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Thumbs Down Guy needs your help

$4,195 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 230 people in 2 months
I'm Gary Dunaier, better known as "Thumbs Down Guy" of baseball and meme fame.

I'm the Mets fan who, when a Yankee player hit a home run in my team's ballpark, expressed my disapproval with a stone face expression and a thumbs down gesture.

(In September 2017, the Yankees were supposed to play a series against the Rays in Florida, but due to Hurricane Irma the games were relocated to Citi Field, home of the Mets. Needless to say, most of the fans who went to the games were Yankee fans.)

My gesture immediately became a meme, which is still used all over the world to this day.  The Yankees saw it and adopted my thumbs-down as a rally cry, running with it all the way to within one game of the World Series.

Fans still come up to me at ballgames and ask for selfies. They tell me I'm a legend; they thank me for what I did, they're thrilled to see me, and so on. I see all sorts of comments on Twitter and elsewhere about how someone met the famous Thumbs Down Guy as if they had met a genuine Hollywood star.  One recent tweet that stands out is from a lady who thanked me for making her daughter's night by posing for a selfie.

You might be surprised to learn that to this day, I've never been able to grasp how big Thumbs Down is and what it means to people.  Maybe it's because I'm in the center of the whirlwind; I don't know.  And, perhaps, it's better that I don't worry about "why;" that I should just keep riding the wave, enjoy it, and leave it at that, because maybe finding out would be like cutting open the goose that laid the golden eggs.

What's important is that, no matter who you root for, going to a ballgame is supposed to be fun.  And if someone feels that seeing me and getting a photo with me adds to their fun, I'm glad to be of service.

But now I need your help.

I recently had a medical emergency that required a visit to the emergency room. One of my varicose veins opened up and I started bleeding spontaneously.  I had to be brought to the hospital in an ambulance, sirens wailing, and I was immediately taken to the intensive care unit. The doctors later told me I lost so much blood that I almost died; at my lowest point I only had one liter of blood, compared  to the normal 5-6 liters a body needs.

I was in the hospital for five days, but even after being discharged I still need to recuperate and see doctors for follow-up visits. I've missed over a week of work because of this. Before this emergency, I've had medical problems that have required regular visits to doctors. And it's come to a point where I've taken so much time off from work that I've used up all of my sick leave AND all of my vacation leave. So now when I need to be absent from work in order to go see a doctor, the time off is deducted from my paycheck.

For my most recent paycheck, my take-home amount was $734. And because of my hospital stay and time off to recuperate, I anticipate that my next check will be even less. As a result, I don't have enough money to pay my bills. I currently have less than $1,000 in my savings account. Within the next 30 days I'm going to have bills exceeding $1,400 for rent and credit card minimum payments. That's in addition to my day-to-day expenses like food, transportation and other essentials.  My total debts are in excess of $30,000, but right now I'm just concerned about making it through the month.

It's been said that I’m one of the few things fans of both New York baseball teams can agree on.  The Met fans like Thumbs Down Guy because I stood alone in a sea of Yankee fans and showed my loyalty to the orange and blue; the Yankee fans like Thumbs Down Guy because I inadvertently gave them a new rally cry, and because I've been a good sport about being made their unofficial mascot.

Now, I'm down on my thumbs-- er, I mean, knees - hoping Met fans and Yankee fans will unite and help me in my hour of need.

I thank you so very much for your support.

Your pal, Thumbs Down Guy (Gary Dunaier)
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It was exactly one month ago today - June 6, 2019 - that a varicose vein in my right leg spontaneously burst, prompting the huge loss of blood that, according to the doctors, came very close to taking my life.

I didn't talk about it in my original campaign, but my experience in the hospital was very stressful. Not just from a medical standpoint, but from a quality of life angle. I live alone, and when EMS arrived, I was lying on the floor - yes, I had fallen and couldn't get up - so they had to break down my door, knocking down things in order to get to me and get me out of the apartment. My situation was so dire that I was taken out of the apartment with literally just the clothes on my back, nothing else.

I didn't have my wallet, which had my ID and a list of medications I regularly take.

I didn't have my glasses. They must have came off when I fell due to loss of blood.

Perhaps most significantly, I didn't have my phone, which meant I had no way to contact anyone.

So there I was... all alone in a hospital bed, unable to see clearly without my glasses, unable to let anyone know what had happened and where I was, wondering what I would find when I got home (and I had no idea when that was going to be)... there were times I was so frustrated that... well, you don't want to know just how frustrated I really was.

It wasn't until the fourth day that I was finally able to persuade a nurse to let me access Facebook Messenger so I could contact family members. (You'd think a modern hospital would be able to provide internet access to their patients for a situation like this.) After I was finally able to get in touch with someone, it would be another day before I would be discharged.

Not a fun time. Not at all.

Here's the update.

First, I want to thank you for your contributions and the outpouring of love and support you've given me. Some of the headlines and descriptions in the coverage of my plight have been nothing short of amazing. I've never been able to grasp just how big Thumbs Down has been, so when I see something like 12up.com's headline, which refers to "Beloved Yankee Symbol Thumbs Down Guy" and describes me in their article as "the baseball icon, Gary Dunaier," all I can say is... wow.

So... how am I doing?

I've gone back to work, and I've gone to a few ballgames. In addition to the requests for selfies at the ballpark, lots of people just wanted to know how I'm doing, wish me well, and give me words of encouragement. You have no idea how much that means to me.

But I'm nowhere near out of the woods.

I met with a vascular surgeon - the same one who saw me in the intensive care unit. The surgeon told me I'm going to need laser surgery on both legs. I'm not sure when that's going to take place, but I was also told it would have to be done on two separate dates - one for each leg. I don't know how that's going to affect me in terms of having to miss work, for both the surgery itself and the time needed to recuperate. And, obviously, the money issues are still there.

I'm truly grateful for all of the donations I've received. It's a huge relief to know that my short-term goal of being able to cover my bills for the month will be achieved. But the scary reality is that I've still got a long road ahead of me on the way to recovery. I've increased the goal amount to reflect that, and I respectfully hope I can count on your continued support to help get me there - be it financial, be it spreading the word about my campaign, or both.

I thank you so very much.
+ Read More
When the Mets won the World Series in 1969, Karl Ehrhardt, known as the “Sign Man” because of the numerous signs he held aloft at Shea Stadium for many, many years, held up a sign that said: THERE ARE NO WORDS.

And that’s how I feel about your support and your generosity to my GoFundMe campaign. You’ve been a big, big help to me, and I really can’t find the words to express my gratitude. All I can do is make like Bob Barker did at the start of each Price Is Right where he’d walk onstage to cheers and applause, then bow and say to the studio audience: “I thank you so very much.”

Hmm. I guess there are words, after all.

I’m recovering, but I’ll still need to keep taking time off from work for doctor appointments and visits to specialists, and that means my medical expenses are going to continue. I’m still going to need your help, and if you can spread the word or offer additional support, I would really appreciate it.

I thank you so very much.
+ Read More
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Raised by 230 people in 2 months
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