This is the note I posted on Facebook a few hours ago. A friend of mine suggested I set up a GoFundMe . I agreed with him. With that in mind read on....
So I'm sitting in the family waiting room. Waiting for updates on my father's surgery. A woman walks in, happens to be African American, sits down on the other side of the room. She's on the phone. Talking to a relative about not having slept because she has no where to stay. She hangs up. Looks at me and says this has been a rough week. I said it's even rougher when you don't get any sleep . This is just the beginning of a 3 hour long conversation between her and I.
We trade our stories for why we are there. She's there to be with her brother, who's on life support. Turns out she's originally from Chicago lived there for 30 years. The conversation turns from there about why she's in Fargo. Long story short, she and her husband moved her family away from Chicago to escape the violence I only read about in papers and see on the news. She's lived it, cousin, nephew, brother, sister all victims of gun violence. Just then an older woman working at the hospital walks into the room looks right at me and asks... "Do you need a place to stay?" I say no I'm fine, she turns around and walks out like my new friend wasn't even sitting there. As the woman walks away my new friend says quite loudly "I DO!". The other woman never turns around as she walks away from the room down the hallway. I sit there in silence in utter disbelief. Ashamed and embarrassed. My new friend then looks at me and says " it's OK, happens a lot up here. It's a trade off for keeping my kids safe from the violence" I shake my head, pause for a second and then offer to pay for a room for her to get some rest. She turns me down, not once, twice, but three times. She tells me that even though she only makes $12/hr she won't accept it. She won't take welfare never has. I was stunned again.
For the next 2 hours I learned a lot more about her life. That her husband of 30 years died of cancer a year ago this coming May 3rd. Her brother (the one on life support) came to Minnesota to help her take care of her and her kids. She has been driving 2 hours each way every other day to visit her brother in the ICU. Sleeping on a really uncomfortable couch when she does. She's choosing to not work her regular 40 to 60 weeks (for $12 an hour) through all of this because her family is most important. Because of that she's worried about not being able to pay for gas to come visit her brother and being able to afford to take her kids to see The Jungle Book movie. She keeps a journal and is a pretty good writer. She even read to me some of her very rational thoughts about how poor people should have a better health care system and I was amazed.
We ended our conversation and time together today in agreement with this thought. Do unto others as they would have them do unto you...
Tomorrow before I go to visit my dad I'm going to pickup a few giftcards for her. Enough for her to get some gas and those Jungle Book movie tickets. I'm not taking no for an answer. If you are reading this and would like to contribute to the Help Keisha fund private message me.
Otherwise be kind to people.
In the end if she doesn't take the money again, I will donate ALL COLLECTED FUNDS to the Sanford Medical Center Fargo, ND Cardiac center.
- Chris Karstens
- Nobody Nobody
- Shannon Moran
- adrienne czech