Help Jade get a robotic arm!

Hi, my name is Jade and I am an up-and-coming Bay Area comedian. I was born with a genetic condition called spinal muscular atrophy, which severely affects my mobility and qualifies me as a functional quadriplegic. I am very grateful to be born to loving supportive parents and other family in the disability community. I moved out when I turned 18 to pursue a degree in Rhetoric and Media at Cal Berkeley and work to launch my comedy career.

I've been comfortably busy, letting my art take me in different directions. But I couldn't do this without the support of my family and a team of wonderful personal care attendants.

While I'm having the time of my life, I fear that I might have reached the limits of my potential. Because I rely on the assistance of attendants to feed me, water me, and help me with virtually all daily care activities, it limits the places I can go. I get self-conscious when I go out to dinner with my friends. And romantic dinner dates are out of the question for lack of privacy.

When I'm at home, there is always something just out of reach. Little things like wanting to readjust my speaker when my cat knocks it over. Or adjust my pants. Or wipe the crumbs off my leg or my face. Or put something in the fridge. Or pick up the bag I accidently knocked over that is now obstructing the path to my bedroom. Or pick my nose. Or take revenge on the fly that always lands on my face.  There are times when I wish I had an extra hand, literally.

Now here's the hard part: I'm writing an open letter to all who will read it, asking for help purchasing a $50,000 robotic arm called JACO. The first time I used JACO was during a demo at the Ed Robert's Center in Berkeley. I poured a glass of water which I never in a million years thought I'd be able to do. It was overwhelming. When I think of A List of Things You Could Do With JACO, I imagine it would resemble A List of Things You Could Do With Your Hand: endless and difficult to summarize. But I'll try. With JACO, I imagine myself being able to:


Drink when I'm thirsty

Eat when I'm hungry

Travel the subway alone/use elevators/open doors

Shop when I want

Put on/take off hats, glasses, headphones, etc.

Get my mail

Wipe my mouth, scratch an itch, etc.

Reach, grab, pick up anything from pretty much any height.


Finally have the privacy and freedom I've been craving my whole life.

It is difficult for me to ask for funding because I like providing for myself. It feels good to acquire something from the fruits of my labor. However, I can't imagine crossing paths with 50 grand in the immediate future. So I humble myself and ask for your contribution. For every donor who contributes I will do one of the following (your choice):

1) Send you a video of me doing something cool with JACO (if I reach my funding goal!) Pricele$$

2) Write you a poem on a topic of your choosing $5

3) Create a South Park version of you or your friend
with the South Park character generator $10

4) Give you a free private comedy show at your place of residence, private party, etc. (as long as you are close by and accessible) $15

5) Photoshop/paint over/create a cool artistic representation of a photograph of your choosing that you have copyrights to (check out my underdeveloped deviantart ) $20

6) Create a cool audio spoken word poetry-esque song thing for you (check out my underdeveloped soundcloud) $50

7)Draw you something cool with my black pen $100

8) Allow you to embrace your inner altruism while I shower you with gratitude. Also pricele$$. Always.

*If you'd like one of the commissions above, please shoot me a message with what you'd like.

**JACO is the most lightweight and dexterous arm on the market. I'm aware that this is an extremely expensive arm. With that being said, if you happen to be or know someone who is an engineer and wants to pursue a low cost robot arm project, let's talk! And with THAT being said, all donations will go directly to funding JACO, unless I find a way to build one, in which case it will go toward that. I promise to keep you updated!


Thanks for getting through this essay. Your support would mean the world to me.

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Jade Theriault 
Berkeley, CA
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