In short, he's one-of-a-kind and for 73 years has been an equally exquisite bright light in our world.
Right now, I'm trying to get the word out ASAP since he's due to begin chemo in the next few days and needs good food. He has also lost a number of teeth as a result of previous cancer treatment and needs to get that tended so that he can eat vegetables, etc., that will help boost his body's ability to fight the disease. He has past due medical bills, expensive chemo treatments, needs to get back and forth to treatments, and in general needs help supporting the household as chemo is likely to initially make him unable to continue working--if he can at all. And we're talking about a man who is about to turn 74 and STILL working to earn a living.
Look. Amandus is one of the most amazingly talented people on the planet. His wife and life partner Kathleen, who is one of my closest and dearest friends, raised three children who are now contributing to the betterment of our world in enormous ways. Amandus is an Einstein of a genius. There is nothing he can't design or create. Kathleen's job on the planet was delivering babies (she spent a large part of her career as a nurse midwife, trained at the prestigous Frontier Midwifery Program in the Kentucky Appalachians) and furthering the cause of infants and children, primarily on the Coeur d'Alene Indian reservation. She sang at my and Phil's wedding, for a number of years has performed with various internationally-known acapella groups, and is an artist in everything she does. Her homesteading approach to life and working a piece of land sets a bold example of what it means to live close to our Earth. Amandus, Kathleen, and I connected deeply almost on our first meeting back in 1993, and my friendship with them has factored deeply into my writing, into the stories I tell, and the way I live my life.
Please give! Amandus needs to take a break from his manual-labor job in order to recover. He needs to get his teeth taken care of. Plus, he and Kathleen need to keep paying their mortgage on their modest little cottage. They are among the most deserving folks I know, who for the first time in their lives, are in need of critical financial support. He's had treatment off and on for 18 months, and they are drained dry---to the point of being worried about getting enough nutritious food.
To support this effort, my publisher, Jodi Thompson of Fawkes Press in Fort Worth, will give an e-book version of your choice of a number of books including my own Jagged Edge of the Sky , Blue Moon Vegetarian , or Blue Moon Vegan to each person who donates more than $25. You'll receive an email from me with links and information to your e-book copy.
Each person who donates $50 or more will also be placed in a drawing for one of 5 signed copies of my new novel Jagged Edge of the Sky , which was a nominee for the Pulitzer, among other awards, and has been added to the Read the Pacific Northwest recommended list at Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon.
As it has been since the invention of people, need makes us not strangers, but brothers and sisters.
Amandus before cancer:
Kathleen and granddaughter:
Not many of our generation can say they've been married 40 years. Kathleen and Amandus met literally on the freeway in Seattle. They were each driving the exact same model of1967 Dodge van, both had bandanas tied around their heads in the same way. Literally---literally!---pulled to the emergency lane to say, "Who the heck are YOU?" All these decades later, they are still going strong.
Amandus a month after the first cancer surgery:
For a while this summer, Amandus was cancer-free. Now he has a hotspot in his pelvis that is imminently treatable. Please help us support this bright light in the world.
Kathleen and Amandus are the among the most unique people I've ever known. The kind who take their kids out of school to spend a year abroad. They inspired the McMurtreys in Jagged Edge of the Sky to an extent, as they journeyed to Germany with their children, traveling on a shoestring, to meet Amandus's family and for the sake of the education, generational continuity, and so that their kids would have a more balanced world view. They are the kind of people who start ukelele bands and refinish the Grange Hall floors on their own nickel and with their own backs.
I could go on and on, but sum it up to say--they truly deserve this help.
- Shirley Miller
Organizer and beneficiary
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