So I have the fundraisng site for another 3 weeks and a few people have asked me to keep it up because they wanted to donate a little in case I run into extra expenses I'm not expecting. Since I don't know what might come up, that's probably smart but at the same time since I've made my goal, I'm not going to actively campaign because to me getting to the surgery has been the point of this.
I absolutely appreciate any additional donations being planned but I don't want to take extra money if I don't need it. To that end, anything that I end up not needing, I will be donating to the charity "Child's Play" ( http://www.childsplaycharity.org/
) to help improve the lives of children who are in the hospitals and need toys and videogames to help them cope with the unpleasantness of being in the hospital and going through medical treatment. It seemed to be the most logical fit because even though I'm not a kid, I have to admit that I am very nervous about the surgery (who wouldn't be?). I know that I'll be in great hands but hospitals can be scary and lonely places, especially for kids.
It's the least I can do to pay things forward for all of your amazing generosity!! :)
This is absolutely insane. We hit the goal. I just called my surgeons and we have a date on January 3rd. I really just do not know how to thank you all -- everyone!!! Every donation -- small, medium, large -- you ALL helped put this over the top! Everyone sharing this via FB and Twitter...I am shaking! I am relieved. I am so excited -- I have a second chance! You guys have GIVEN ME BACK MY LIFE! Ok...sure...there's still the surgery and rehab but now I know that I can do it because you are all right there with me! I'll keep updating everyone on FB, on my blog (I have some catching up to do on that now that I'm out of fundraising mode!!! Time to turn that into a resource for people like me facing major back surgery and not knowing what's going on.
Is it normal to feel like you are fainting when you've just gotten your wish fulfilled? It must be...because I feel...oh man...I am crying like a baby. I just cannot stop. I changed my profile picture (a request for when I hit goal) to show you more than just my eye! Like it or not...you get to see me smile! :D
More to come...but wow, THANK YOU, thank you, thank you, thank you...and HUGE HUGS!!!! Now to getting down to writing official thank you notes!!! It might take a while...I can hardly type!!!
$1700 to go and then I can call my surgeons and say "let's do this!!" I am READY!!! Please help me get to my goal this week so I can take my life back! I could hardly sleep last night because I was thinking "what if we can reach the goal amount tomorrow?" Can you help me by spreading the word and/or donating what you can?
Some Sunday night thoughts...first of all, I look at what happened this first week: $4,150 raised by 75 people in 7 days. How is that possible? I mean I have been completely blown away by everyone's generosity (I know I keep saying this but it's true!). This has been an incredible learning experience -- for almost my entire adult life I've been fundraising and raising awareness for public radio stations, game accessibility, games, charities like Children's Miracle Network, and much more. But I have never been on BOTH the fundraising and the recipient side before and now, more than ever, I see the life-changing power of fundraising. And this makes me so excited about my future because this has given me the momentum to return to this as soon as I'm back on my feet because now (to borrow less eloquently from T.S. Eliot) I've returned home only to know it for the first time. So please help me not only get my back fixed but help me get back to doing what I do best -- helping others. Anything you can donate is amazing! And please keep spreading the word, especially as FB & Twitter gets back to it's normal busy self tomorrow! *GREAT BIG HUGE HUGS*
Sunday morning and we're at 68.33%, hoping we can make it to 70% by the end of the weekend. My back decided to rebel last night and so I was up most of the night and feeling that no-sleep headache this morning. But we fight on!!! About to edit a short paper for a friend and then I'll start some serious blog writing! :D
We are now exactly $1900 away from the goal amount!!! This is so exciting!! Goodnight my sweet friends -- both old and new! *hugs*
Tonight's story pledge came in right as I was about to turn in for the night so stay tuned for a special Sunday morning edition of my crazy stories! The mornings are when most of you read them anyway! :) Thank you to everyone who pledged today!! There will be much blogging tomorrow before we head into Monday where I hope we'll raise the remaining amount that I need to have surgery on January 3rd!!! *hugs* to all!!!
Fundraisers are eerie over the weekend...Quick! Someone send $1 to make sure we're still live! ;) *hugs*
We are at 67.83% right now and holding...can we make it to 70% by this evening??? The person who puts us over the 70% mark gets to pick the topic of TONIGHT'S STORY!!! :)
What's that? Oh! My back would like to say "thank you for helping -- I really hurt today...it's cold out there and I need some new bionic parts and I can wait to get them!!!" So send my back some Christmas cheer so it (and I) can have a Happy 2013 and ring it in with a nice back surgery! Only you can help make sure I get it on January 3rd! And you have all helped so much already! Spread the word to friends -- just a $1 from under 2000 people would do it! *hugs*
Well, we were supposed to get snow but it's a little too warm but the dampness is still in the air...so I HURT today. And we are now in the first weekend of the funding...the slow down part of the week! But we've done a pretty amazing job -- 67% to goal after 5 days!! It would be great to reach 75% by the end of the weekend, though!
Some people have said that I should say "I've reached X% of funding" versus "we" but I don't see it that way...I kind of feel like you guys are all my virtual visitors in the pre-op waiting room! Am I getting nervous about the surgery now that it seems like we're getting so close to making it happen on January 3rd? Yes, yes I am. Who wouldn't be? This is major back surgery!! But then I remember that I don't want to keep staying inside all the time on bed rest...I want to know at least the first parts of "wellness" in 2013! I've had so many health issues in the last 4 years that it's hard to remember what that felt like, to not plan my life around doctor's appointments and pain...and let's do this thing!!! GO TEAM!!!! :)
Ok...we are $25 away from $4000 now! Can we herald in the weekend on a nice even $2000 remaining? You get to pick the topic of "Michelle's crazy story of the evening" if you are the one to push the campaign over the $4k mark!!! :)
Wow...I didn't think we'd make it to 60% before the weekend...but we're at 60.83%!!!!! Only $2350 to go!!!! $3,650 raised by 62 people in just a little over 5 days!
I know this is a hard sell kind of thing...a lot of those who have donated have known me at a particular time or place adding up to a map that makes up my entire life! It has been absolutely amazing to be in contact with so many of you again. This has turned into a bit of a "Michelle...THIS IS YOUR LIFE!" project in ways I had not predicted before I started this!
But then again I also have never met quite a few people who have given me a donation to help get my back fixed and help get me back on my feet again. Honestly? The kindness of strangers has just been staggering. There have been many a time where I've just sat completely dumbfounded and thought "Who are you? What made you care so much to reach out to help out a complete stranger? Were you once in my shoes? Were you once like me, just hoping for a miracle?"
We're not quite at the finish line yet but I'm already just so filled with love right now. I know...that might sound cheesy...but I really mean it. I mean what an amazing snapshot of humanity I've received this week! I hope that you can see a bit of what I've seen this week...it's really quite an awesome view of human kindness and this will be a Christmas I remember for the rest of my life...and it's not yet December!
Ok, so we're kind of at a stuck point right now and we're going into the weekend where things on FB slow down. 54.67% in four days has been absolutely amazing and I'm so very thankful I can't even tell you...I don't even have the words to express it properly! Please keep sharing this and, remember, every dollar counts -- it all adds up!! And, yes, I'll make a video this weekend! :)
Have you already donated at least $5 and want to make sure you definitely get the new "Virtual Roommie" premium pack? I'll be emailing you this weekend about it but you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org -- this gift will arrive AFTER the back surgery because I have to have the bionic hardware in place for the CT scan picture and I won't be "Super Spine Woman" until after the surgery! WHAT *is* the "Virtual Roommie" pack? Check out the fundraising page for more information!
Ok...things are about to get crazy, now! After the weekend (I must confer with my co-game designers), there will be an interesting new addition to the fundraising party for my back surgery. But before that...first you are getting crazy stories about me every day from now until the surgery date (Jan 3rd) even if the goal amount is reached before then!
But now...and this counts for those who have already donated (I'll contact you and ask you for your snail mail address and if you would like this premium for your donation...I won't force it on you but I want you to share in the fun if you would like to)...every donation of $5 and up will get the donor (1) a signed CT scan photo of my FIXED back (with new bionic hardware!) and (2) a hospital bracelet of your own WITH a charm of a cartoon me as "Super Spine Woman!" What???? How crazy is THAT? I know...pretty crazy, right? So step right up and pledge $5 to reserve YOUR "hospital buddy" kit and be my virtual roommates in the hospital (it's getting crowded but the more the merrier!!)
Happy weekend everyone!!!
Want a funny story about me to give you a laugh to start your Friday off right? Here's my post from last night about the funny story I said I'd tell if we hit the 50% mark (we are now at 54.33% -- Can we make it to 60% before the weekend?). Just $1 from 2,740 more people and we are THERE! :D
Here's the requested crazy story I posted late last night: http://spineadventures.com/2012/11/30/embarrassing-story-in-celebration-of-topping-the-50-mark/
*Hugs* everyone! Happy Friday! :)
Seriously, you guys??? I just woke up from a long nap after sleeping off this morning's pre-op (part one) tests for the January surgery and we are now up to 54.08%!??!?! Thank you to the WUVT, VT-Piccolo/MV family, Jenni Crum (who put me over that 50% edge so now I owe a really big embarrassing story tonight to -- give me a little bit to type it up!! I hope it's a funny enough one for ya!), and so many anonymous others who helped out today!!! Can we make it to 60%? Will we get just $1 each from 2,755 people? Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU everyone!!
45% to our goal!!!! Goodnight everyone and *hugs* of joy to everyone who has helped donate and/or spread the word, especially on a day like today, which found me as the victim of a stolen credit card...it's all part of my journey to healing! There has to be some hard days, I suppose, that make you really appreciate the things you once never really gave much thought about being about to do.
We just hit 43.5%! And I just found out that my visa debit card info was stolen...lots of ups and downs in life...often all at the same time! Luckily I didn't have $6500 in my account to cover that big trip that the credit card thieves were trying to take on my tab, although I would have gotten the money back from the bank thank goodness. LOL...if I HAD $6500 I wouldn't be needing the fundraiser! :/ Thieves suck...but it makes me happy to see all the love on here! Thank you SO much everyone and keep spreading the word!!
We're over 40.5% now!!! Can we make it to 50% today??? Every little bit counts!!! The doctor's office called to confirm my pre-op physical and to see if everything was going ok. I think I'm going to have back surgery after all thanks to everyone!!!
Uh...Houston? We're at 36% funded right now...Oh no, there's no problem. Just a whole lot of very generous people out there.
Thank you so much everyone!!!!
Oh my...what???? 27.17% of the goal reached??? This is just amazing! You all are making me cry! I'm getting together my "gift pack" thank you cards for everyone who donates anything they can! More about this tomorrow!!
Hey everyone! We've hit over 20% toward reach the goal amount in just over a day! Can we make it to 25% by the end of the day? Every little bit counts! My back surgery is all I want for Christmas...this is all I want for the next FIVE Christmasses! Help me get back to work in 2013! Help me despite my insurance company!!!
A few of you have asked me if you can donate offline and the answer is YES! Just send me a message on FB or send me an email from the contact button at the upper right hand side of the fundraiser site and I can tell you how! And then I can add it on my end as an offline donation once I've received it and it will add to the total on the fundraising site! :)
And a special "shout out" to everyone who has helped so far ($600!!) and to my New York Spine Surgeon Team of Dr. Stern (neuro) and Dr. Neubardt (ortho) -- you can find out about them at http://www.safespinesurgery.com/
Hi! I'm Michelle and this is me (I'm the one on the right in the picture!) with my significant other, Chris, a few years ago at Disney World when I could still travel and move around with ease. Fast forwarding to today I need to have major back surgery and due to insurance issues, I need to raise at least $6,000 to cover what insurance will not cover and the deductible that my insurance needs me to meet, along with a few additional things like a walker, etc to use while I am in recovery.
One day about two years ago I bent over to pick up a piece of paper and was not able to get back up. In tears and searing pain, I called for an ambulance and they took me to the hospital where they did an MRI. I had somehow herniated several discs and no one knows exactly why. And boy DID I herniate those discs. While trying all the conservative options for treatment, my back just got worse and worse. Those discs became so bad that there's no fluid left inside them and they've now collapsed onto my nerves on the left side of the spine and I'm losing feeling in my left leg, which can sometimes last for hours at a time. The longer the discs stay this way, the more I risk permanent paralysis. And now? I spend nearly every day just lying on my back, crying, exhausted from the extreme pain I'm now in, and never being able to have a moment's escape from the pain.
They ran test after test to make absolute sure that I needed such an extreme surgery...and I passed each test 100%, including the dreaded Discogram (not even close by a longshot toward being as fun as that might sound). So I met with my surgeons and after many long talks with them and other surgeons, fusion was the only option I had left. But they have new less invasive fusion options now and so my time in the hospital with be minimal and the recovery time slashed in half! So I'm scheduled for surgery in January and I can hardly wait to finish be on my way to being out of pain!
And that's where I need your help...since I hurt my back and we moved to New York, I haven't been able to work. I have insurance but it is it only covering 80% of the surgery (and boy was it a fight to get them to cover that much!)...which originally left me with having to pay $40,000 (the 20%). Well, after hearing my story, my surgeons decided that they would waive all the pre-op visits and post-op visits and that I could pay the "cash payment" equivalent to the $40k that I would be left with and do the surgery for a flat fee of $5k. I will then need to pay a $500 deductible for my insurance to cover the $160k (so I will pay an additional $500 to cover the 80% that insurance will pay). And then there are some additional costs of medications and things that I will need during recovery.
So encouraged by all of you, my Facebook friends, I'm starting this fundraiser! And because I'm taking my life back, I thought "who was I and who do I want to be when I'm recovered?" Someone that loves adventure, laughing, and making people smile. And I'll be blogging much much more about my healing adventure and how your help has helped me at http://spineadventures.com/ where I talk about what it's like to go through all the needed tests, the surgery, and the recovery. And through my blog I hope to help provide a resource for others facing the same thing. I've waded through a LOT of scary stuff on the web so in the hope of helping clear things up for others I will be brutally honest about it all if it will help someone else! And it will provide everyone who wants to know all the gory details with, uh, that resource too. ;)