Generous stranger gives $10K to ill Puyallup man

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A Puyallup man's fight with the flu continues to touch the hearts of KOMO viewers and readers. On Thursday, the victim and his wife were speechless after getting a surprise donation from a stranger who learned about their story on

"(It) never crossed my mind that I could be in a hospital bed having barely survived, knowing I've still got months left before I can go home," said Daniel Fickle, who is now talking with the assistance of a speaking valve.

Fickle was hospitalized more than a month ago after Influenza-A developed into a life-threatening condition.

"When I started being aware of my surroundings I felt like I was in concrete. I couldn't move a pinky; couldn't move either hand, either foot," said Fickle, who is now able to raise his hands on his own and feed himself.

Fickle was heavily sedated throughout the last month, but became cognizant of his condition about a week ago. He recalled the moment his wife tried to fill him in on the last few weeks.

"I come out - we miss our anniversary, Valentine's Day, Super Bowl. She doesn't mention our anniversary or Valentine's Day but she tells me 'Seahawks won the Super Bowl'. I said 'No, they didn't.' She said, 'Yeah, they did.' I said, 'They didn't play it yet,'" said Fickle.

During the most challenging times, Fickle's wife has always been by his side at his hospital bed.

"When he was struggling it was hard for me, which was something that - one reason why I'm so grateful for the support from all our family and friends," said Daniel's wife Tammy Fickle.

The support from strangers is also lifting their spirits. On Thursday, the Problem Solvers gave the Fickles a $10,000 check from a KOMO viewer. The generous donation left them speechless.

"No family elects to be ill. No family wants to get an illness but sometimes an illness chooses the family," said donor Jeff Cysewski.

Cysewski said he's not seeking attention or publicity. He and his wife just hope their donation will inspire others to help families in need.

"We think that when there's families in need in the community that we all need to step-up," said Cysewski. "It's just good for our community. We just kind of need to love each other and support each other. That's what it's all about."

Cysewski said he hopes the donation will help the Fickle family focus on Daniel's recovery and less about the financial burden.

"I just really hope the Fickle family gets well and that they get their husband and their dad back and that they can get back to normal life," said Cysewski.

The Fickles said they plan to thank Cysewski for the generous donation in private.

"It makes you realize how important it is to help other people out and so - that will go towards some of that too," said Daniel Fickle.

Fickle is expected to begin rehabilitation at a nursing facility then he'll return to Good Samaritan Hospital for inpatient rehab.