This is not an easy letter to write. Asking for help is never easy. I’m sure you agree that admitting you can’t carry your burden, requires putting your pride in your pocket.
Before I continue, let me introduce myself. My name is Hannah. You may know me, you may not. This story isn’t mine, so I am merely telling it. This is the story of my beautiful aunt, Taryn.
If you are reading this, you have had the privilege of meeting, knowing and loving our Tarry. You are blessed, as few people get to meet an angel in their lifetime. You may also know that Taryn’s story is a tragic one, and it continues, tragically.
I need your help to try to give Tarry’s story a happy ending.
Five years ago, at age thirty four, Taryn was diagnosed with ALS - the most common type of motor neuron disease. The disease is very rare in people under fifty and gives its victim maybe two to four years to live. You most probably know that there is no cure, yet.
Five years ago Tarry was told that the motor neurons in her body (the nerves responsible for transmitting brain signals to the muscles) would degenerate and her upper and lower muscles would slowly weaken and eventually become useless.
As you know, Tarry's two precious children, were so little at the time of her diagnosis. Tess, a beautiful four year old girl and Campbell, a gorgeous one year old baby boy are now nine years and six years respectively.
Tarry’s awaiting fate was a devastating tremor that shook the ground that she, Gavin, Tess and Cam stood on and also plunged us all into agonising helplessness and pain.
When a calamity like this one strikes, families are thrown into violent storms of seemingly endless war and turmoil. Sides are taken, blame is thrown and grief can cause cracks in a family that needs to stick together more than ever. We have at times projected the anger we felt at Tarry’s disease onto each other because we couldn't face the reality.
Coming from a broken family myself, I know the importance of unity. So I can promise you that I take no sides, I have no agenda. I have no reason to misrepresent anything to you.
Tarry has been so strong. She stares unwaveringly into the greedy eyes of her disease every day, fighting back with everything she has. She cannot lift her arms, but she has carried us all through this devastating time.
As Tarry’s disease weakens her body, through love and determination she has strengthened her mind, her heart and her soul. Physical strength fades in all of us, but mental and spiritual strength grow.
Tarry is still the most understanding, wonderful and loving wife to Gavin and the most loving mother to Tess and Cam. Her illness has been confusing and painful for them too but they understand, probably better than anyone else, that their mommy is the same Tarry that we all know and love so much.
If you have chatted to Tarry on her Tobi-eye Gazer, you would know that she is still the kindest, strongest, most wonderful woman with a spirited sense of humour that we have always known. ALS does not affect cognitive function.
Tarry’s selfless, giving personality has never wavered. She gives everything that she is to the people she loves and those she holds very close to her heart.
Tarry gave us courage and hope when there was none. She has an amazing capacity to love and also to forgive unconditionally, and to accept what most of us could never. She accepted her illness with astounding grace and battles alone with both the physical and emotional pain that it constantly brings her.
A disease like this strips away your dignity. It has left Tarry exposed and vulnerable. However, I think that at this desperate point in her life, her eyes have been opened. She has learned so much. I believe that only when pride has been burnt out can one truly find the core of ones humanity. Rock bottom is not a curse. Rock bottom becomes a solid foundation, upon which you can rebuild your life with the help of those who truly love you and support you.
Tarry doesn't ask for help, but her burdens cannot be carried by just one person. Life’s pressures are hard enough to deal with when you can move, when you can talk. Being a mom is hard enough when you can hug your children and drive them to school. Financial pressure, hard enough when you are able to work and get a job. But Tarry is unable to do any of these things. She is completely dependent.
Tarry relies on a nurse to change her in the morning and brush her teeth. She is dependent on her immediate and extended family to meet the added expenses of her carers, her medical aid, helpers and her children’s needs. Her situation is one of serious helplessness. The reality is that many, many more people like Tarry are in exactly the same situation.
My own family has started to crack under the financial pressure. Although they have tried hard, and will continue to, they can not keep up with all the costs.
At a point of desperation coupled with a vision of a better future for Tarry and many more ALS patients, my mother, Taryn’s sister, created a foundation in honour of her beautiful sister. I know that in this situation, there are so many good and kind people out there who want to help Tarry, but don’t know how to.
Donations received by Taryn Dickinson Love on gofundme, will help pay for Tarry’s rising medical aid costs, her carers, her nurses, medications, and the needs of her children at this time. The Foundation when registered will continue to generate these kinds of donations to other people in Tarry’s predicament. Teddy Love came about because of the love, adoration and inspiration between sisters.
Hopefully, in the years to come, Tarry’s foundation will be globally supported and in a position to give many other families the help they need in these dire situations.
It hurts deeply to see somebody you love, live, not only with this devastating illness but with the added pressures of finances. We can make a difference if we all work together.
I'm reaching out to you today to ask for your help. Our family needs you, but more importantly Tarry needs you, and her family need you. The smallest amount could make the biggest difference to Tarry’s life. Thank you for hearing me.
TEDDY LOVE FOUNDATION
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