Judi and Coral's living expenses

$14,520 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 114 people in 27 months
Hi everyone!  My name is Tanya and I am starting this campaign to help my friend, Judi DeJager, and her daughter, Coral.  I have known Judi since our time at Calvin (many, many years ago hahaha) but we have remained close friends.  Judi is a wonderful, caring person who really needs our help right now.  Judi is currently going through a very difficult time and needs financial support.  She is working as much as she possibly can, but due to unforeseen circumstances, has needed to spend as much time with Coral as possible.  She is an amazing mother, but as a result, needs our financial help.  Please consider helping her as much as you possibly can, it would mean a lot to her and to me.  Thank you!!!
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You guys, I cannot even express how awesome this has been. I started this 26 months ago and it is still going strong thanks to awesome people like yourselves. Thank you so much to all of you who have donated to Judi. You are all very much appreciated!
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In just over two weeks, 78 wonderful people have donated almost 9,000 dollars! And that's just been through this GoFundMe site! Some of you have contacted me directly and sent support. You know who you are. ;) As my friend Tanya has said, "I am so lucky to know most of you and... this has all really exceeded my expectations in a way I can't describe!"

If you're wondering, only Tanya knows the identities of everyone who has given through the GoFundMe campaign. Some of you opted to let your name be seen so I can see (and will be thanking) those. I don't know how else to thank the others than to keep saying thank you. :)

As some of you may know, there was some controversy among people I know about how much I initially shared about my situation and my daughter's experience on this public site. Because of that controversy, I had Tanya take down my comment, even though it provided the context for how we are in the situation we are in currently. I've continued to struggle with that dilemma. How else do we combat stigma without speaking out? I saw that someone my friend knows read my story and felt like it was just like her own. Frankly, that shocked me because I feel very isolated and alone. But then, one of the ways I am surviving all this is because there are other people who share their stories.

I know there are lots of opinions about sharing vs. not sharing... I appreciate that other people have different perspectives from me. I am not interested in fighting with anyone. I am, however, interested in fighting the paradigm. Not the paradigm that my daughter has a right to her own story and privacy, etc. The paradigm, the STIGMA that one person's story (say, childhood cancer) is more appropriate to share than another person's story (say, childhood PTSD from sexual abuse).

I can't even tell you the kinds of things people have said about my kid because they judge her and judge her against the standards they have for other kids who have not experienced the things she has. Utterly shameful they would say such terrible things about her - and me as a parent. I doubt I am the only parent with this kind of experience. Shame. On. Them.

Shame has too much power.

Coral was and still is aware any time I share something about her on social media. In fact, she is always interested in her story being shared if it helps someone, particularly if it helps someone feel less alone.

Even so, I had Tanya take down the original comment on this GoFundMe page because I didn't need my people - who hadn't even seen the page yet - making my life more difficult than it already is.

Here is some info from my original comment that I will still share:


Four years ago (in 2013), I was laid off from my full-time job. For the 1st time since 2008, the federal government terminated extended unemployment benefits. So, I got 6 months of unemployment benefits. Of course I continued looking for full-time work, worked part-time when I could and began consulting. I used the majority of my retirement savings and borrowed money from friends and family (you know who you are <3). I continued to become one of 2 final candidates for good jobs and continued to get turned down. And not turned down as if I weren't a viable candidate. The hiring employer frequently asked to contact me and offered me generous compliments and affirmations and let me know that the choice had been difficult. I decided to accept that it was as if God was reaching down and preventing me from getting a full-time job.
Given the number of times Coral has been hospitalized and the increasing complexities of her struggles even when she isn't in the hospital, it has been a blessing that I didn't have a full-time employer I was letting down every time I had to spend 2-3 hours a day commuting to a hospital. Financially, however, it has been devastating. I started earning a paycheck when I was 15 or 16 and continued to work part-time all through high school and college. For better or for worse, I was raised in Calvinism and went to Calvin College and have the stereotypical strong work ethic of a Calvinist. So it has been difficult - in an ontological sense - to be in a situation where I'm struggling to support myself. I've never been in that position before. It's also hard to maintain flexibility and bend in response to each new challenge. It has been especially hard to remember that I'm more than just Coral's mom.
Many of you have generously offered help - more than once. Please don't think I've forgotten. I haven't. Because of that, it was especially hard to agree to "let" Tanya do this. But, my need is real and I'm appreciative of her help.
Despite this lengthy post, you may have other questions. Please feel free to contact me, privately, and ask. So long as you can be patient in my response time, I will gladly share more of my story and the ever-changing horizon.

Anyway, thanks for reading/listening and considering. Thank you for being a part of my story. And please don't ever underestimate your influence. Whether it's with offering someone financial support, emotional support, or just a word of encouragement, it all makes a difference. Look at what has happened when 78+ people came together! Much love to each of you! <3


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Guys! I am so grateful to each and every one of you! We made it to 5000 dollars in less than a week! I raised the limit on the account so we can keep it going. I am SO thankful! It's so nice to see this community rallying around Judi and Coral :)
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Read a Previous Update
Tanya van der Veen
26 months ago
2
2

$6000 in 5 days! 5 DAYS! I am so happy to be part of this lovely community that is wrapping Judi in love. Thank you so much everyone!!!!!

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Judi DeJager
27 months ago
1
1

You guys - wow. I am so grateful to each and every one of you! Tanya just told me that the fund made it to $5,000 dollars in less than a week! Wow. WOW. She also told me that there are people who have donated who are not in my list of FB friends or hers.... so I can only guess they are friends of yours. You all are amazing. Seriously. She told me she raised the limit on the account so it can keep going. I feel kind of weird about that but honestly, this whole thing is out of my comfort zone! ♥ :) You all, your love and support, you are helping me beyond the money you're donating. You are encouraging my spirit - which I have greatly needed. Thank you. THANK YOU. Within the last few days, I've really come down with something and am concerned I might have a staph infection again. So, I'm going to my doctor tomorrow morning. It's so nice to be able to focus on taking care of myself - not just Coral - right now. Thank you, again, for helping me be able to do that.

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Tanya van der Veen
27 months ago
1
1

You guys, thank you so much for this! I'm trying to send messages to everyone individually, but not only can I not keep up, I don't even know half of you :) This is making my heart happy, thank you, thank you!!!

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Dennis
17 days ago

Hope all is good!

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Judi DeJager
26 months ago

You guys... life can be discouraging, can't it? I am TIRED. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually... I'm guessing you have times when you're tired and/or discouraged, too. That's why I want to share this amazing thing with you: You all - and people you know - have raised over $7,500 in 7 days! YOU DID THAT. Obviously/of course: THANK YOU. I mean, given everything going on right now and how much it has and still is demanding from me and for the next few weeks at least, this is so incredibly helpful. I mean, geeze do I wish I could take this and go to an island in the Pacific or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or something. But this is life-saving - just as the post says. It's not an exaggeration. If I didn't have you all as family and friends, I would be one of many heart-breaking statistics. Anyway, back to combatting discouragement... this is amazing! This is a beautiful, loving and generous phenomena. You, people I know, and your friends (I presume) - people I don't know - have joined to gather in this amazing way in just 7 days! Also, I'm starting to have success in advocating for Coral's academic future. AND, thanks to her being where she is, finally, she is getting plugged into to more resources, etc. I keep saying it is still a long road ahead but it is also still worth pausing and celebrating and being grateful. Even though I'm tired and overwhelmed (by many things in the world, not just the things in my own little world) I don't feel discouraged right now. And I am just as grateful for that gift as I am for the financial (and other) support you all are giving me. God bless you, each and every one. Seriously. ♥

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$14,520 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 114 people in 27 months
Created March 23, 2017
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$25
Anonymous
24 days ago
$25
Anonymous
24 days ago
RB
$50
Robin Baker
24 days ago

Happy birthday Judi!

$50
Anonymous
25 days ago
$100
Anonymous
26 days ago
KK
$50
Kirsten Kelly
27 days ago

Judi and Coral...I'm thinking of you both so much. So courageous for you to share your journey...

LP
$50
Lisa Paap
27 days ago

Happy Birthday Judi hope you are able to get caught up for you, Coral and for peace of mind.

JV
$100
Josh Vandezande
27 days ago
$25
Anonymous
27 days ago
Tanya van der Veen
26 months ago
2
2

$6000 in 5 days! 5 DAYS! I am so happy to be part of this lovely community that is wrapping Judi in love. Thank you so much everyone!!!!!

+ Read More
Judi DeJager
27 months ago
1
1

You guys - wow. I am so grateful to each and every one of you! Tanya just told me that the fund made it to $5,000 dollars in less than a week! Wow. WOW. She also told me that there are people who have donated who are not in my list of FB friends or hers.... so I can only guess they are friends of yours. You all are amazing. Seriously. She told me she raised the limit on the account so it can keep going. I feel kind of weird about that but honestly, this whole thing is out of my comfort zone! ♥ :) You all, your love and support, you are helping me beyond the money you're donating. You are encouraging my spirit - which I have greatly needed. Thank you. THANK YOU. Within the last few days, I've really come down with something and am concerned I might have a staph infection again. So, I'm going to my doctor tomorrow morning. It's so nice to be able to focus on taking care of myself - not just Coral - right now. Thank you, again, for helping me be able to do that.

+ Read More
Tanya van der Veen
27 months ago
1
1

You guys, thank you so much for this! I'm trying to send messages to everyone individually, but not only can I not keep up, I don't even know half of you :) This is making my heart happy, thank you, thank you!!!

+ Read More
Dennis
17 days ago

Hope all is good!

+ Read More
Judi DeJager
26 months ago

You guys... life can be discouraging, can't it? I am TIRED. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually... I'm guessing you have times when you're tired and/or discouraged, too. That's why I want to share this amazing thing with you: You all - and people you know - have raised over $7,500 in 7 days! YOU DID THAT. Obviously/of course: THANK YOU. I mean, given everything going on right now and how much it has and still is demanding from me and for the next few weeks at least, this is so incredibly helpful. I mean, geeze do I wish I could take this and go to an island in the Pacific or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or something. But this is life-saving - just as the post says. It's not an exaggeration. If I didn't have you all as family and friends, I would be one of many heart-breaking statistics. Anyway, back to combatting discouragement... this is amazing! This is a beautiful, loving and generous phenomena. You, people I know, and your friends (I presume) - people I don't know - have joined to gather in this amazing way in just 7 days! Also, I'm starting to have success in advocating for Coral's academic future. AND, thanks to her being where she is, finally, she is getting plugged into to more resources, etc. I keep saying it is still a long road ahead but it is also still worth pausing and celebrating and being grateful. Even though I'm tired and overwhelmed (by many things in the world, not just the things in my own little world) I don't feel discouraged right now. And I am just as grateful for that gift as I am for the financial (and other) support you all are giving me. God bless you, each and every one. Seriously. ♥

+ Read More
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