Monday, March 17, 2008

Some news about Jim Korkis

On Tuesday, March 11, Jim Korkis went into work at Epcot and was not feeling well. He went to Health Services who immediately phoned the paramedics and Jim was taken to the Emergency Room of a local Florida hospital. An MRI revealed that he had suffered three minor strokes. Jim had been under some excessive stress at work recently and this is how his body responded.

He was in the hospital for five days and was released home to recuperate for the next two weeks at least and have follow-up visits with his doctors. He has new medication, a strict diet and some exercises.

He is not paralyzed, did not have a heart attack and so far the only major area that seems to be effected is his balance and equilibrium that the doctors hope will return in time. Jim describes his current condition as "frustrating... my head seems cloudy and I don't seem to have much endurance."

He will not be able to retrieve messages from his work e-mail but his home e-mail is and his home address is 10647 Bellflower Court, Orlando, Florida 32821.

I have spoken to Jim over the phone yesterday evening. He knows I am sharing this information and has approved this message before it got posted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jim is the kind of person that is more comfortable giving than receiving. He does not like to reach out for assistance, but rather trusts in the faith that good things will come to those who wait, and who do good things for others.

Jim Korkis left Southern California -- which meant leaving behind friends who shared his love of animation and Disney, as well as a possible network for future endeavors -- to be "in on the ground floor" at the Disney Institute, as well as to care for his aging parents. During his tenure, he wrote programs, taught classes and gave his all. Florida was very fortunate to have him as a resource and an inspiration to those who loved Disney, and also as an eye-opener to the thousands of Florida residents, visitors and Cast Members whose personal knowledge of Disney was a grain of sand on Jim's beach of information.

While the fate of the Disney Institute remains fodder for a future book, article or weblog, suffice it to say that Jim and several others found themselves looking for "other opportunities" inside or outside Walt Disney World in Florida.

Jim moved to the Disney Learning Center, continuing to host numerous presentations as part of his position and also on his own. He wrote many of the Epcot behind the scenes tours that Guests still pay to attend. He made presentations to corporate partners, reminding young executives at various companies about their history with Disney in order to retain those lucrative partnerships. More than anything else, Jim made time for his friends and never said no to a favor or access to anything he knew.

Things went well for a few years. His management was supportive to Jim and he amassed a variety of presentations and resources to benefit Cast Members at Disney. He was encouraged to share the heritage and legacy with literally hundreds of Disney people, including visiting dignitaries from around the world.

Jim lost his mother a few years ago and his father more recently, seeing both through extended illnesses, juggling their needs with his work responsibilities. A bout with prostate cancer also sent friends to his bedside. Yet if you had a problem, Jim would lend a sympathetic ear, never letting on that your quibbles paled in view of what he was dealing with personally.

Management changed at Jim's workplace. The "vision" for his department and Jim's role were summarily redefined. He is now limited to adhere to the clerical duties of his workplace and keep all other contributions to himself. This is hard for a person who lives to give, but negative consequences will befall him if he does.

After suffering the three mini-strokes, the doctors discovered that he had at least two before that he was unaware of. They could find no outstanding reason for this (it's not in his family history) except for extreme stress. One doctor asked Jim if he had been riding roller coasters lately. Of course he had not -- at least in the literal sense.

This information is being shared in the hopes that someone can find a way to get Jim away from what is physically and mentally eating away at him. Central Florida is not exactly a haven for Disney or animation fans or particularly responsive to specialists in those subjects. To paraphrase The Beverly Hillbillies, "California is the place he ought to be." If anyone has any leads that can help Jim relocate, not only may it add to the richness of the animation resources but also it would surely add time to Jim's life. In Florida, it seems they've gone from trying to figure what to do for him to what to do about him.

Jim, when you read this, please forgive me for revealing so much but something has to be done before we find ourselves saying “if only.” This is not a plea for a handout because whoever is lucky enough to get Jim in their corner will literally be richer for it. Walt Disney World certainly is.