Stand By Mama Shoshana!

What do you do when you receive a phone call from a friend who has always been strong, dedicated, generous, compassionate, and selfless?  You listen.  And after you listen, you act.

I am asking for you to help someone very special with a donation.  Shoshana Phoenixx-Dawn needs assistance to take care of her recent overwhelming medical bills and expenses.  She has become unable to work due to illness and disability.  While taking care of her sons, she is transitioning into becoming a home-based business owner.  Are you willing to help her by donating to cover the short-term medical bills and long-term investment in becoming a private business owner?  The greater details and her story are as follows:

Shoshana has been a friend of mine for over 30 years. We met at GLYNY, (Gay Lesbian Youth of New York). Which for us, was our high school/family-as-it-should-be, and community all rolled into one.  This was in the first days of HIV and AIDS. It was a profoundly challenging time and place to come out and honor ourselves as we emerged into adulthood.  Her openly queer, Jewish, identity is reflected in her compassion to others as she naturally evolved lovingly into a 19-year-old, “Mama GLYNY”. Her parents died that year, and she instinctively knew how important it was to open her door and life to LGBT youth, many of whom would get kicked out of their homes upon coming out. For many of us, she provided a safe place for friends to meet, and was always willing to listen to anyone who needed to talk, even though she was barely older than us.  Already then, she considered the caring of others to be a necessity, a mitzvah.

Shoshana moved to the Bay Area in California and continued her good work.  She managed the SPCA in San Francisco, worked with World Institute on Disability during the creation of the ADA, and then served a residency in Berkeley to become an interfaith chaplain.  Ever since, she has trained, counseled and supported adults and children dealing with terminal illnesses, (and students/volunteers wanting to learn) using art modalities and nontraditional approaches, including creating quilts for fundraisers.  Anyone who has met her, knows that Shoshana wears her passions and opinions on her sleeve with her unique and colorful personality on full display. She equally has an amazing skill in dropping down and bravely holding the hand and shared sacred space with many of us in our grief times.

Shoshana has a beautiful pair of boys, adopted through foster care that are now approaching the teen years. They are incredible, special, brilliant boys who have a handful of disability related challenges in their lives as well.  Though Shoshana and Nann are not a couple, they orchestrate, parent, educate, support and love their boys in each of their homes differently, and remarkably.  The love these boys receive, is a blessing.

As most of you know, Shoshana has had a lifelong challenge with serious medical issues. Multiple surgeries, including 3 heart repairs, 2 pacemakers, gastric bypass, and a few others have each taken their toll.  Whether it was procedures or medication side effects, antibiotics, the inability to absorb medications or food nutrients, including iron through her system, and pancreatitis, these illnesses have caused progressive sensorineural hearing loss that has left her with severe tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, brain fogged and mostly deaf. If you thought she could talk loud before… imagine now.  Shoshana has had to become “voice-off” in most situations with an interpreter to keep the service provider cognizant of her hearing loss. All of this has culminated in her inability to continue working in the capacity of a grief program leader, at least in spoken English. She is needing now to regroup and reimagine how to provide the role of listener and guide to those whom she has devoted all of her adult life.

Practicing and developing her ASL skills, taking care of her sons, and dealing with medical costs have overwhelmed Shoshana.  As she continues to seek help from professionals and friends, SSDI, Dept. of Rehab, etc., she cannot make ends meet.  She is financially strapped. This situation, for the ever independent, competent, self-directed Shoshana Phoenixx-Dawn has been a psychological blow she is working through.  This is why I decided, that I could do my part in bringing her plight back to those of us who know her, (or wish they did).

Shoshana's goal is to independently provide care and comfort to the community through her healing quilt projects and individually commissioned art work pieces, workshops and classes that combine the healing spirit and art. She has her reseller’s permit and is showing her work at a Farmers market monthly. She has part of a website, “Mama Shoshana’s Matzoh Ball Palace and Quilt Emporium partially completed, but it is not yet functional.

Shoshana has always gone above and beyond for community and friends.  Now is the time for us to be there for her.  Shoshana needs assistance in paying off her medical bills and keeping her head above water for her and her sons. Every day now she is getting a better handle on accessing care, and completing the commissions she currently has in progress. Soon she hopes to debut a real working website to share her gifts and talents around the globe.

I am asking for you to help her now with a donation.  Shoshana needs assistance to take care of her medical bills, take care of her sons, and make ends meet while she tries to transition into a new approach to her work, and becoming a home-based business owner.  Anything that you can donate will help.  Are you willing to help her by donating to cover the short-term medical bills and long-term investment in becoming a private business owner?


For the immediate time, we need to raise $3,500 for her medical bills and other bills due imminently.

For the future, we want to raise $15,000 to get her business up and fully established.  She has obtained a reseller license, but there are many expenses to getting this off the ground.

Although every dollar is important to help Shoshana and her family; If you are willing to make a $500 or more donation, Shoshana will gladly design an inspiring, custom one-of-a-kind quilt for you or a loved one.

Please donate whatever you can to support someone who still continues to help others.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Thomas Approbato 
Oakland, CA
Shoshana Phoenixx 
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