Some of you may know me as Pat O'Rourke and some of you may know me as Pat Da Bear, depending on where our paths have crossed - perhaps through my entertainment company Bears in the City or the charity organization We Bears Care. Either way, you probably know that I'm not usually the type of person to put their business out there for everyone or to ask for help - in fact, I’m usually the one organizing fundraisers for charities such as The LGBT+ Center, The Sisters, Zebra Coalition, etc. , But with the help and encouragement of some close friends, I was persuaded to ask you out there for help now that I am in need.
Here's my story:
[TL;DR: I moved to Chicago with a plan, Covid happened, I got sick and lost my job, and am on the verge of losing my home and now I need some support.]
After spending the past twelve years in Orlando, I decided it was time to move and made plans to head to Chicago. I spent the months prior to the move working like crazy and saving as much as I could to ensure that the transition went smoothly, but as we all know, 2020 had other plans. I signed my lease in February, before we knew the full extent of what was to come and moved to Chicago on March 31st (with a lease start date of April 1st - maybe that was an omen - who knows). Just as I arrived, the city started on lockdown and trying to find a job was extremely difficult. With the help of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and some very supportive people, Havok and I made it through until August when I was able to find a job that I really liked and I was able to get myself caught up on my bills. This job was a sales position that was commission based and I established myself as a top salesman within the first month; unfortunately, I fell ill at the beginning of November. I had both flu and COVID rapid tests done and while the COVID test came back negative, the flu test came back positive. I was sick for the following two weeks (which was a strain on me financially after finally getting most of my footing), but once I was able to go back to work I struggled with going to random doors and talking to people. It might have been the psychological impact of being sick for two weeks in the midst of an uptick in a pandemic, but after another two weeks of not being able to write any deals and not bringing in any income, I became unemployed again. The entire situation put me into a massive depression which left me at the point of not getting off of my couch besides taking Havok out for his walks. Since then I have finally pushed myself forward and have applied for UI (although I am still waiting to see if I even qualify based on my time and earnings at my previous job) and have begun driving for DoorDash. Unfortunately, because I was a partial month's rent behind from November, and with no income coming in through the majority of November, I was not able to pay my rent for December yet and on December 15th the property manager handed me a notice for termination of my lease. I have until January 15th to pay my back rent IN FULL or they will terminate my lease and I will be forced to move out with no funds and currently no job. That is why I am writing this and have set up this GoFundMe campaign.
There is good news on the horizon, however, and I want to share that with you all as well. I am in the latter stages of interviewing for a great company for a job that pays well, is remote, and provides great benefits. I'll be able to get back on my feet with this job, HOWEVER, the position doesn't start until late January. In the meantime I am making some money through DoorDash deliveries, but I will not be able to pay my rent and utilities completely until then.
I have never wanted to be in this position and it pains me to even type this all out and share it publicly, but I need to. I'm looking for a helping hand to help me through this rough patch. I have worked hard for the Bear/LGBT+ Community in Florida (and all over the US) and have dedicated myself to creating charities to support Orlando’s gay causes. If any of my events, Bear Bust, Game Nights, Bearaoke, etc, have ever brought you some joy, I now need to ask a favor: if you have a few dollars to spare, I'll be forever grateful. If everyone reading this can donate just $5 I will be able to stand on my feet again and move forward through 2021.
The amount listed will not only help pay the $2600 in rent that is due by January 15th, but it will also help cover my rent for January as well as my utility bills until I start working at the job that I am interviewing for. Driving for DoorDash will help cover the rest of my expenses including food and some of my other bills.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this and if there are any specific questions, please feel free to message me directly. Thank you again!
- Dean Malka
- Scott Benson
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