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Help me finally meet Sam!

£1,812 of £1,500 goal

Raised by 75 people in 12 months
Created December 10, 2017
Okay, here we go.

BookNetFest is taking place from September 7-8th 2018 in Orlando, Florida, and I would absolutely love to be able to attend. As a disabled individual, travelling to the USA is complicated, and ultimately, expensive. In addition to the costs you would expect with such a trip, there’s also the higher costs that come hand in hand with being disabled, such as specific requirements for travel and accommodation. For the longest time I went back and forth about creating this page, like most people I struggle to ask for help. But when I saw that GoFundMe had a section for Dreams, Hopes and Wishes, I decided to go for it. Because for me and Sam, this is all of the above. I can hand on heart say this is the biggest wish I’ve ever had.

I’ve suffered with ME/Fibromyalgia, long term chronic pain and fatigue (amongst many, many other symptoms I won’t list here), which means I am unable to work, and on average leave my house one day a week, for a few hours at most. For the longest time I felt so isolated, so disconnected from the real world – and then I found the Booktube community. Not only did this give me the space to talk about books, one of the things that keeps me going, it also introduced me to one of my best friends, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Our friendship started over a discussion of our favourite fictional bad boys, and became fully cemented when we buddy read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. That book will forever and always be our ‘friendship book’, and when I met Leigh in London in 2015 I told her the story of mine and Sam’s friendship - she remembered meeting Sam and hearing the same story in the US!  I first became friends with Sam in 2014, and now as we’re heading into 2018, I think it’s been long enough. We need to meet. We need to make this happen.

 
So, why now, and why BookNetFest?

One of the reasons BookNetFest works is because due to my ongoing health problems and disability, I can’t travel alone. To put this in context, I can count on my fingers the amount of times I went into my small town where I live by myself in the last twelve months, and I never go further than that by myself.

Luckily for me, I have a friend who is prepared to take the journey to Orlando with me, to help me make this happen. There are huge barriers to overcome, but with the right support, this can be possible.

 As for why now, honestly, the answer is really…why not? A few people have said to me, why not just aim for 2019? Which given that I am being forced to move house next year after being given notice, does make sense. But here’s the thing. None of us know what will happen in the future, none of us know where we will be or what life is going to throw at us. I think I can safely speak for both myself and Sam when I say that we have learnt that lesson the hard way, and we know not to take anything for granted. We’ve waited a long time for this, and we want to make it happen.

 The other benefit of aiming for an event such as BookNetFest, is that it also gives me the opportunity to meet other people within the bookish community, and also represent those with disability and chronic illness, something I am very passionate about.

 Any money raised will be spent on the varying costs that come with travelling to BookNetFest, for both myself and the person attending with me as a carer. Of course I am saving as much money as I can myself,  and our aim is to attend BookNetFest 2018. If for whatever reason (funds, illness, etc) this does not happen, any monies raised will be rolled over to the following year, to attend a trip of a similar nature to meet Sam from Thoughts on Tomes.

 If you know me, even just a little bit – you’ll know creating this GoFundMe was not easy. But in the last few years I have realised how powerful the internet is, it introduced me to a wonderful community, gave me a place to talk openly about the books that I love, and helped me find one of my best friends. So, here I am. Money isn’t an easy thing for anybody right now, so I am in no way expecting anyone to be able to help. But if you want, and are able to help a little, thank you, so so much.

 

And as Leigh Bardugo said in Language of Thorns, “What harm can a little hope do?”

 (If you’re wondering if we will be filming this, you bet. Both me and Sam have imagined our crying mess of a hug a million times, and there’s no way we won’t have that for you all to see!)

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UPDATE MAY 2018: REWARDS
After some feedback from you guys we have decided to add some rewards to the GoFundMe. Please read the T&C's for each reward before selecting. Please note that the rewards ask for a mailing address by default, postage does not apply to all rewards, please read carefully. I have also put the approximate conversion rate for those of you in the US in the description of each perk. You don't have to select a perk, you can donate as normal. Every $ or £ is hugely, hugely appreciated, and no amount is too small. 

SNACK BAGS: This reward gives you a small snack bag from the UK, put together by myself (Sarah-Jane). Please only select this if you do not have any dietry requirements, allergies or restrictions. These snack bags will be available to pick up at a designated time at BookNetFest. Please only select this option if you know you will be present at the event, and will be able to collect. 

THANK YOU CARDS: This reward gives you a posted handwritten card from both myself and Sam, which we will write during our stay in Orlando. This card will be posted to you within 8 weeks of returning from Orlando. International availibility. 

EARLY ACCESS TO COLLABS: This reward gives you early access to the first two collabs filmed between myself and Sam. One will be on Thoughts on Tomes, the other on The Book Life. This does not apply to vlogs, or collabs we may film that include other creators. 

ANNOTATED SHADOW AND BONE: This reward is for a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, annotated by myself (Sarah-Jane) and Sam. This reward item is only available to those within the UK or the US, and will be posted to you within 12 weeks of returning from Orlando. (Please be aware the price includes the price of the book, and also the shipping.)

The reward perks are automatically set up to ask for your mailing address, due to the Thank You cards and the Annotated Book. Please ignore if you are selecting Early Access, or Snack Bags. 

Any questions, please tweet @BooklifeSJ or @ThoughtsOnTomes
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We've hit the halfway point! Tonight we officially crossed the halfway point in reaching our goal, which is absolutely amazing. Both Sam and I are so, so thankful to each and every one of you who have donated, it means SO much.

Tomorrow, at 3pm UK time ( which is 10am EST!) Sam and I will be having a live show over on her channel ThoughtsonTomes ( www.youtube.com/ThoughtsOnTomes). We will be talking about all things Orlando, and taking questions from you guys too! We will also be chatting with you guys about what collabs we want to create, and opening it up to your suggestions, so make sure you come hang out with us!

Thank you so much for the support!
Sarah-Jane (and Sam!)
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UPDATE: REWARD PERKS

After discussing the GoFundMe with you guys on Twitter, we have created some reward perks! Check out the GoFundMe for more info. I am also running a swag giveaway, and anyone who has donated already is in with a chance to win. Thank you so much, we appreciate it so much!
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£1,812 of £1,500 goal

Raised by 75 people in 12 months
Created December 10, 2017
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