Today I'm reaching out to my friends and music family to let you know that I need your help. I've stood witness to the incredible power that our music family can create through love and I'm calling in a favor.
During my most recent visit back to California, I reach out to a childhood friend of mine named Tony and was absolutely crushed when I saw him. I found him in an unassisted living situation and it was pitiful. Tony can't function on his own due to his disability. He struggles to dress himself. He is unable to prepare food for himself. His living conditions were deplorable and me finding my friend in that situation was heartbreaking.
Tony is a childhood friend whom I always felt a protector of when we were kids. Tony was picked on and bullied growing up because of his disability of severe childhood polio. Tony was taken care of his entire life by his mother until she passed away 5 years ago. At that point he was placed in a fully assisted convalescent hospital where all of his needs were met by medical professionals. Tony's disability limits him in mobility, he needs a walker and can't move around on his own without it. He is unable to stand due to the pain his polio causes. Tony's ongoing needs were met with the money he was left by his mother but the money ran out at the end of October 2017.
When Tony's funds ran out he was told by the facility that he had to rely on public assistance and was no longer able to stay. A case worker found him a place that he could afford within the $900 a month total he receives in social security. The apartment is not set up for a severely handicapped individual. He no longer has access to special equipment that allows him to meet his needs such as showering. The apartment was empty, there was no furniture, no dishes, no cookware, no equipment to help him move around. When I found him he had not bathed in 2 months and he had not been able to take his laundry to get it cleaned. He also needed medical care as it was obvious he had some skin fungus. I've linked him up with being seen by a doctor to have an evaluation.
I was shocked to see that Tony would be left in a living situation like this. How can this happen? I found him terrified and afraid of life. He cried to me that he did not know how he was going to manage without some help. I feel so compelled to help my dear friend and the images of seeing him and his surroundings are terribly upsetting for me. Although the state of California has stepped up to come a few hours a week to help him with in home care.
What's the money going to be used for?
After speaking with him he shared with me that he has a mobility device but it is in need of repair and needs new batteries. This device will allow him to leave the apartment, go outside and get around. He also needs a fully specialized hospital bed and equipment so he can be assisted in meeting his personal hygiene needs. He needs essentials that we take for granted like furniture, cookware, linens and other basic necessities.
Despite his disability he did learn how to drive and utilizes a car with specialty equipment which allows him to get around by using hand controls. However, now that his funds are limited he is at risk for losing the car he currently leases. His ability to drive is all he has in his life that gives him commonality with other people. It is very important to him and me that he be able to maintain a cheap automobile that would be paid for.
The repairs for the mobility device are estimated $2000. The hospital bed $2500. This money will also go towards helping with care and maintaining his ability to drive.
Why this means so much to me?
Tony has no one and the thought of him having no one is unbearable to me. Despite all odds, Tony is a very gentle human being. He is kind. He is a good person. He deserves to live with integrity and without fear. He is 57 years old and is having to take care of himself for the first time in his entire life. The thought of him being so alone at this point in his life with so many needs is agonizing. I found Tony in this situation, on his birthday no less. He has no family and no one to care about him. So I have assumed this role for my dear friend.
How you can Help
Please consider even the smallest amount so we can help Tony and get his equipment to him as soon as possible.
And I ask that you share with your friends and loved ones and ask them to share with their friends so we can make this a reality.
Thank you kindly in advance. I am currently on the road and have had to rely on my family and friends to assist me. My brother and sister having been helping while I'm on the road and I am grateful.