While I had known Shaun since high school it really wasn't until some 10 years later - after his diagnosis - that our paths crossed again. I was looking for creative help with a computer game idea that I had, and Shaun, who was writing a novel at the time, seemed like a perfect fit. Shortly thereafter we formed Madlab Software (with Shaun also handling the business end) and over the course of the next decade we worked closely together, developing 4 Jagged Alliance games and became the closest of friends.
Throughout that time period Shaun always kept his illness private, even from the people who worked with him. In 2004, when the disease became progressive and he could no longer work, he quietly slipped away from the gaming community. I know the years that followed were extremely tough on him and his family, physically, financially, and emotionally. Without Shaun’s income and dealing with a multitude of additional medical expenses, they managed to raise 5 children and survive for over 10 years by selling what they had and making serious changes to their lives, including moving over 12 hours away to a more affordable and less humid part of the country.
Almost three years ago, Shaun finally accepted the realities of his illness and filed for his disability pension. Though it is not much on a monthly basis, it would have allowed the family to continue. It should have taken no more than 5 months. Instead, it continues to this day, and now involves expensive lawyers and medical experts. Currently, Shaun is waiting for a court date, which is expected to be in 3 to 9 months, with a decision to follow 3 months later. Though his doctors and lawyers are confident he easily qualifies for his pension, the government seems to be counting on Shaun not being able to continue the battle. He would have been forced to stop a long time ago had it not been for the financial backing of friends and family.
Now his situation is even more fragile. Penniless, unable to work, unable to meet his basic day to day needs, including paying for all of his medications, he is now looking at the possibility of lasting up to another year without his pension and further medical and legal expenses to obtain it. Since his pension is administered where he used to live, all of these appointments are over 800 miles away and require related expenses. In addition, Shaun is seeing a neuro-surgeon next month in anticipation of having neuro-surgery on his neck to relieve the pressure on his spinal cord. The hospital is 200 miles away.
Something that is easily forgotten is that Shaun must endure all of this while battling his illness. Shaun is at a critical point in his life, and regretfully can no longer afford to keep his situation private. In order to continue, for his family to survive the months that lay ahead, Shaun is desperately in need of funding. I am appealing to all those who have enjoyed his writing, characters, voiceover work, and design contributions that help make Jagged Alliance the game that many of you enjoyed to do whatever you can to help out.
- Gergely Guruz
- Aaron Datsko
- Stephane Oliet
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more