Invention brings renewed life purpose for MS patient Jack Kellerman
New Roads native Jack Kellerman once feared a multiple sclerosis diagnosis at age 30 meant his life was almost over.
Nearly 25 years later, he’s busier than ever.
Kellerman, 54, patented a device that can help nearly every household across the world.
He developed The Zip Quicker, which makes for an easier – and much neater – process of putting foods and liquids into a Ziploc bag.
“I had the idea a long time ago, but I never acted on it,” said Kellerman, who lives in Baton Rouge.
Kellerman – a father of five – has been homebound the past three years. Much of that time he spends in bed.
He had his first episodes with MS was one week after he and his wife, Suzanne, gave birth to their third child.
“I was asking God what my future would be. Would I be able to work or take care of my family?” Kellerman said.
He sustained a few spells over the next 10 years, but always bounced back.
The situation changed. He went from walking with use of a cane to using a wheelchair, to ultimately being bedridden for the past three years.
He has not left the house in two years, and that was for the wedding of daughter Yvonne, who got married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in New Roads.
“I have not left my house since then,” he said. “They push me on the back porch, into the living room, but it’s just too much damn trouble to get me in the wheelchair, and the (wheelchair) is too painful for me sitting. I’m best off staying in the bed.”
Kellerman said he is all but paralyzed, although he still has use of his right arm and hand.
That, too, has become a challenge, he said. But he said he has a great coach at his side.
“My wife, Suzanne, reminds me that we’re all in this together,” Kellerman said. “She’s truly one in a million.”
Three of his children – Anne, Yvonne and Marshall – now live on their own.
“We’re in this together – my wife and five kids stepped up to help me, plus I have a lot of people praying for me,” he said. “That’s truly the only way we’re getting through this.
“We have one hell of a support group here,” Kellerman said.
Amid the seemingly hopeless situation, he grasped onto the proverbial “ounce of hope.”
That ounce of hope was technology.
From his bed, he searched online for “overseas virtual assistant” and hired an online helper from the Philippines.
“I work five days a week on a Zoom call with my virtual assistant,” Kellerman said.
Daily communication with a virtual assistant in the Philippines may seem far-reaching enough, but it does not stop there.
His patent application is in Pakistan. The drawings for the invention were created in Saudi Arabia and the logo was designed in Germany.
The product design was conceived in Bangladesh.
“Plus, my virtual assistant is in the Philippines and my factory is in China,” Kellerman said. “It’s so cool to be able to do all of this.”
It’s a long way from the days of despair and wondering what he would do for the rest of his life.
“It is almost like an epiphany,” he said. “Although my body is failing me, my mind is not.”
The invention has brought Kellerman a new sense of hope.
It puts a smile on his face when he sees the number of orders on the website.
He also gets a morale boost from the people who send messages about how much they enjoy it and how they tell their friends about it.
“I love it because it connects me with the world and says I’m doing something productive – not only with the world,” Kellerman said. “It’s not only with the business associates all over the world, but also with customers worldwide.
“Technology is beautiful,” he said.
Kellerman said he sees no reason to feel bitter despite his condition.
“I’ve got more blessings than I should be allowed,” he said. “I tried complaining and it didn’t do a lot of good.
“I decided to go another direction and do good,” Kellerman said. “It is what it is, and I have to deal with it to move on.”
He said he hopes technology can play a role in a cure for MS.
Kellerman said his condition is too extensive, but he hopes it can help with future patients.
As for now, he is enjoying more than he has in several years.
“I’ve had more blessings than I should be allowed,” Kellerman said. “Life handed me lemons, and now I’m putting those lemons in the Zip Quicker.”
More information on the item can be found on YouTube.