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News / Health / Clark County Health

Longtime Evergreen educator Scott Munro rehabilitating after brain injury

Scott Munro and family seek support to help pay for medical expenses

By Griffin Reilly, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 23, 2024, 6:09am
2 Photos
Scott Munro, a longtime educator and administrator in Evergreen Public Schools, works through physical rehabilitation exercises at a treatment center in Chicago. Munro suffered a hypoxic brain injury during an elective orthopedic surgery last fall.
Scott Munro, a longtime educator and administrator in Evergreen Public Schools, works through physical rehabilitation exercises at a treatment center in Chicago. Munro suffered a hypoxic brain injury during an elective orthopedic surgery last fall. (Contributed by the Munro family) Photo Gallery

Every school has a few names and faces it wouldn’t be the same without: the cool teacher, the favorite substitute or the principal who’s been there longer than anyone can remember.

In east Vancouver, Scott and Katrina Munro have been two of those names and faces to children for decades.

This past fall, however, tragedy struck the Munro family. While in an elective orthopedic surgery, Scott Munro suffered a sudden, prolonged loss of oxygen to his brain.

The emergency left Scott Munro, Evergreen Public Schools’ director of elementary education, in need of intense neurological care and physical therapy.

How To Help

The Munro family is seeking donations for medical co-pays, travel and renovation expenses to make accessibility modifications to their Vancouver home.

Donations can be made online via GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-scott-munro-through-brain-injury-rehab.

If you go

What: Fundraiser for Scott Munro’s rehabilitation

When: 5 p.m. May 4

Where: Orchard Hills Golf & Country Club, 605 39th St., Washougal

Tickets: $125 per person

Information:esdf.schoolauction.net/scottmunro/homepages/show

 

“Our lives are forever changed, and we don’t know the full extent of it,” said his wife, Katrina Munro, a teacher at Illahee Elementary School. “We’re seven months post-injury, and we’re still at the very beginning of the recovery.”

Unable to find the needed services on the West Coast, the couple flew to Chicago, where Scott Munro began rehabilitation treatment for a hypoxic brain injury at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. He’s continuing his rehabilitation at QLI in Omaha, Neb. Scott Munro’s days are long and challenging, but Katrina Munro said she’s already proud of how far her husband has come.

“I think a strength of Scott’s is the speech and language pathology therapy,” Katrina Munro said. “You may notice how articulate he is with his loud voice.”

“They definitely keep you busy,” Scott Munro said.

Financial challenges

The rehabilitation comes with a financial burden — all inflated by travel expenses required to get back and forth from the Midwest.

“It’s been really shocking and disappointing that there’s not options on the West Coast at all for some of the conditions Scott has had. We’re grateful that we’ve been able to have access to great care, but it’s painful to not be at home and have the day-to-day support and help,” Katrina Munro said.

At first, insurance helped cover some of the expenses. The insurer since has begun disputing the necessity of his current treatment in Omaha, Katrina Munro said.

“With the type of brain injury that Scott has, the recovery is not fast. So the insurance company wants to see more progress more quickly, and that’s not anything we can change,” she said.

Beyond that, she said, the couple isn’t sure what they’ll do once Scott Munro is ready to return home. Their house in Vancouver can’t accommodate the wheelchair he uses. The necessary upgrades come with another list of bills the Munros can’t afford.

“We’re looking at having to modify the home or move,” Katrina Munro said. “We don’t have a place for him to go.”

Soon after Scott Munro’s injury, his daughter, Katherine Munro, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help support medical and travel expenses. As of this week, the campaign has raised nearly $90,000 — an extraordinary feat but still far from covering the family’s expected bills.

Support from home

While the tragedy has brought the Munro family to a standstill, Scott and Katrina said it’s made them aware of just how large their support network is in Vancouver.

“It means everything,” Scott Munro said. “I have learned that I have more friends than I thought I did before all this.”

Longtime co-workers have sent cards and videos to keep him updated on school happenings and donated paid time off to Katrina Munro so she’s able to be with him throughout his rehab. The couple’s decades of work in Evergreen has made their absence extremely difficult for some in the district.

“Scott is a cherished colleague and friend whose absence I feel deeply every day I pass by his darkened office,” said Heather Fowler, Evergreen’s director of secondary education. “His dedication to the students and families of EPS is unparalleled, marked by his integrity and courage to do the right thing for students.”

Scott Munro isn’t planning on letting his office lie vacant for much longer.

“I absolutely want to continue serving students and staff in Evergreen,” he said. “It would mean everything to be back.”

As Scott Munro continues his daily exercises and therapy sessions, the family is looking forward to a banquet event to help raise money to support their ongoing expenses.

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At 5 p.m. May 4, the family is hosting a fundraiser at Orchard Hills Golf & Country Club, 605 39th St., Washougal. Items and experiences available for bid at auction include cabin rentals, a hot air balloon tour and more.

For more information about the event, visit the auction’s webpage at https://esdf.schoolauction.net/scottmunro/homepages/show.

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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