In the News
Meet the Fullers
Ronnie Besaw's start in life was medical misery. It began at age
six, with sever chest pain. Doctors, to this day, have never diagnosed
the cause. Rheumatic fever struck him at age eight, and
arthritis has affected him for much of his life.
In Ronnie's early life, his father worked two jobs to support the
family as he wanted to help Ronnie pursue his interst in singing
and playing guitar. Norbert "Norby" knew his son would never
be able to put in a hard day of work, like most men. Ronnie also
had inflammation of the lining of his heart and its valves, medically
known as Endocarditis.
Early in his teens Ronnie was playing in a rock 'n' roll band
based in Shawano, Wisconsin. He was a good-looking young man,
had musical talent, and an unceasing desire to perform in front of
thousands of people -- in a thousand different places.
They say that life is filled with peaks and valleys. Ronnie fell
into a deep valley at age 17. when they found his father dead from a
heart attack, behind the wheel of his car, which was embedded in a
snowbank. Norbert Besaw had supported his musically-inclined son
by taking him to talent shows all over the Midwest. Ronnie had
won many contests, but the judges' decision at the Shawano County
Fairgrounds, which awarded Ronnie second place, would end the
talk of the ultimate challenge -- going to New York, to compete on
"Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour".
In his early twenties, Ronnie and a friend took a trip to Las
Vegas, Nevada. He was able to get an important man to listen to
two of his recordings. This important man, Jon Gregory, signed
Ronnie to a seven-year contract to perform in clubs in Las Vegas.
His name was changed to Ronnie Fuller. Ronnie performed in
many of the Las Vegas clubs and was poised to play an important part
in a movie when he became ill. He went to several doctors on the
West Coast, but diagnosis was evasive -- his performing life was put on
Ronnie returned to Shawano County and continued his search
for the reason of his pain. In 1976, it was confirmed that he was
suffering from the spinal disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis. Doctors
said that he had about five years to live.
Believing that he was destined to die at a young age, Ronnie
agreed to do undercover work for various law enforcement organizations,
including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ronnie knew
that wherever the night action was, the big players were not far
away. He had been a part of the entertainment action in Vegas for
many years and knew how to maneuver in the midst of "fast laners".
As his spinal disease worsened he met and married a young
woman by the name of Rene. They both knew their lives might be
difficult and sad. Over a ten-year period of time the pills that
Ronnie was directed to take for his illness kept increasing. Not
doubting his doctors, he took them -- up to 80 pills a day!
People who believe in miracles are few. People who have experienced
one are even fewer! One morning Ronnie got dressed and as
he stood, he felt uncomfortable. During the night something miraculous
had happened. He felt different and his posture looked different.
The next x-ray that was taken of his spine did not show any
evidence of the ankylosing spondylitis. It was gone!
With the evidence of over 20 different doctors' diagnosis of
Ronnie's ankylosing spondylitis, and taking up to 80 prescribed pills
a day, he filed a $50 million medical malpractice lawsuit against
several entities that were involved in his treatment. What followed was
a classic injustice in our U.S. court system. The suit was dismissed
with prejudice amid accusations of death threats, stalking, libel,
unlawfully licensed lawyers, and mail theft. Ronnie Fuller never got
his day in court.