This GoFundMe is a collaborative project between some very close and good-hearted friends and family, and I said I would write the description here since I have all the nuts n' bolts info and would like to tell my story.
So, look, I don't really do fundraisers like this and didn't think I would for this topic so I want to do my best to be the two things I strive to be in my daily life about everything else: CLEAR AND NOT BORING.
I've been wearing prosthetic legs since I was a tiny infant cherub and they have served me well enough for basic function and mobility. I have also used them to serve candy on Halloween, shelter kittens, pose in front of Fred Astaire's Walk of Fame, and trip boyfriends in the middle of the night. I make the best of them.
(This is NOT the DreamLeg, it's my old one!)
A few months ago my artificial leg - which was brand shiny new and one out of a series of many failed attempts at securing a proper fitting prosthesis over the past 5 years - completely snapped in half on the stairs of Ossington subway station in Toronto. I was on my way to perform at a show and it buckled right underneath me with zero warning. I fell forward and caught myself before I could tumble down the stairs. I'm lucky I wasn't hurt and I'm lucky that it didn't happen moments earlier while exiting the train, or crossing an intersection, or tightrope walking across Niagara Falls as I like to do on Sunday afternoons, etc.
My agent who was across the street at the comedy club came over and carried me like Superman from the subway to the stage while my weird dangly dead fish leg flopped around in front of passersby
"LOOK AT MY LEG!", I shrieked at people's bewildered faces. "LOOK AT ITTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!"
Then I performed my set sitting on a stool and this was the one good thing that came from it because I felt like Marc Maron and used my stage time to pompously chain smoke and yell a lot about what just happened.
(The smoking part is not true but, like, the ESSENCE of that MOOD was there.)
A very special kindred spirit in my life came to pick me up, plop me on his bike, stuff my busted gam into a bag with the foot sticking out, and steer me home.
It took a few blocks for us to realize we could have just called an Uber. But it was the sentiment and a fun way to ride through the city feeling like E.T.
This brings me to #DreamLeg. For years I have been researching state of the art prosthetic limbs and keeping up with awesome technology. As it stands, (hahahahahasdfghjk;uy54reliuh) the average artificial leg in Canada without any bells and whistles costs between $8-$20k excluding repairs, adjustments, transportation costs to/from the facility, physiotherapy, etc. A percentage of this cost is covered by ADP (Assistive Devices Program, in Ontario) and in some cases The War Amps organization or insurance companies, all depending on circumstances surrounding the cause of amputation. Otherwise, amputees are on their own.
(This is a very nice and well meaning Leg Doctor crossing his fingers in hopes that this one will work without issues; it didn't! Whoops!)
My Dream Leg is the $100,000 Genium X3 leg which is essentially the iPhone 8 or Maserati of legs.
It's military grade, waterproof, has a microprocessor knee, senses your motion, has activity modes like running and walking, has a stumble recovery feature to LITERALLY CATCH YOU if you start to fall on the stairs of Ossington station. It's the world's most advanced leg and it would change my life.
After feeling completely dejected with the Leg Process - the endless appointments, the mediocre technology, the breakdowns and repairs, back pain, the helpless feeling of being in a limited body with a limitless mind, I decided I deserve to have this Robot Leg and a better quality of life. My plan was to tell my story and use my comedy career to raise money through a series of shows and projects.
Once my family got wind of this, they took me out to dinner and presented me with a huge, exceptionally kind, amazingly generous offer to help me fund #DreamLeg no matter what it takes.
This was a beautiful, tearful moment I won't forget and the start of #DreamLeg fund. Over the next few weeks, however, a barrage of messages came rolling in from friends and family asking how they could help too. Comedians started banding together to start fundraiser shows to help my family.
I began to realize that as amazing as it is that my family wants to help me pay for this leg, I can't in good conscience just snatch this up and quietly live my new Robot Dream Babe life.
It is a LOT of money and I don't want to turn away people who really want to contribute to help me and my family. I also don't want to turn away an opportunity to discuss and make movement on a huge issue: making this type of technology for amputees more accessible and affordable long-term.
I know I equated #DreamLeg to a phone or a car but realistically it's not just a luxury item toy, and that's how the government views it right now, which is the problem. There is a REASON why it's going to make my life better and in another post I will break down the math in simpler terms of why it makes more sense for our government to develop a plan for better prosthetics and how it will actually cut down the costs long term.
So, this is where we are. There is a series of comedy shows in the works, meetings with MPs, and then there is this little page where if you feel so inspired, you can make #DreamLeg happen not only for me but hopefully, going forward, for a lot of other people too. Please check back for jokes and updates.
Thank you x1000 in advance to everyone who is giving, and to the Leg Doctors (professional term) who have been doing the best they can for me over the years.
"ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR ROBOTS."
I DON'T KNOW, WHATEVER. ALSO I WANNA BE ON 'DANCING WITH THE STARS'.
- Leonard Chan
- Kate O'Reilly
- Brian Korb
- Lon Wood
Organizer and beneficiary
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