As many of you know, I've been struggling with severe back pain since November. I discovered in April that I have a congenital spine defect called tethered cord syndrome (TCS). This is causing me back and nerve pain, as well as progressively worsening neurological symptoms such as foot/leg numbness, leg weakness/pain, and bladder issues. I recently met with my neurosurgeon and confirmed that I need to have surgery to un-tether/release my spinal cord. Surgery is scheduled for May 22nd.
Despite my condition, I continued working at the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society until I absolutely couldn't manage. I'm home on medical leave for the foreseeable future, but have no income. I'm not eligible for unemployment or federal disability. I applied for state disability, but they said it could take as long as 5 weeks to process. Even then, my payments will only be $50/week because it's calculated by what your income was 6 months ago and I was unemployed last fall. I only started work in December, so my meager savings were exhausted after a week of doctor visits and I have no reserve to tap into.
So here's what I'm faced with:
"“ normal bills (rent/utilities/food/insurance/pets) ~$1350/mo
"“ medical bills (consults, Rx, diagnostics, surgery etc) ~$3300
"“ insurance premium (payments starting August) ~$350/mo
"“ student loans (don't even ask...)
"“ $50/week (maybe) starting mid/late June :(
This last year has been exceptionally difficult and emotional for me for many reasons. However, I've managed to (sometimes just barely) keep it together with the help of my family, friends and my newly formed Oakland community. I feel like I've asked a lot of you recently and right now I don't have anything but my love and gratitude to offer you in return. But when I'm back on my feet, I hope that I might repay you in some way. I ask that you please consider making a donation so that I can pay my medical bills, stay in my apartment, and keep my animals.
If you are unable to make a monetary contribution but want to donate some of your time, I will need people to come by and help care for me and my animals, make meals, do chores, go grocery shopping, run errands, and, most importantly, keep me company.
Any support you can offer will be met with the utmost gratitude...
<3 Elliot (Gideon, Turtle, and Dill)
**Turtle and Dill, all snuggled up!**
**Turtle and Dill, twinsies!**
**This is one of my favorite dogs from work, Harold! He found his forever home shortly after this photo!**
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- britney newby
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