A little help for John Z

Our friend, John Zoubek, is presently going through a pretty tough stage in his life.  He's been in and out of the hospital many times over the last year, and most recently, he's been in there on an extended basis.  He's been put through the wringer actually, to be quite honest.

Many of you (at least in Chicago, where I'm located) might remember him as part of our team at Vision Nightclub for several years, where he and his camera captured so many of the amazing nightlife moments with so many of the world's most amazing electronic music talents that came through those doors.  Please see the pictures below -- this is how so many of you likely remember him, or the pictures he used to take...

Starting with a multitude of dental root canals in 2016, there was no found cause for his persisting pain.  During that time, he'd regularly be fighting off pneumonia, bronchitis, and upper respiratory infections.  Soon to follow were more infections of several varieties, problems swallowing food, skin inflammations, night fevers, cystic acne, and more to come, carrying into 2017.  

An unexplained blackout episode caused a fall and an impact that popped several ribs out of their rightful place that took months of physical therapy to heal.  Things seemed to be on the mend finally as 2018 rolled around.

Then in March 2018, the night sweats, severe jaw pains, and massive fevers returned.  Multiple doctors and many x-rays later, there was still no cause found for all of John's symptoms.  His condition now began to degrade, starting with his heart rate racing out of control and regular pain on the left side of his face.  A visit to the ER and a CT scan showed nothing.  He was released.  Then, then next day, he returned to the ER, only to be diagnosed with Bronchitis and released once again.  

Another trip to the ER later, he was determined to be septic.  He was prescribed more meds and sent on his way.  The following week, he had a tooth extracted, due to a faulty root canal that was discovered during one of the scans.  This sent his illness back into overdrive, and since then, he has spent nearly countless times in and out of the ER, and having been admitted multiple times, in an effort to stabilize his condition from potentially life-threatening to something less than that.

He's been ruled septic on several different occasions, and has ridden out the storm each time, but each time taking a further toll.  This guy has been poked, prodded, medicated, tested, admitted, released, readmitted, rereleased, and has suffered not only painful recurring symptoms many times, but also some really rough side effects from all of the medications.  He also has kept a very detailed 25 page medical journal documenting what he's been through.  

Now, we could go on discussing the full extent of all of this, but the bottom line is this:  his immune system is totally destroyed from all the medications and antibiotics, and he's run out of moves at his current hospitals in Colorado, where he currently resides.  He has been accepted to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where we're hopeful that they will make some progress in determining the actual cause(s) of what he's being forced to endure, which is a positive thing.  He's hoping to get in there by the end of this week of Friday, October 5th.

However, all of this treatment has come with a price tag.  When this is all said and done, it will have cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Fortunately, he's got some good insurance, and much of that is being covered.  Unfortunately though, he's still incurring out of pocket costs, and they're really beginning to pile up.  Asking for help is something that no one in his position ever wants to do, but sometimes, you don't get a choice in the matter once things reach a certain point.  A broken US healthcare system is certainly a contributing factor here also, but that's a bigger picture issue that none of us are going to fix in the short term.  Thefocus here is really to see if we can help someone.

John has definitely been a good friend to me (and so many of us) in many ways, and he's always been the type of person who would be generous with anything he had to share.  He's a friend in need right now, and he could use a few friends in his corner.  If you find it possible to contribute anything in helping keep him from being buried in medical debt, you'd be doing a good deed to someone who would certainly do the same for any of us if the tables were turned.

Please consider helping him in his hour of need.  No contribution is too small.  And even if you're not in a position to contribute anything monetarily to this effort, please at least keep him in your thoughts and send him some kind words of encouragement.  He needs his friends right now.  Please help in any way you can.

Kindest regards and much gratitude in advance,

RJ Pickens (John's friend and ringleader in this effort)


  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 37 mos
  • Todd & Veronica Smith 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
  • Kornel Tadeuszuk 
    • $500 
    • 42 mos
  • Lorant Alex Kovacs 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
  • Donald Morgan 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
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Fundraising team (8)

RJ Pickens 
Raised $1,545 from 27 donations
Chicago, IL
John Zoubek 
Agnieszka Bielawska 
Team member
Raised $430 from 8 donations
Jared Jesse Freese 
Team member
Raised $125 from 2 donations
Amanda Mears 
Team member
Raised $50 from 1 donation
Mona Florek 
Team member
See all