Dear Amazing Friends,
[Update: We did it! We exceeded the initial goal, and Renee has her iPad Pro! Many thanks to everyone who contributed, and to everyone who wishes they could have. We wish Renee much enjoyment from this gift. She says: "Thank you so much, everyone. No other words are sufficient."
And we don't have to stop there. She will have so many additional expenses. Every extra dollar will help with laundry, fuel, food, ... Maybe even an iTunes Gift Card for some fun apps. Check out the extra items at the bottom of this page - maybe you can sponsor one of them! Don't feel like you've missed the boat. Anything you can give now will be a huge help.]
I have known a local woman, both through our professional connections and via social media, for almost a decade. I have been friends with Renée since even before Aikido. I met her when I worked for Red Door Interactive. She worked for a client, Youth Specialties, a publisher of books for youth ministry programs. I am personally assuring you that this is a real situation involving real people who I know in real life.
Renée is a writer. In her book/audiobook, "Stumbling toward Faith" (https://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-toward-Faith/dp/B003KQMFW2/ ) she shares her story of searching for faith and hope even after terrible abuse early in life. She has bravely faced many struggles, with her loving husband Eric by her side at every step. Until recently she regularly assisted at church events, feeding the homeless. Friends and family, coloring, and swimming at the Joan Kroc Center are things that bring joy into her life.
Renée and Eric are utterly devoted to each other. They are kind, open and honest, and loving. Their daughter, with profound developmental disabilities, lives at home. Nineteen going on four. They get by on a tiny budget. Modest people of modest means. For birthdays Renée often asks for Starbucks gift cards, so she can meet friends for coffee and coloring.
In April Renée was hit by a car - a hit-and-run in a parking lot - and badly injured. In the ER and afterward, her insurance provided for no diagnostics or thorough exam. The impact seemed to have triggered ongoing intractable pain. In May she was reporting worsening pain, and could not stand or sit comfortably. She was unable to get around, and spent most of her time lying on her side, in bed. By July, after months of her concerns being dismissed, her doctors began to consider that something might be wrong. There might be help for her.
On July 31st, while waiting to hear when a surgeon might be able to see her, Renée wrote
"The pain continues, throbbing, severe, relentless - no new meds, just the cream and ibuprofen. Mentally I'm reaching another meltdown. All these months I have not been able to go swimming- such a great exercise and happiness booster. I've hardly been able to walk, let alone stand or sit for over a month now. Chronic pain 24/7. No respite. Yeah, it's wearing on me."
In early September, full of hope and looking forward to eventual recovery and relief, Renée underwent what everyone expected would be a surgery to repair damage from the hit-and-run incident. She was so excited. We were excited for her.
Instead, the surgeon discovered a tumor.
- The tumor is cancer.
- Stage 4 rectal cancer.
- It has metastasized to Renée's lymph nodes, liver, and lungs.
- Her life expectancy is 1 to 3 years, with aggressive treatment.
There is only enjoying life as best she can, right now.
Renée is the most grounded person I know. Even hit hard by this terrible situation she is realistic about the future, and is truly living for the present moment. Here is a public Facebook post she shared on October 7th: https://www.facebook.com/renee.altson/posts/10154812615085766
Renée had her first chemo treatment today (Friday, Oct. 20th). The hope is that it may reduce the size of the tumor that is the main source of her pain. If all goes well she may begin radiation treatment next week. Surgery is not a good option.
There is much that Renée and Eric need, and there are several fundraising efforts underway to help. Her friends and church family have been so generous. She and Eric are used to getting by, and helping others. They hate to be on the receiving end. But life does that to us sometimes.
Renée is housebound except for medical appointments, and bedridden. She can't swim now. But she can be in touch with friends, and she can enjoy coloring. It's meditative. It does not require ongoing attention and energy, which are in short supply. But colored pencils and pens are hard to manage in bed, and even harder to haul to a chemo center for long treatment sessions.
I am asking your support to provide Renée with a specific gift:
An iPad Pro, with Apple Pencil, and a premium subscription to the best coloring app there is, Pigment.
Renée is facing a very difficult time, as you can imagine. This is a gift that could enable her to watch movies, talk with friends via video calls, surf the web, and - especially important - to enjoy coloring. For most people this would be a nice-to-have toy. A luxury. For Renée it could be a window to the outside world, a way to connect with her supportive community, respite from worry and pain. A little joy each day.
This particular setup, with the Apple Pencil and Pigment app, lets artists sketch, draw, and color very naturally, with more expression and refinement than just using one's finger or a generic stylus. Equipped with the necessary accessories (see the complete breakdown, below) the cost would be $1,500.
$1,500 sounds like a lot. It's not, really.
I will gladly contribute $100.
A friend who doesn't even know Renee has also pledged $100.
We only need 13 more people at $100 each.
If you can't manage $100, any contribution helps.
If you can manage more than $100, that would be amazing.
Let's get this in Renée's hands by the end of the month. That's only 10 days. Please don't put this off and think about. Let's get it done.
Renée's close circle of friends is already doing so much to help. I am hoping a whole new circle will step in and make this possible - people who don't even know her. I know that I know hundreds of people who wouldn't really miss $100, and whose lives would be enriched knowing that they contributed some happiness to a good woman in terrible circumstances.
Let's not give Renée what my mom calls a "naked Barbie doll." That is, just the core item, for which endless accessories must be purchased. We need to provide the whole working package. Renée and Eric cannot handle any extra expenses or hassle on top of everything else they are dealing with.
I am not dictating which version of iPad, what kind of cover, case, etc. they must buy. I have listed the products necessary for a setup like I have, which I know works very well. They will be free to choose whatever works best for Renée.
Anything over the necessary amount raised will go directly to Renée and Eric, to help cover their extra expenses, fuel, assistance, supplies, medications, equipment, food, and whatever else they need.
It would be nice if there was more than enough.
$1,500 will cover the basic setup. It would be good to have a sturdy carrying case for taking it safely to long treatments and appointments. Bluetooth headphones could let her escape into music or a movie. Money for apps and content (music, movies, or audiobooks) would be a great addition. And of course anything extra would ease their burdens a little, so please, let's not stop at the $1,500 goal.
How to Contribute
Your gift through GoFundMe will be made available directly to Renée and Eric. They are the only ones who can withdraw money from this fundraising page. GoFundMe takes a small processing fee.
If you prefer to give directly, I can pass your gift along to them.
If you know of anyone who can provide any of these actual things (instead of money), or who can arrange for a discount, please let me know. That would be a huge help.
Update: A generous donor has already stepped up to cover the cost ($59.99) of the first year's Premium Subscription for the coloring app, Pigment! That's all the features, all the content. Thank you! You know who you are. <3
Please invite your friends to contribute. This is an urgent and important need.
There are no levels or rewards. You get the knowledge that you've helped in a meaningful way.
Much love, and thank you.
Complete Cost Breakdown
iPad Pro, 2nd generation (current), 12.9", Silver, 64GB (minimum), Wi-Fi (no cellular)
USB Power Adaptor/charger: Included
Lightning to USB cable: Included
Apple Pencil for iPad Pro - for coloring and sketching, the whole point
Pigment - best coloring app (free) for iPad Pro - plus a year of the Premium Access subscription (all the books and features).
Bed desk/tray/stand, adjustable - for comfortable coloring, reading, watching videos, and staying connected with friends on Facebook (and Facetime)
Apple Care Extended Warranty - because it has to just keep working, without costing them anything, no matter what
Pack of 4 extra tips for Apple Pencil
Extra-long (2 meter) power/charging cable - you can't believe how useful this can be, so you don't have to sit right next to the outlet
EarPods (the wired kind) with lightning connector - for listening whenever, wherever, without worrying about charging, connecting, or anything
Protective "Smart Cover" (or similar) - a cover that stays on the iPad, for everyday use at home
Subtotal of all the above items: $ 1,243.00
Approximate Tax and Shipping - Guestimating at 10% of the total price: $ 124.30
Subtotal including Tax and Shipping: $ 1,367.30
Payment processing fee of approximately 7% of any donations made through GoFundMe: $ 95.71
Total, for a complete, functional setup: $ 1,463.01
Some important nice-to-have extras, if we can do it:
Apple App Store Gift Card - to buy a few special apps
Extra cables, charger, connectors, or whatever - because there are always a few little things you discover you need to make it all work
Thule "Gauntlet" Sleeve/Carrying Case - a semi-hard-sided case for taking it along safely to appointments and treatments
Apple AirPods for other Bluetooth Earphones - for watching movies or listening to music without fussing with wires or needing the iPad right next to you
Audible Gold membership for one year (1 audiobook per month)
Audible Platinum membership for one year (2 audiobooks per month)
Netflix, standard membership, $10.99/month for a year
DonationsSee top donations
- Georgene Kruzel
- Jan Myers
- Janelle Shane
- Eric Sun
Organizer and beneficiary
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