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A focus on recovery

Two men talking in a hallway.
Mike Walker, left, and Thrivent Wealth Advisor Clint Jasperson at SERVE 6.8 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Disability insurance helps Thrivent client heal from a brain tumor with little worry about finances.

Just days after being photographed for the Winter 2022 issue of Thrivent Magazine, Mike Walker found himself in a new story, one he neither expected nor wanted. It’s the story of a non-malignant brain tumor—and he gives God all of the credit for his comeback.

For the previous two years, the Thrivent client from Fort Collins, Colorado, had been dealing with neck pain and occasional nausea that doctors couldn’t diagnose.

“On Sept. 5, I woke up and knew God had put it profoundly on my heart that I needed an MRI,” Walker says. “I called my doctor and told him I needed a referral. I wasn’t asking; I was telling.”

An MRI on his neck Sept. 9 showed a mass. More tests and a specialist confirmed he had a tumor the size of a lemon compressing his brain stem. Fluid was filling his head, he says. A few days later, in a 19-hour surgery, surgeons removed the benign tumor.

Recovery was long. Walker says he was allergic to the anesthetic used in surgery, and his organs began to shut down. After surgery, he was on a ventilator for 10 days, developed a blood clot in his lung, lost his ability to swallow and was unable to move his limbs. He was in the ICU for three weeks, then moved to a rehab facility. There he began to regain his ability to swallow and the use of his limbs.

“There’s only so much feeling in my limbs,” Walker said during an interview in late November. “I tingle all over because my nerves are repairing themselves. There’s no guarantee I will regain full function.”

During his recovery, Walker was grateful he didn’t have to worry about finances. He’s founder and executive director of SERVE 6.8, a nonprofit network in Northern Colorado that mobilizes and connects churches to help them respond to local, regional and national needs. His wife, Tina, is a self-employed real estate agent.

The disability insurance has carried us through financially.
Mike Walker, executive director of SERVE 6.8 in Fort Collins, Colorado

Thrivent Wealth Advisor Clint Jasperson, who is on the SERVE 6.8 board of directors, had met with the Walkers a few years ago to review their finances as well as life and disability insurance. The Walkers wanted to focus on their retirement strategy.

As a board member, Jasperson also talked with Walker about the need for group life and disability insurance for the SERVE 6.8 staff. Walker agreed, and to avoid conflict of interest, worked with another Thrivent financial advisor to secure the additional coverage for the staff.

“Because of this coverage, Mike’s inability to work didn’t jeopardize his income,” Jasperson says.

Tina has been able to be there for every step of his recovery as well. “God has kept her busy enough to provide some income but also be able to focus on my recovery,” Walker says. “The disability insurance has carried us through financially.”

Still recovering, Walker returned to work in late December. He has three tips to share: “Be your own health advocate. Take care of yourself; it helps your body heal faster. And pay attention to the Holy Spirit when he tells you something like ‘get an MRI.’”


The client’s experience may or may not be the same as other clients and does not indicate future performance or success.