be at the Georgetown University Hospital.
I’m not saying that I am dying; I am just going to take time off to concentrate on my health issues. I plan to go back and forth to the doctors a lot, so I won’t have time to sell Street Sense. I think of it as taking a long vacation. I am telling the readers this because, in the past, I didn’t let you know that I was taking time off and some readers worried and told the Street Sense office that I was missing.
Thank you to the Street Sense readers, the Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals Association and Street Sense for understanding my need to take time off. I would like to be kept in your prayers, and I will keep you in mine.