A Haven For Amber and Val

Those of you who know my friend Amber would no doubt summarize her character with the same word I would use: hardworking.

Amber used to be unconquerable. I never knew her to hold less than two jobs. Usually three. Or more. I never knew her to be the second person in a room to roll up her sleeves. And I never—never—knew her to deny help or service to anyone in need. Amber was the dictionary definition of tireless, striving and giving to others with every breath in her body.

Until she got sick.

Her struggle with diabetes over the past few years has cost her more than an eye, her mobility, and the functionality of both kidneys. It has cost her physical strength. Autonomy. Probably of greatest loss, it has cost her the tireless energy she used to have to work and serve.

But if you know Amber like I do, you probably also know that little things—like losing her right eye and needing monthly injections to maintain sight in the left, frequent and unpredictable reliance on a walker or cane, even spending ten hours a day hooked up to a dialysis machine—could never stop her from giving. Despite her own health concerns, Amber still dedicates every waking hour as caregiver to her aging mother, Val, who suffers from dementia.

After a hard North Carolina winter of heating bills and osteoarthritis, Amber has started to imagine a new life for herself and her mother. Somewhere warm. Where she can escape her chronic knee/hip pain, migraines made worse by the weather, and the seasonal allergies that so often exacerbate her asthma. Somewhere with a thriving holistic-medicine community and expanded Medicare coverage. Somewhere they can truly call home.

The first time Amber spoke to me about her fantasy of relocating to Las Vegas, I heard something in her voice that I hadn’t heard in a long time. Something buoyant. Bright. I hung up the phone and tried to move on with my own concerns, but I couldn’t get her voice out of my head. She spoke of Las Vegas like a distant and unattainable goal. A pipedream.

But people move all the time. Why not Amber?

Amber doesn’t have internet access in her apartment, so I started researching what it would cost to relocate from North Carolina to Las Vegas. Moving van rates. Plane tickets (her reliance on dialysis makes a road trip impossible). Application and deposit fees for a modest, two-bedroom apartment she could afford on her fixed income.

A week later, I called Amber with the good news. “It should only cost about $4,000 for you to move to Las Vegas!”


After a few moments, her voice cracked through the phone line. “Wow.”

I misunderstood her hesitation. “Yeah! Can you believe it? How much do you have in savings?”

“Wow.” Her voice dropped. “Four thousand dollars…”

I caught her tone this time. Not exactly buoyant. Or bright. I might as well have said four million.

But I still believe this pipedream is possible.

Amber doesn’t have the funds herself—in fact, she bursts into that familiar peal of laughter every time I mention the word “savings”—but I believe there are enough people in the world who have been touched by her service over the years that together we can raise this money. I believe that generous people like you will read this campaign and find it in your hearts to grant her the gift of a warm, safe, medically supportive haven where she can finally get the rest she needs.

The lease on Amber’s North Carolina apartment runs out at the end of March, so right now we’re scrambling to put together a moving fund before she finds herself homeless. The good news is that, while rising costs in North Carolina have proven a strain on Amber’s limited income for several months now, Las Vegas actually has a much more reasonable cost-of-living. The move will be far better for Amber’s finances in the long run.

If we can just get her there.

Amber might hesitate to ask for charity, despite her need, but I won’t. Below I’ve listed the quotes I put together for her moving expenses, as well as several non-monetary ways you can help.

Amber has spent her life working hard and taking care of others.

I think it’s time we take care of her for a change.

Amber’s Moving Expenses

2 UPack Relocubes w/ Shipping     $2,713
Estimate for 2 Plane Tickets             $1,000
Rent Deposit/Application Fees           $480
Misc. Household Needs                          $200

Non-Monetary Ways to Help
If you live in the Las Vegas area and would be willing to donate the following items, Amber could save money on the shipping of her furniture, cutting the UPack cost from $2,713 down to $1,670. Please message us if you are able to donate these or any other items you think would prove useful.

queen-sized bedframes/springs
gently used queen mattresses
small dining set


 See top
  • Christian Williams 
    • $100 
    • 37 mos
  • Terri Watson 
    • $50 
    • 37 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 37 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 37 mos
  • Susan Orgill  
    • $100 
    • 37 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Meg Grierson 
Springville, UT
Amber Rustin 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more