Mark Fowler is director of Chamber of Hope, a nonprofit organization that has been providing hyperbaric chamber treatments to the Bloomingdale Library attack victim.

The Ruskin-SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, along with TECO, hosted a fundraiser last month for the Bloomingdale Library attack victim.  Hundreds of people attended the successful event, which included entertainment from local high school singing groups and bands, as well as a children’s play area with bouncehouses and plenty of barbecue.
The Ruskin-SouthShore Chamber Executive Director Melanie Morrison was moved by the enthusiasm the community continued to show support of this extraordinary family.   “Everyone came together to make this event happen, from the amazing TECO employees to Hillsborough County Parks Department and our local business sponsors,” said Morrison.
The event raised money for the family to purchase an in-home hyperbaric chamber. Mark Fowler, chairman of Chamber of Hope, has been working with the family since December 2009. Along with his wife, Betsy, they see approximately 100 people a day in their home.
The Blooming Library attack victim suffered brain damage and the loss of her vision during the brutal attack two years ago. This also left her partially paralyzed, speechless and requiring the use a feeding tube.  In December of 2009, her mother contacted the Chamber of Hope, and the Fowlers immediately set up a treatment schedule in the hyperbaric chamber.
Within several treatments, she gained back 10 percent of her vision, along with some movement in both arms, and is now able to swallow liquids. The family is encouraged that the hyperbaric chamber is dramatically improving her quality of life, but the daily treatments were taking a toll on the family. The task of driving to the Fowlers’ home in St. Petersburg and then getting her back home was proving to be difficult. Because her brain damage was so severe, her treatments need to be ongoing. 
The Chamber of Hope is a non-profit organization that treats children who suffer from brain damage, autism, skin disorders, eyesight problems and miscellaneous other medical conditions. The Fowlers have four hyperbaric chambers in their home and the treatments are free of charge to the families. The Chamber of Hope is a 501(c)(3) and is fully funded by private donations and by Selama Grotto, a Masonic-affiliated organization.
“We recently assisted in arranging for the family to rent a chamber in their home,” said Mark. “We would like to be part of helping them raise enough money to purchase it.  The equipment rental is quite expensive, so owning the equipment would be the most economical long-term solution.”
The hyperbaric chamber works by releasing oxygen in a high pressure environment which results in the restoration of cells. By providing the cells with an abundance of oxygen, the cells react by becoming more enlivened, and ongoing treatment supports healthy cell growth and restored functions.
“Her treatment in the hyperbaric chamber lasts two hours each day, five days a week,” said Mark.  “We see her improvements on a daily basis. This is so important to the family, and they’ve been through so much.”
To find out more about the Chamber of Hope and how to make a donation, please visit its Website at or call the Fowlers at 727-866-9047.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.