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Diane Gentile Medical Fund

$44,128 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 483 people in 5 months
Created November 30, 2018
Friends & Family
on behalf of Julia Friedman
On November 26th, while on tour in Italy, our dear friend and colleague, Diane Gentile, was seriously injured when a boulder crashed through the windshield of her vehicle. She has since been hospitalized and will be heading in for surgery before flying home to consult with doctors in New York. Since the accident occurred abroad Diane’s health insurance will not cover the entirety of the medical expenses and she will be unable to work for an, as of yet, undetermined period upon her return home.

In addition to the looming medical bills, we are hoping to help offset travel costs and living expenses while she recovers. Diane is an amazing, strong woman and artist, as well as an important part of the music community, and we hope that we can band together and show her the support she deserves. No amount is too small, and every last donation is so greatly appreciated.
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A note from Diane:

I want to thank everyone for your concerns and sweet messages. While on tour in Italy, driving on the highway to our next show in Cantu, a boulder fell off a truck in front of us, flew through our windshield and knocked me out. My guitar player, Alfonso Velez, was behind the wheel and luckily, was able to get me to the hospital quickly in what was a scary and dangerous situation. Thankfully he is fine. I am having surgery here in Bologna and will be recovering for a little while. I look forward to returning home and getting back to playing music soon.
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From Diane, Update 7 PT 2:

Rimini is another seaside town with a distinct aroma; Salt, flowery and thin, like a lovely light blue hyacinth. The air was nothing like the Pacific Northwest, nor the East coast for that matter. I imagined the beaches would be covered with candy cane red, pink and green umbrellas during the day. I could almost hear the accordion in the seashore tide. We very unfortunately missed Jesse's show at the phenomenal local City Museum but briefly saw the inside of the place. They have a space dedicated to Fellini, where his "Book of Dreams" is kept. The sculpture of the Crocifisso is also there. It's an overwhelming moment to see this beautiful Christ hanging on the cross. We joined a very large group for dinner at a local seafood restaurant where all the food the promoter ordered for the table was fried, except the spaghetti. On our way to the hotel, we passed a transvestite hooker looking for a score on the street of this lovely little town. How Fellini.

The Rimini Motel was fine. There were 3 German male students in a room next to mine and they were playing some loud games. I saw them in the hallway later on. They were all very blonde and wearing the same exact supremely tight shorts and t-shirts, reminding me of the 2 girl ghosts that haunted Danny Torrence in The Shining. I had to move my room to a quiet floor where I slept soundly. My mind's eye saw that overwhelming image of The Crucifisso at the City Museum. I thought about the characters at that last supper sized fish fry. I saw flashes of the transvestite hooker in his messy red lips waving to cars in this little quaint saint like city, I heard the loud laughter of the German Triplets, and I felt like I was starring in a Fellini film.

The next morning the big sun had returned. I was very rested and really looking forward to playing again that night in Cantu. I heard the show was sold out and I was feeling great. I had an espresso, got the car, and we took off. Alfonso drove again. I am a control freak and I normally drive but for some reason I gave him the keys. He drove slower than the day before and I was relaxed and didn't nag. We were really content, excited and having a fantastic ride. I felt completely safe, warm and comfortable. We were mid conversation about Lenny Kravitz at Madison Square Garden, while driving on the Autostrada, Italy's highway, through Bologna, when the rock landed.

Here I am. I keep rewinding. I don't want to admit I am still functioning at 65%, not 100%. Everybody says "oh you look great." I feel lousy. I don't have nearly as much energy. I've gained some weight. My hair is falling out from the surgery. I've read this happens but it doesn't make me feel any better. More than anything I want my energy and my smile back. You can't see it from the outside but the titanium plates on the inside are a real drag. The Doctors have scheduled a surgery for me the first week of June. They are supposedly going to fix my "appearance" (my sagging eye, my frowning mouth). Let's all hope this is it. I really never ever want to revisit surgery again.

So I keep rewinding. There's something to the past that connects to the present and future. There's something about my journey then that holds the answers to the now and to the tomorrow. Everything that was is something that is and something yet to be. Ah - fuck it! At least I'm alive and still have my family and friends and my guitar.

Love you all,
Diane
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From Diane, Update 7, PT 1:

Hi Everyone. I have been meaning to get an update out but I've been mentally scattered. Sorry and I hope this isn't going to be too long.

I must start with a big thank you again and again and again and over again to you all. I can't tell you how much it has meant to me that every single one of you have taken the time to post to me or to share a few dollars with me or sent me a beautiful card in the mail or a check or just keep saying hi. It's enormously endearing to me and I will not forget. If I haven't gotten to you personally yet with a note, it's coming.

I finally got up this morning thinking about everything that has gone on with me since last August 2018. I was working full time and had planned a vacation that I really, really needed. I hadn't taken a vacation in a few years actually. I was going to Seaside Oregon for 5 days to see one of my best friends who I had not seen in a very long time. She had herself, gone through a wicked medical problem with seizures and lost her license as a consequence. After 4 years of really difficult days, things just began turning around for her. After going to Dr. after Dr. and trying different med's and then finally seeing a nutritionist, she found a balance and got her license back. We had a really beautiful time out west. Seaside is a strange old timey carny type of a town. You can almost hear the merry-go-round tones and funhouse chatter that don't exist there any longer, rolling in the relentless tide. The water is lovely and the trees are definitively northwest in size. Every water town has a distinct aroma and Seaside has one that is sweet and cold with a touch of wood and green floating through the air. Being with Nancy and Josh was a really relaxing time and seeing her back on the upswing was most wonderful. She's a red head drop dead gorgeous trooper of a soul. They own Cleanline Surf Shops in Cannon Beach and in Seaside. Josh is one of the true original surfing stars of the 1970's. Together they get it done right.

When I arrived back at the airport in NY on Friday at around midnight, I went to the lot where my car was parked. The car was dead. No electricity. I sat in the airport parking lot for 2 hours waiting for a tow truck to give me a jump. I must have left the interior light on when I initially left NY and the battery drained. No one was around. At that time of night, the airport parking lots are deserted. It was very quiet and everything looked gray and brown. The air smelled of gasoline fumes and thick August street sweat. My phone had died too and I was pretty much sitting there staring into space. I felt unsettled in the silence and alone for such a long time. Two days later I received a call that my other best friend, my sister Elda, had passed away unexpectedly. This call turned my world around. So that's what the dead car in the airport was all about.

The next few months, September and October, were full of moving on and getting on - and communicating with the hundreds of people who so loved my sister. I received calls from everyone everywhere and emails too. The stories were endlessly fun and deep and people wanted the connection to her. No one expected to lose her. She was a riot. Really one of the most full of life people. Whatever she did, thought or spoke was of a grandiose nature. She loved the word "fabulous" and for a moment, we were somewhat "Absolutely Fabulous". I spent 1 year in 2008, out of work. Beside writing my album Caught in a Wave, that year, Elda and I worked on her book. She wrote it, I read it, edited and suggested. We also wrote 2 screenplays. One based on her book and one from scratch about the Bratles (the first kids punk band and the only kids band to open for The Clash during the NYC Bond Street shows). Then we started a new fictional screenplay - a high suspense story of a girl who picks up a spirit sitting on a Mayan Ruin. That was Elda. She was super fun. We would write while talking via Skype. Or I would drive up to West Hurley and we'd spend a few days knocking some wine down and some words around. Then I got a call to go back to work. That very fun year came to an end. So did September and October and the calls and emails began to turn to the upcoming Elda Stiletto Memorial I was planning.

November. I began deciphering the lyrics to The Stilettos songs and getting them out to the guest singer lineup. The Memorial show was now put together and the hard, inspirational work began. Stilettos songs are not easy and Elda's vocal was fast. I started reviewing some great footage sent in of her live performances too. Meanwhile I had been working on recording a bunch of songs for an album of my own. I also was rehearsing a live duo show, Diane Gentile with Alfonso Velez, for the upcoming Italy dates we had booked in support of Jesse Malin. I was still working 50 to 60 hours a week and work was full on. I convinced myself this was crunch time, like studying for exams, and that I could do it all and then some if I just focused and stayed very rigid with myself. No extra curricular fun. No games. No late night movies. No long phone calls. Limits.

I got to Rome on Friday morning. I was happy to be there. The city had a lot of graffiti, more than I remembered. I checked into a fine room and went to sleep for a while. There was an amazing record store down the block from my hotel. I noted that I wanted to drop off a "Motorcycle" single before I left. I went to the Piazza Navona, a real touristy place, but I love the Fountain of Neptune, the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the musicians in the Piazza. There is something magical about standing in front of the Fountain of the Four Rivers. It pulls you in and doesn't want to let go. One of the Palaces surrounding the Piazza used to house Innocent X, a pontiff. How astounding a view for the Godly man with the name of a porn star. I went to dinner and went to the venue to check it out.

The next day I met Alfonso and Derek and we went back to the Piazza Navona and did some shopping. I bought a beautiful vintage scarf in an overpriced vintage store. We went to soundcheck. We had 10 minutes to check. We rushed. I ran back to the hotel, getting slightly lost, and changed my clothes. I ran back to the venue and went right onto stage. We did a good show and I was happy with the performance. I was on top of the vocal and confident. I felt people enjoyed the show. Here I am singing my heart out in English to a roomful of non English speaking Italians. That's when the melding of melody and simple chorus's make a whole lot of sense to a songwriter. The weather turned bad and Alfonso and I walked back to the hotel in the pouring rain with our gear. We were soaked.

We spent way too long at the airport the next day getting a rockin' rental car to drive to Rimini, a seaside town on the Adriatic sea in Italy that I was excited to see. It is the childhood home of Federico Fellini, the great Italian Film Director I revered. It rained hard the entire day and the drive had me in tatters. Alfonso drove. I was a bit hung over. He drove fast. I nagged him the entire trip to slow down.
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From Diane, Update 6:

It's been 3 months and 3 weeks since the Maxillo Facial Surgery I had in Bologna Italy at the Maggiore Trauma Hospital. When you get hit as badly as I did, they don't want to tell you the truth at first. So everyone said 3 months and you'll be feeling better and all will be healed. Three months isn't a lifetime. it's a quarter of a year. Its a season. I figured that couldn't be too bad being that I'd be house locked for the coldest months of the year: January, February and March. If I had to be jailed, that would be the best time I guess. I do, however, like the cold. I like bundling up and warming up from the cold but f I had to give up a season, I guess this would be the right one to have to hibernate through. Like a bear, I slept in. Like a prisoner, I resentfully accepted my temporary fate. Sadness lurked.

I gained some weight. My doctor said I am not allowed to put my head over and down and I am not allowed to run or exert myself. I've been a runner and athletic most of my life even though I was also a smoker. I forcefully went cold turkey Nov. 25th, so I was bound to put on a few pounds. Combine that with the fact that after surgery, something chemically happens to your body because your brain says, s l o w d o w n and b u l k u p. It's a misery. Smoking cigarettes in my eyes is a sexy habit. But like all things habit wise, some we have to put away forever and this was one of them. My friends are all pushing yoga on me again and meditation. I tried a short run last Friday. I began walking and thought i should push myself. So I pushed, tripped and fell on the sidewalk outside of Con Ed. I pulled a ligament or something in my wrist. So I've been in a wrist brace for a week now and I can't play guitar.

I am going to talk about our health care system at some point but not now. I want to get through these further surgeries and lose 15 pounds and get back to having a regular energy level in the daytime. Then, I will write a lengthy financial update regarding healthcare in the U.S.A. All I hear is my hero Joe Strummer singing "I'm so bored in the USA" in the background. I feel like I have a large square of steel in my face. I kind of do. Seven titanium plates and screws. They don't melt. They aren't heavy but my face is heavier with them in it for sure. My skin has fallen. That's a little to do with age, but when you are broken in an area, your muscles no longer hold things together. You have to re-tone. My eye - I am permanently disfigured with my left eye. The pupil will not dilate. So if I go out into the sun, I really need my shades. They aren't for show. Wherever there is bright light, I need to keep my shades on. Can I see? Yes. I got a prescription today for glasses. No contacts yet. When i complete the surgery (hopefully in May or June), I will be back to contacts supposedly 3 months after. Supposedly 3 months after.

I see a Therapist every week to discuss Trauma. I never really knew what Trauma was until now. It is something traumatic that happens in your life that's powerful in bringing upon change. I don't like the changes that have been a consequence of this Trauma so far. Today I'm unhappy that this has come upon me. The Maxillo Facial surgery happened on Dec. 4th. It's been 3 plus months. I am still in great discomfort, disfigured and sad. They didn't lie to me. They just gave me hope and helped me go into a winter hibernation. I am supposed to awake now. I'm supposed to come out of hibernation. My 3 months lock up is now looking like another 3 or 4 months. I started reading about Titanium Plates. They say 1/3 of people with titanium plates end up getting them removed because of infection or pain but that could be a very difficult procedure because as they begin to heal in you, your body tissue grows around them and they just get more entangled and buried inside. Fear. The idea of going back into my face to take titanium plates out would probably send me to the Bronx Zoo - permanently.

So many beautiful friends of mine have written me lovely cards and texts and emails saying things like "you're a fighter", "if anyone can get through this you can", "I don't need to tell you to stay strong, you're one of the strongest people I know". I thank you all for the reminders. Every day I wake up, there is a different "feeling" in my face. Once day it feels like fireworks shooting off through my skin. Another day it feels like ants hammering on my bones from inside. Another day my eye is swollen. Another day my front teeth are completely numb. And on and on. This is the norm. And I'm kind of sick of talking about me. My friend Will Sexton and Amy Lavere were in town playing music this weekend. I really wanted to see this show. I didn't feel up to it yet. I'm not ready. Will I ever be ready again?

My friends at Velvet Elk Records are releasing my 12 inch vinyl called "Little Things" out on June 7th. These are songs I recorded prior to Italy. I love them. Paul Storey had surprised me a year ago with his camera and I found the beautiful photos and was able to get a 12" cover together with Gillian Stoll who did the artwork. I'm looking forward to releasing the music but doubtful I can get a live set together for a release party. I will never say never. Hopes and dreams come in little waves of visions. I envision myself going to the movies, meeting new people, dressing up and putting on makeup, meeting friends for drinks, singing on stage, falling in love and making love and doing all these things feeling the way I used to feel. No discomfort, free, thin, fearless, unfazed, strong, vibrant, youthful. The sadness is that my life is not that and it will not be coming back as it was. I'm struggling with saying goodbye to things I loved so very, very much. I keep waiting for the end of the 3 months but the truth is that everything before these 3 months is already gone (like my dear sister Elda) and I'm in something like The Twilight Zone, that holding space where nothing moves. That's today.

Love you all.
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From Diane, Update 5:

I want to thank everyone again for your selfless donations. Thinking back to November, pre the attack of the “stone”, I was going about life with a fierceness of someone on a mission. I love to work. I was involved in a life where everything seemed to need immediacy and everything felt so important. I loved being in the middle of everyone and everything and always finding something and someone new in and around me. The daily inspirations were true for me. They were as simple as someone coming in wearing a stunning bracelet or hearing a spectacular song. Whatever floats your boat. Days were pretty exciting and things always least expected occurred. Days were full of surprises and I loved that. That doesn’t mean I loved the unexpected “incident”, which we all know was quite a surprise.

I tell you this because what I am experiencing now is more insular and outside input is limited. Not so fun, not so stimulating. So I caught up on movies with my one and a half eyes. I truly love film. This year though, film has been less inspirational. I don’t know if it’s the lack of quality, if the stories are just so recycled or if it is my attitude. Obviously film is personal, like music. So some of you may disagree with me but not one film this year hit me like Fargo, Annie Hall, The Shining, the God Father, Dead Poet’s Society, Poltergeist, Clockwork Orange or Reds did. This year we had the humorous and heart breaking BlackKKlansman, Roma and Green Book, The Black Panther (really?!), The Favorite (which I found uncomfortably strange), the reborn A Star is Born (I enjoyed Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper) and the very depressing Vice. I am going to watch the hostless Oscars this year. I like the gowns and the styling and the red carpet hoopla but I am hoping for a better year of film overall next year. I did love the soundtrack to Green Book and the film is sticking with me and I will want to see it again. I also would like to see a real ass kicking host for next year.

So I’ve been going to the Doctor every week. I still have a lot of water in my face - it’s very swollen and it hurts. The below lid to my eye droops and behind the top lid, there is a deep crevasse. My site is cloudy. I am on continued eye steroid drops for another 4 weeks until the swelling in the eye reduces. At least the redness is gone. I am sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night but getting long walks in during the day if the outside temperature is above 42. I am looking older than expected and it’s hard to look in the mirror some days. This is temporary. I know this. There are people I have spoken with who have told me they know others who have gone through similar experiences and have come out on the other side in full glory. I honestly thought I was the only one who ever had my facial bones crushed. I thought I was the only one that could have experienced this kind of pain. I guess it is because I never heard of anyone getting this injured from a flying rock through a window. That’s pretty unique. But the actual injuries themselves have been experienced by others who fell off ladders or were dropped onto boardwalks on their faces - strange things like that. People have harrowing accidents, It’s a part of life. We all suffer at some point. Thanks much for the kindness of my real friends and family. I have nothing but enormous gratuity to you all. Eventually I will find that happy place. I’m going to try to remember my only mission right now is to heal and that happy place is soon to be. So is that inspirational place. So is that amazing film And maybe I’ll find that place to write a new album that will inspire me and you. Maybe I’ll go about life again soon with a similar fierceness of someone on a mission. it’s a great feeling.
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$44,128 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 483 people in 5 months
Created November 30, 2018
Friends & Family
on behalf of Julia Friedman
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