Daughter’s injury, music shutdown during coronavirus weighs on Georgetown family
When Aaron Kemkaran and Mayra Reyes’ 8-year-old daughter, Kirstan Kemkaran, was severely burned in a household accident earlier this year, she required hospitalization. That would be difficult under any circumstances, but it was even more trying during the coronavirus pandemic and at a time when Kemkaran was sidelined from making and producing music.
Kemkaran remembers when Kirstan was transferred from a local hospital in Georgetown, where the family lives with Reyes’ parents, to Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin.
“As they were getting all these quarantine regulations into place, that’s when we were arriving,” he said.
There were limitations on hospital visits, so Kemkaran and Reyes were “having to go in there in shifts all night,” he said.
The family is part of the Statesman’s Season for Caring program, which highlights the needs of 12 families and helps hundreds of others through local nonprofits. The Kemkaran family was nominated by the nonprofit Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, of which he is a member.
There was good news on the other end of the hospitalization: Kirstan’s mobility was returning after she had difficulty walking for about a month. Follow-up treatments have been addressing scars that lingered from the burns.
“If we stick with this regimen, she may turn out scar-free,” Aaron Kemkaran said. “That’s the goal, but it’s kind of touch-and-go-with that.”
All of this happened against the backdrop of the couple’s financial struggles when the pandemic took away most of their income. Kemkaran’s audio and video production company, Studio 7 Music, lost a lot of sessions in mid-March, and side gigs he took as a musician in various local bands also dried up.
Reyes assists his studio work with marketing plans and video-shoot makeup and design. Before the pandemic, business was starting to pick up.
At present, they operate the studio business out of Georgetown nonprofit station KGTN in a co-op arrangement. “Moving into this co-op suite has been really good for us,” Kemkaran said.
Their priority, Kemkaran said, is being able to return to work as much as possible. “We’re just hoping to see clients again,” he said.
Right now, that’s difficult. He had to sell some of his equipment to pay bills and also needs more professional gear to upgrade the studio’s capabilities.
At home, space is tight in her parents’ house. Their biggest need is to remodel the kitchen and bathroom as well as an addition for Kirstan to have her own space.
Reyes would like to diversify their income by returning to her previous career as a massage therapist and needs supplies such as a massage table.
For Kirstan, her wish list includes a basketball hoop, a bike and helmet, a gift card for books and a playscape.
Statesman Season for Caring
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