Help Me Get to Where My Heart Is

This is my chosen family, the Roth-McNarneys: Mike, Lauren, and their children, William and Rebekah (my nephew and niece). They live in Orlando, FL.

That's me on the end in the purple T-shirt. I live in New Jersey.

Due to circumstances that are beyond my control, I have to move out of my apartment in New Jersey by the end of the month. The deadline is not negotiable.

I'm not happy in New Jersey. I moved here 11 years ago to be closer to my then-girlfriend and to improve my toxic, codependent relationship by putting some distance between us. Sadly, my mother passed away five years ago. Three months before that, my ex and I had an ugly falling out and have not spoken since. And the last five years have been the loneliest of my life.

I've met some very lovely people in New Jersey, even some I'd consider friends. But I've never managed to form deep bonds, the kind where you know you can call the person to help in an emergency, and they know they can call on you, too. I have no family left except for a few second cousins who, while well-intentioned, don't live close to me and have very busy lives of their own. (I have other second cousins who live 20 minutes way, who have made it clear they want nothing to do with me.) If I had an emergency, there would be nobody local to put down as my emergency contact.

But in Florida, I know I would be near people who love me. Lauren and Mike are the most generous and loving friends I could ever want, and William and Rebekah are wonderful children who adore me and call me "Aunt Eileen." Every time I visit, I feel more alive than any other time, and every time I get on that plane to come back home, I feel the sadness envelop me again. It's obvious to me where my heart is. And after a lot of soul-searching, I've decided that I'm being handed an opportunity to get to where my heart is.

The problem is, I need to pull together a lot of money in very little time. I estimate I'll need about $2,000 to cover the costs of transporting my stuff (after a major purge of what I don't need); repairs needed to make my car roadworthy for the trip; gas and tolls along the way (lodging is covered...I think); tranquilizers for an anxious cat who hates the car; and possibly a little bit of seed money as a cushion in case I'm not able to land a job before I make the move. I've set my goal at $2,200 in order to provide a cushion for GoFundMe to deduct their share.

If you can help out, whatever you are able to contribute, it would mean the world to me. I can't afford to stay in New Jersey, either for my mental health or for the fact that I can't afford an apartment and would need to move into a situation where I'd almost certainly have to give up my two cats (which goes back to the mental health issue). So this could literally mean the difference for me between being in a healthy place for the first time in years and living in my car.

I need to raise the money by June 30th. Again, every little bit helps. I'm not exaggerating when I say that you'll be saving a life.

Thank  you in advance for anything you can do to help!


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Eileen Brown 
Westfield, NJ
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