Shirley & Jeannie's "Help" Fund

My name is Shirley Goldberg and I am 87 years young .  I have one child, my daughter, Jeannie, 57 years.  I have always believed that part of being an adult is to take care of yourself and your family.  And, I have tried to live by that despite hard times.  However, we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of having to ask for your help.  

When I was just 30 years old and pregnant with my daughter, I had a massive stroke.  I survived, but lost the use of my right side and the ability to speak. At that time, I had to rely on my husband and his family to care for me and our baby.  With time, I recovered, learned how to speak all over again (though with a “strong accent”), and I was able to help raise my daughter.  Except for my remaining disabilities, we were like any other "normal" family.  We had a good life.   When my husband died after 40 years of marriage, it was extremely difficult for me, but my daughter helped me through it.  

As the years passed, my daughter became ill and I tried to care for her.  I even re-mortgaged the house.  When she recovered, she made a good living, helped support me, and paid the mortgage,  

We were doing well until Labor Day, 2011 when Jeannie had a freak fall and shattered her leg--all from a moment of carelessness.  And for 3-1/2 years, she was confined to a wheelchair.  

The initial repair to her leg was very complicated, and it had its problems.  Her leg was crooked, the hardware started to come apart and break among other complications.  That first surgeon kept saying, “wait, wait, it will be better, it will heal.”  After two years, we got tired of waiting and found a new surgeon who is wonderful, at the top of his field, specializing in her condition.  Jeannie had a 2nd surgery last year and her leg is now straight.  The surgeon had to take out all the old hardware from the first surgery that was embedded in the bone, remove a lot of scar tissue, break the leg again, and reposition the leg, adding new hardware to hold it in place.  It was a major surgery.  After 6 months, Jeannie was able to use a walker, but only for two months, her leg couldn’t stand it and she was put back into the wheelchair.  

The bone still was not healing and there was still a large hole inside.  We were warned that this could be a complication due to the difficult surgery.  The surgeon did not believe in waiting around, wasting time, risking Jeannie falling and breaking the leg in half.  So, she had to have a 3rd surgery in January of this year or risk being permanently disabled, and not walking again.   This one was extensive bone grafts.  Taking lots of bone from her pelvis and packing it around the femur and added another metal plate, all of which will hopefully get the bone to heal, thus helping with the constant pain.  However, there was a complication relating to the bone grafts and 2 weeks later, there was yet another 4th surgery in February, and her needing to stay in the wheelchair for a while as we see how the healing progresses.

This beautiful little girl saved our sanity until her untimely passing. 

Jeannie cannot work much due to the pain and the pain killers which cloud her creative thinking. The result of this accident has been devastating.  It has ruined us financially. I have Social Security and Jeannie, Disability.  But they are in no way enough to sustain us without the steady income Jeannie used to bring home.  

Over the last three years, we have gone through all of our savings, Jeannie's retirement fund, sold our jewelry including my wedding ring and Jeannie's car--there is nothing left.  

Everything fell to the wayside.  We also fell behind in the mortgage payments and the bank has been actively threatening foreclosure of my  home of 60 years—at 87 years old.  A close friend got us a good modification, but still, we are having trouble making the payments.   We could not even rent a decent apartment in this city and surrounding areas for the price of the new mortgage payment so we have no choice but to stay.  

We have been going week to week, trying to get by with the bare  essentials with the help of family and friends as needed.  But, money for critical expenses like Jeannie's health insurance is hard to come by.  It is very expensive.

And, we must maintain this insurance in order to keep the specialized surgeon and ongoing care and treatments that Jeannie needs.  The state-run policies cannot help us now.  As many of you know, our  insurance issue has been an ongoing struggle for the past year, but it’s now come to a head.

Jeannie’s health insurance is in danger of canceling.  We don’t have the money to pay for it.  We are worried sick.  

We have to go day by day in this, hoping to keep the insurance.  We have always found a way to survive, but now, we are at the end of our ropes and afraid.  We have to find a way to pay Jeannie’s health insurance and the mortgage, and survive until end of November, four more months, when Jeannie should have recovered enough to work productively and consistently once again and literally get back on her feet--finally.  We truly thought that she would have been recovered by now, but it has been so slow going.  It’s very upsetting, but what choice do we have.

Jeannie is now working a little. She is very talented and has a few clients again, but unfortunately, it is not enough.  When things are better with her health, she should not have trouble finding work.  We are confident that things will improve then and we will be able to do more to help ourselves and others.  It’s just getting through the present.

Our family and friends have all done as much as they can to help.  We have been very blessed with kind, supportive, caring people in our lives.  

When my friend’s daughter mentioned this forum to me, I was at first too embarrassed.  My brother said that I was being prideful and that people need to help each other.  He said that we are all on the same planet and that is what keeps us connected and I should not be embarrassed to ask for help in this extreme situation.  He said that my giving to charities for over 50 years was no different--only this time, someone gets to choose specifically who to help.  

So, I got up the courage to reach out to all of you and, tell our very long story.   Ours is certainly not a unique situation nor is it more deserving than others, but we have tried everything else, including religious organizations, and we are asking for the kindness of strangers for additional help to get through this extraordinarily difficult time. 

Bottom line, we need the most help with paying Jeannie’s health insurance and the mortgage.  That is our main priority with this forum.  If someone wishes to help more, we would be equally grateful.

Please know that we are looking for a helping hand, NOT a handout.  My pledge is that when Jeannie is working again, and we are back on our feet, we plan to "pay it forward" and help someone else in trouble.  So, in helping us, you will also be helping other people.  Two or three for the price of one, you could say.

I try to remain positive, but I am also scared at my age. Truth is that I have no where left to turn.  I know everybody's strapped these days, but if there is anyway that you could help us, every little bit will help.  We  would be so very grateful.  
Any contributions will go directly to my daughter and me—no one else!  As well, if you could share our story, we would be most grateful.  We thank you in advance for your generosity, your time and efforts, good thoughts and prayers.  My sincere blessings to all of you out there as well. 

Sincerely, Shirley
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Shirley Goldberg 
Los Angeles, CA
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