Derek's Medical Bills

$111,563 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 2,215 people in 20 months
Brina Wingo
on behalf of Victor Brockwell
 DALLAS, TX

On Saturday, January 14th, Derek Whitener finished acting and singing in a show at the Firehouse Theatre in Dallas, Texas .  After the show he stopped by Target on his way home to buy groceries. On his way out of Target he was brutally attacked by 2 masked men in the parking lot. We don't know who they were or what their motive was at this point. All we know is they beat my friend so badly, that on January 15th he was rushed into surgery to stop the bleeding on his brain. Before his surgery he was having difficulty forming words - a horrifying thing for someone as smart and quick-witted as Derek. They believe the surgery was a success but won't sure until the swelling subsides. He is currently in the ICU, and the overall the recovery will be at least 6-8 weeks. He will be unable to work that entire time. We've set up this GoFundMe to help offset the cost of medical bills and loss of income. 

Derek is one of the most creative, passionate, and unique individuals I have ever met in my life. He just accepted a position as the artistic director of the Firehouse Theatre, a community theatre in Dallas. The level of outreach he has done through his artistic endeavors (singing, acting, costuming, etc.) has touched the lives of counless individuals. I know he has inspired me to be a better artist since the day I met him over ten years ago. 


Please help one of my dearest friends overcome this horrific tragedy. Let us drive out hate by coming together and showing what love can do.

-Brina Palencia on behalf of all the friends and family of Derek Whitener
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This update is long overdue! I am happy to report that Derek has improved greatly. He has been able to continue his therapies with no problem thanks to the financial support this campaign provided. He still cannot work at the same intensity as he did before the attack, but he was able to return to his job as artistic director of Firehouse Theater. He even returned to the stage as Orin Scrivello (the dentist) in Little Shop of Horrors. It was so incredible to see him perform again, especially in Little Shop. When he was still in the hospital and couldn’t speak, “Suddenly Seymour" was one of the songs we used to help him with his speech therapy. To watch him singing and acting again (and killing it!) when just months ago we didn't know if he’d ever fully regain his speech was awe inspiring, to say the least. To celebrate how far Derek had come this year, his incredible partner, Victor, threw Derek a surprise party just before Christmas. At the end of the party, surrounded by family and friends, Victor proposed. He of course said yes. Not knowing Victor was going to propose that night, Derek had already planned to go ring shopping for Victor the next day. I think it’s safe to say they are both ready! The trials and tribulations these two faced last year are overwhelming, yet they came out of it more in love than before. I can think of no better way to end 2017 than with their engagement.

On behalf of Derek and his family, I want to thank all of you again. Without your support, this hellish event would’ve been even more unmanageable. It’s because of people like you that Derek received and continues to receive the treatment he needs with no worries. As we enter 2018, remember that love can drive out hate. Let’s keep showing the world what love can do.
Night of the Engagement!
Derek and me after Little Shop!
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A lot of people have been requesting an update on Derek's progress. The criminal case against the people who attacked him is underway, and we've been asked by the police department to not speak publicly about Derek's progress at this point. Thank you all for your patience as we navigate this part of the process. We will update you as soon as we are able.
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Derek got his stitches out today. While he continues to improve everyday, he is still limited. He grows tired very quickly. It took him a few days to recover from going to the concert, though he doesn't regret it. His speech has improved the most though it's still slightly labored, and he is slower to remember words the more tired he gets. It's also difficult for him to read and write. He wants to make sure everyone knows that he won't be able to respond to all the messages he's receiving because of that. He'll need to do occupational therapy on his right hand and physical therapy. They set up his first appointment today to assess how often and for how long he'll need those therapies.

The photo is of this morning. Before he got his stitches out, I showed Derek how to do do ink marbling, also known as suminagashi. He said it actually worked his hand a lot, so hopefully that'll be something else he can do to strengthen it. He is so ready to get better, and he asks that you all be patient with him. It took all his strength today just to paint and go to his doctor's appointment. As soon as he's able, he wants to see everyone. It just takes a lot out of him right now. He definitely wants everyone to know how grateful he is and how much you inspire him to keep going and getting better!
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Last night was another great night for Derek. First, they caught the second attacker! So grateful to the Dallas PD for their tireless work on this case! Second, Uptown Theater held a fundraiser in his honor. There were some amazing performances, but the best part? Derek was in the audience. He insisted he would only stay for 30 minutes, but he stayed for the whole show. I know he was exhausted because of it, but I have no doubt it was healing for his soul. I know I keep saying it, but thank you, thank you, thank you all for your continued support and outpouring of love for Derek. It continues to move and inspire.
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Read a Previous Update
Doug Wright
20 months ago

You don't know me, but I'm a Dallas native who now writes plays and musicals in New York. Very moved by your story, and wishing you a complete recovery.

+ Read More
Bart Scott
20 months ago

Derek and Victor - Lauren came to us and said she wanted you both to have $130 she raised by dog sitting for 13 days over Christmas Break. You both are like family to us and we will be praying for a quick recovery.

+ Read More
Ellen L Kay
20 months ago

Derek, you don't know me, but you know my daughter well. When she says you're family, that means you are FAMILY. Do what the doctor says, rest and accept the help you are offered. If this campaign is any indication, you have many prayers and lots of support. God bless.

+ Read More
Aaron Hofeling
20 months ago

Hey Derek. We haven't spoke since high school but want you to know that I am thinking about you and wishing you a speedy recovery. Stay strong friend.

+ Read More
Lisa Trevino Goodman
20 months ago

Check out the Crime Victims program to assist in paying for expenses and therapy.

+ Read More
Shannon Heimann Cross
20 months ago
9
9

I have loved seeing the productions Derek has been part of, and seeing joy in the faces of friends who have posted photos with him over the last few years. Prayers for a steady recovery and for those responsible to be found and prosecuted. Also for strength and comfort for his partner and other family and friends who love him dearly.

+ Read More
Jeanine Forestieri Panarelli
20 months ago
7
7

You do not know me but I'm from NY. I wanted you to know that there are some of us who, even though we are complete strangers, are praying for you to get better soon. Kindness and compassion will always win over hate! Stay strong!

+ Read More
Kelsey Dahlke
20 months ago
6
6

You don't know me, but I was active in the DFW theatre community about 3 years ago, before moving to be apart of the San Diego theatre community. I want to wish you a complete recovery and it breaks my hear that this happened. :( My family and I are thinking about you! Hang in there. You are very loved in the DFW theatre area. :)

+ Read More
Jenny Tucker
20 months ago
5
5

Wonderful news! So glad he's recovering - been praying hard. Derek you are loved. Thank you for the updates!

+ Read More
Lisa Osborn
20 months ago
5
5

Hi. You don't know me but you're a friend of a friend. I just wanted to wish you all the best in your recovery. I'm a Physical Therapist who works with patients who have suffered strokes and brain injuries. Unfortunately you are not the first who has suffered an attack like that. Please make sure you are getting the best therapy possible. I'm not saying I work at the best place but it's very respected in this field and we would love to help get you back to what you love. It's called TIRR Memorial Hermann and you can call 1-800-447-3422 or visit their website if you're interested. Keep up the good work!

+ Read More
Janette L. Oswald
20 months ago
5
5

Derek, I know you only by reputation, but it's a good one! I hope you will recover fully and quickly and get back to the theatre. We need strong men like you!

+ Read More
Denis-Adam Pompa
20 months ago
5
5

My prayers to go to out Derek and his family and friends. I read about this attack today, it's horrible and uncalled for, those that did this will be caught and brought to justice. This happens way too much especially to the gay community. We need for those in power to send a message once these idiots are caught. There was no need to attack him like this. God please hear our prayers for Derek and bring him back to great health for his family & friends. Adam

+ Read More
John Maloney
20 months ago
4
4

Brina - I posted for more support again again on my Face book page. Thanks for your amazing effort. John Maloney

+ Read More
Sarah Fullhart Troeger
20 months ago
3
3

I am so glad to hear his personality is there, what a relief! He is such a caring and sweet soul, I wish him all the best for a full recovery. We are all thinking of him continually!!

+ Read More
Robert LeMoal
20 months ago
3
3

You don't know me . . . I am a Canadian neighbour. This story got me by the heart -- but what got me even more is the amount of many that can be raised by good people. I hope you have a 100% recovery and sending you blessings from Canada.

+ Read More
Karen Agonito
20 months ago
3
3

I don't know Derek, I live in the East but my prayers are with him and it's awful such hate is out there. I hope they catch who ever did this so they don't do this to anyone else!!!!

+ Read More
Dana Seals Gillian
20 months ago
3
3

Victor/Newman my family is so heart broken for you, I told my mom and dad and there so sad about what has happened they sendon't love prayers to you and derek....hope to to more in future to raise support awareness. Holding you in my heart. Love you! Dana

+ Read More
Edward Gutierrez
20 months ago
3
3

Wishing you a speedy recovery Derek.

+ Read More
Jerry Avila
20 months ago
3
3

Sending lots of love and hoping for a full recovery ❤

+ Read More
Janet Jernigan
20 months ago
1
1

So wonderful to see he improvement.. continued prayers with Derek and all his loved ones

+ Read More

$111,563 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 2,215 people in 20 months
Created January 15, 2017
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$858
Anonymous
14 months ago
1
1
$31
Anonymous
15 months ago
PR
$50
Paul/Eva Ren?
17 months ago

Paul & Eva made their cash donation through MainStage Irving-Las Colinas. Unable to read their last name.

DJ
$50
David Johnson
18 months ago

Continued prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

$5
Lee Bowman
18 months ago

Continuing to think of you often and wish you a comfortable and complete recovery.

$50
Anonymous
18 months ago
SB
$100
Susan Burgos
18 months ago

Wishing you a full recovery as we remember our friend Marguerite who passed away on February 15th. She was a talented actress who was deeply passionate about supporting her local community theater in El Paso, Texas. All the best to you Derek! The Burgos Family Dallas, Tx

MS
$458
Mark Shum
19 months ago
1
1

From patrons and friends attending Stupid F*cking Bird at Stage West.

OB
$275
ONSTAGE in Bedford
19 months ago
1
1

Donations from our Patrons during the run of Be My Baby.

Doug Wright
20 months ago

You don't know me, but I'm a Dallas native who now writes plays and musicals in New York. Very moved by your story, and wishing you a complete recovery.

+ Read More
Bart Scott
20 months ago

Derek and Victor - Lauren came to us and said she wanted you both to have $130 she raised by dog sitting for 13 days over Christmas Break. You both are like family to us and we will be praying for a quick recovery.

+ Read More
Ellen L Kay
20 months ago

Derek, you don't know me, but you know my daughter well. When she says you're family, that means you are FAMILY. Do what the doctor says, rest and accept the help you are offered. If this campaign is any indication, you have many prayers and lots of support. God bless.

+ Read More
Aaron Hofeling
20 months ago

Hey Derek. We haven't spoke since high school but want you to know that I am thinking about you and wishing you a speedy recovery. Stay strong friend.

+ Read More
Lisa Trevino Goodman
20 months ago

Check out the Crime Victims program to assist in paying for expenses and therapy.

+ Read More
Shannon Heimann Cross
20 months ago
9
9

I have loved seeing the productions Derek has been part of, and seeing joy in the faces of friends who have posted photos with him over the last few years. Prayers for a steady recovery and for those responsible to be found and prosecuted. Also for strength and comfort for his partner and other family and friends who love him dearly.

+ Read More
Jeanine Forestieri Panarelli
20 months ago
7
7

You do not know me but I'm from NY. I wanted you to know that there are some of us who, even though we are complete strangers, are praying for you to get better soon. Kindness and compassion will always win over hate! Stay strong!

+ Read More
Kelsey Dahlke
20 months ago
6
6

You don't know me, but I was active in the DFW theatre community about 3 years ago, before moving to be apart of the San Diego theatre community. I want to wish you a complete recovery and it breaks my hear that this happened. :( My family and I are thinking about you! Hang in there. You are very loved in the DFW theatre area. :)

+ Read More
Jenny Tucker
20 months ago
5
5

Wonderful news! So glad he's recovering - been praying hard. Derek you are loved. Thank you for the updates!

+ Read More
Lisa Osborn
20 months ago
5
5

Hi. You don't know me but you're a friend of a friend. I just wanted to wish you all the best in your recovery. I'm a Physical Therapist who works with patients who have suffered strokes and brain injuries. Unfortunately you are not the first who has suffered an attack like that. Please make sure you are getting the best therapy possible. I'm not saying I work at the best place but it's very respected in this field and we would love to help get you back to what you love. It's called TIRR Memorial Hermann and you can call 1-800-447-3422 or visit their website if you're interested. Keep up the good work!

+ Read More
Janette L. Oswald
20 months ago
5
5

Derek, I know you only by reputation, but it's a good one! I hope you will recover fully and quickly and get back to the theatre. We need strong men like you!

+ Read More
Denis-Adam Pompa
20 months ago
5
5

My prayers to go to out Derek and his family and friends. I read about this attack today, it's horrible and uncalled for, those that did this will be caught and brought to justice. This happens way too much especially to the gay community. We need for those in power to send a message once these idiots are caught. There was no need to attack him like this. God please hear our prayers for Derek and bring him back to great health for his family & friends. Adam

+ Read More
John Maloney
20 months ago
4
4

Brina - I posted for more support again again on my Face book page. Thanks for your amazing effort. John Maloney

+ Read More
Sarah Fullhart Troeger
20 months ago
3
3

I am so glad to hear his personality is there, what a relief! He is such a caring and sweet soul, I wish him all the best for a full recovery. We are all thinking of him continually!!

+ Read More
Robert LeMoal
20 months ago
3
3

You don't know me . . . I am a Canadian neighbour. This story got me by the heart -- but what got me even more is the amount of many that can be raised by good people. I hope you have a 100% recovery and sending you blessings from Canada.

+ Read More
Karen Agonito
20 months ago
3
3

I don't know Derek, I live in the East but my prayers are with him and it's awful such hate is out there. I hope they catch who ever did this so they don't do this to anyone else!!!!

+ Read More
Dana Seals Gillian
20 months ago
3
3

Victor/Newman my family is so heart broken for you, I told my mom and dad and there so sad about what has happened they sendon't love prayers to you and derek....hope to to more in future to raise support awareness. Holding you in my heart. Love you! Dana

+ Read More
Edward Gutierrez
20 months ago
3
3

Wishing you a speedy recovery Derek.

+ Read More
Jerry Avila
20 months ago
3
3

Sending lots of love and hoping for a full recovery ❤

+ Read More
Janet Jernigan
20 months ago
1
1

So wonderful to see he improvement.. continued prayers with Derek and all his loved ones

+ Read More
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