Some of you know, however I kept this a secret from most people. Since my “salary” if thats what you want to call it that, is so measly, and since I have MINIMAL vacation time and zero sick days, all of the time I am taking of for surgeries this year is unpaid. Not to mention the large deductible on my insurance and the 20% I have to pay after that….this is a run on sentence….anyway. Basically I have to take a lot of time off and none if it is paid…so my mom wanted to throw a benefit for me to help with some of the costs.
I HATE. Repeat HATE taking money from people. I hate borrowing, or getting any kind of money from anyone. Its just this weird thing that I’ve always had even as a kid where I don’t like be given money. I like making my own. Perhaps its because my first job was when I was like 10 years old…paper route…no shit. Anyway. I felt really really really uncomfortable with this idea. I also…don’t like attention. So the idea of a day with people staring at me and handing me money is right up on the top 5 worst days ever for me. BUT….the reality is…I needed it. I needed the money. Bad. Last year after all of my hospital time, I had to borrow a lot of money from my family to pay my bills. It sucked. I really hated it but I would have gone into a lot of debt had I not. And this year would have been the same except worse. Higher costs, and more time off = Broke. No Dollaz.
So the idea started out with a small spaghetti dinner, cheap like $10 a plate a humble approach and maybe I’d make a few hundred bucks and if I was lucky Id make enough to pay my deductible. Well after a whirlwind of ridiculous generosity, it turned into a HUGE event. I am amazed at the generosity I received much from people I’ve never met. I got the space donated, all of the produce for 150 dinners donated, and I paid $300 for over 100lbs of steak and chicken. I also had a ton of raffle items donated from gift cards to a personal in home chef. We had easily 40+ raffle items. It is amazing what you can get if you just ask. But before I walked into the room on Sunday for this event, I had reservations the whole time. I didn’t want to tell my friends, I didn’t want to make it a big deal, I didn’t want to ask for too much from anyone. I didn’t want to look needy or have it be awkward asking for money from people I know well.
But Sunday came…and so did my friends and family. 150 people showed up to show their support for me and help me out. 150 people…who knew so many people liked me..and liked me enough to technically pay to hang out with me. I can’t explain the feeling of having a room full of people who are all there for you. They all know what is going on in your life, no more hiding, and they can all laugh with you, and some of them even cried with/for me. Words cannot express my gratitude. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life. The food was cooked by culinary students who also donated their time, and it was great. A few people got hammered and that made it all the more interesting.
And to be honest…I made a boat load of cash. WAAAAAAAAY more than I ever expected to make in a million years. I mean a shocking amount. I went from hoping to cover my deductible, to making so much money that Ive decided to donate some to a few of my favorite charities or people that have helped me out.
So what I’m trying to say is…if you’re running into money problems like I was, ask for help. Throw together a dinner, or a raffle or something, and people will be more than happy to help. In fact people were almost chomping at the bit to help. I was shocked.
And also, through all of this I have learned what can be accomplished when people give from their hearts. I was never big on donating money mostly because I never had any…but after this experience I feel like I need to donate. Like it wouldn’t be right to keep all of the proceeds for myself when I only got here because of other people. Now granted its not like I made 20 thousand dollars and I’m set for the year…but I definitely made enough to make a donation I can be proud of and to have money be one less source of stress in my life this year.
So if you’ve got extra money…donate to these places.
Camp Oasis – Camp locations across the US for kids and teenagers with IBD. Ran by volutneers and counselors who have IBD as well, and is FREE for all campers. Amazing.
The Joel Jeremy Foundation – A local organization here in Michigan, who helps families in need who are facing medical issues. They do not help with medical bills but rather travel costs, food, hotels, gas, babysitters and other expenses that are not covered by insurance. They have covered the hotel room for my family for the entire week we were in Cleveland and have offered to do so for future visits as well.