Help Disabled Jr Dev Purchase a MacBook

Hi folks I’m Niko, a jr dev from NYC. I’m crowdfunding to purchase a 13” Macbook to keep working towards my dream of landing a full-time software engineer role a reality.

My Dev Story

I fell in love with coding doing tutorials on Codecademy late into the night, while working two jobs. After applying to endless coding scholarships and receiving a sea of ‘no’s’, Pursuit (formerly C4Q/Coalition for Queens) said ‘yes’. Their software engineering program taught me to think like an engineer and solve hard problems. The year I spent translating ideas from user stories to finished products using React and Javascript were life changing. During this time I also jumped into diversity & inclusion advocacy, technical writing, and volunteering. I completed a summer apprenticeship with amazing team at The Practical Dev, then wanting to improve my UX/UI, design, and front-end skills went on to General Assembly.

The Challenge I'm Facing

Two weeks before graduating my General Assembly program I was diagnosed with a rare type of aggressive autoimmune diabetes. The sudden onset of this disease swiftly changed the flow of my days from grinding 12+ hours a day towards my goal of becoming a software developer, to being bedridden from reoccurring fevers, vertigo, and  chronic bone/nerve pain. I found myself unable to properly digest nutrients, keep down food, and at constant risk of stroke and coma. That diagnosis was the first of many as I went into autoimmune march (where one disease triggers another like dominoes) and have now been diagnosed with three additional autoimmune conditions along with multiple cognitive ability impairments, that I'm working to recover from. The sheer number of doctors appointments required per week, increasing physical limitations, and numerous hospitalizations have left me in a difficult situation,  where work or school was not an option. My medical team was adamant that recovery will take at least 2 years and require extensive treatment and physical therapy, and I've been struggling.

What This Fund Would Enable Me To Keep Doing

It's been a year since diagnosis and it’s extremely important to me that I continue to improve my programming skills and stay active/visible within the community.  Despite my current disability, I've continued  volunteering my skills at tech orgs making a difference for the marginalized like: CodeLand, Write/Speak/Code, Hip Hop Hacktivist, She Builds Black, and NY Women in VR. I want to make sure that I’m in prime interview shape and able to finally fulfill my dream of becoming a full-time software engineer the moment I get the "ok" from my medical team or find a remote and disability friendly jr dev or developer relations role to sink my teeth into. Working towards this goal I'm teaching a workshop on binary trees next month ( 120 learners have signed up and I'm super hype about it), taking part in remote hackathons (hacking  with the squad at this month), taking online courses on development, computer science, and design (at Udemy, EdX, Coursera, and FreeCodeCamp),  and have been developing a coding live-stream and vlog series that launches this Summer.

How This Fund Could Help Me Do  More

Streaming/vlogging will allow me to learn while continuing to support and teach others, also to maintain a presence in the community regardless of my  physical limitations. All of my programming and dev rel progress so far has been made on loaned Macs and I will need to return my current loaner at end of April/early May and without a dev machine my plans to continue learning, building projects, taking part in remote hackathons or contributing to OSS, and streaming/vlogging are all dead in the water.

How You Can Help

It’s taken me months to build up the courage to put my ask for assistance out into the universe, due to the overwhelming and daunting sense of shame of needing to ask for help instead of being the one helping and going public with being differently abled/ the circumstances it's causing. But I’ve been bolstered by advice from my network and witnessing the many beautiful instances I’ve seen the community come together to support their own.

I've long believed that curiosity and grit are the only magic required so I’m putting it all out there, the brave and the vulnerable; my dreams are worth a bit of discomfort. If you would consider donating to my future, that might be different than I planned but no less bright, by helping make the purchase of a Macbook pro possible, I’d deeply appreciate it.  Any amplification of this crowd-funding campaign to your social and professional communities would also be amazing and appreciated. 

My Projects, Work With Write/Speak/Code, And Profiles

Breakdown Of Where The  Funds Are Going:

13‑inch MacBook Pro $1599
USB-C to usb  + ethernet adapter $48
Apple Care $269
tax $170.05
GoFundMe fees $94

total $2,180.05
  • Troy Howard 
    • $35 
    • 41 mos
  • Anonymous  
    • $15 
    • 41 mos
  • Charlotte Shreve 
    • $30 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 42 mos
  • Monica Salter 
    • $10 
    • 42 mos
See all


Niko Lewis 
Brooklyn, NY