Help Sandy and Zach with Elder Care

Over the last two years, our dear friends Sandra Lory and Zach Tonnissen have been struggling to care for their aging parents through a variety of intense illnesses and medical emergencies. This has taken an emotional, as well as financial toll on their family. This Gofundme campaign aims to raise enough money for Sandy and Zach to get back on their feet, while continuing to give their parents the support and care they need.

Many of you know Sandy as an herbalist, traditional healer, food justice and garden educator, and tireless advocate for social justice. Zach is a natural builder and carpenter, as well as a talented musician. They both are committed organic gardeners and homesteaders, who, through their work, and who they are, contribute enormously to the community in diverse and enriching ways.

(Zach helping Sandy's mom)

Sandy's mom, who lives with them, suffers from Alzheimer's and accompanying frequent seizures and mini strokes, while Sandy’s dad is currently in recovery from open heart surgery, dealing with other health issues, and living nearby in temporary housing. Zach's father has been living with Zach and Sandy for a year and a half, but is now in temporary housing and has stage 4 cancer. Their days are filled with medical appointments, hospital visits, attempting to find and train home health care workers, and helping their parents with an endless list of everything from paperwork and phone calls, to personal care and end-of-life care. In order to provide support for their elders, Zach and Sandy have had to drastically cut back on their own work hours, accumulating debt, and using up their savings. 

(Sandy and her sister, Yvonne, with their Dad)

Even with help from their siblings and extended family, Sandy and Zach are in need of some extra support. Currently, they are down to one functioning vehicle which is a pickup truck, and often find themselves stranded due to muddy or icy mountain roads with one or more elders when the truck is with Zach at work and Sandy is using her mother’s 2WD car. Recently, an ambulance coming to help Sandy's mom got stuck in their driveway during an ice storm and so driveway repairs are a necessary improvement, along with her own car’s repairs. They used the last of their savings to keep their parents afloat, and don’t want to lose the homestead they created, both because it is a home base for the family, and because they still hold the intention to create an educational farm for community benefit in the future. 

With financial support from friends and community members, Sandy and Zach hope to be able to get respite care for Sandy's mom, and to continue to help their fathers through each of their transitions. Other needs include repairs for Sandy's car (or perhaps even a down payment for a new one that has 4WD), and driveway repairs in order to make it passable for caregivers.

Thank you for considering making a donation to help these extraordinary, loving, amazing people and their parents. It takes a village! Thanks for being part of it.

(Zach and his dad taking a break from house-building a few years ago)

(Sandy and Zach on their wedding day with Sandy's father)


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    • $30 
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    • $120 
    • 36 mos
  • linda coble 
    • $100 
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  • Sherry Rhynard 
    • $50 
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  • Patty Stewart 
    • $50 
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Organizer and beneficiary

Lydia Russell 
Calais, VT
Sandra Lory 
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