Disabled Writers Surviving Summer

$2,101 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 43 people in 49 months
My wife, the poet-scholar known as India Valentin (sometimes as Anya or Emilia), and I, are two disabled queer mixed-race writers (I am Filipino and Cherokee; she is Jewish Portuguese) with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder which causes chronic painful joint dislocations and slow healing. We are both unable to work outside the home and live on my wife's modest graduate student stipend and student loans from the university where she is seeking her PhD. I'm a poet, short story writer, and researcher. We both do freelance/occasional work, and I am always writing, but at an outside income of barely $60 a week between the two of us, it's not enough to live on. 

Last fall, just before our wedding, my wife fell going up a flight of stairs and severely dislocated her knee. She remained on crutches and in physical therapy from November until February, and now uses a cane. We could not have foreseen in October when India dislocated her knee and had to be on crutches for two months that months of medical fees her insurance company wouldn't pay for would lead us to such a large budget shortfall between semesters. The next student loan disbursement check for the fall semester is going to be in September. We are spending our last $2000 to pay for July's rent and expenses. Anything we put on the credit card now will have to be paid off (with 25% interest) when the loans come in -- and that will mean less money to live on later down the line. As it stands right now, without financial assistance of some kind, we will go into around $5000 into credit card debt just trying to survive and pay our rent, and then have to pay it off with the student loans we're meant to live on from September-January (it's only around $10,000 to live on, total).
 
I am estranged from my parents and cannot ask them for help. My wife's parents are helping us, but they are very ill and very broke. We are trying to get enough work to pay our bills, but being disabled makes this incredibly hard. We both live with chronic pain and frequently cannot leave the house, even using canes and crutches. Because neither of us have been declared legally disabled (the process is incredibly drawn out and lengthy in the US) yet cannot work, and my wife is a student, we do not qualify for state or federal aid because of our financial situation. We are investigating all our options for expediting the process of getting federal disability but it is impossible to succeed before the money runs out.
 
Because kind, compassionate people in the science fiction & fantasy community have repeatedly asked how they can help, I am finally answering that question: we need money to live on until September. We need food to eat, money to pay our rent, and litter and sand for our two cats.
 
This is what we are trying to raise:
x rent+related expenses ($1200/month -- total $2400) We live in a small 1-bedroom apartment in the greater DC metro. $1200 just barely covers it. And no, we can't move somewhere cheaper. This is the lowest end that's safe to live in with our health issues, which include asthma which is severely aggravated by unsanitary living conditions.
x food ($840) We need a completely gluten-free diet to manage the chronic pain and digestive issues that are a part of Ehlers-Danlos. I also have health issues that prevent him from going completely vegetarian. To eat modestly well, the food budget needs to be at least $70/week. For context, that's $5 a person a day for every meal (all 3 plus snacks) -- so around $1.60 per meal. We're not going out on this food budget.
x cat food and litter ($60) Two healthy cats need to eat and a clean place to do business.
insurance ($1200). Specifically, renter's insurance, car insurance, and India's shitty student health insurance.
x money for gas ($300). At nearly $3/galleon locally and $60/tank, traveling to see India's parents, to and from tutoring jobs, and down into the city for school-related activities, costs a hefty chunk.
x fees ($200). We only get 93% of your donation on gofundme. 

Here are other things we can't afford that we could buy if we had the money for our basic necessities met:
x medical equipment: I need joint stabilizing braces & shorts that medicaid won't pay for. At nearly $150, they're currently out of reach. India needs EDS finger supports that her insurance won't cover.
x clothes. We  both need functional, practical, comfortable clothes to wear. EDS brings with it skin sensitivities that make finding clothes more difficult. India is trying to make clothes to deal with this problem, but fabric costs money.
x leaving the house occasionally. Lunch or dinner prepared by someone else starts at $15 for 2. The ability to get food out can be a huge relief on low/no spoon days but currently isn't possible without dipping into our bare-bones budget of $60/week for food.
x a cat vet visit. Our indoor-only babies are in good health but need booster shots. Without $60 a cat it's never going to happen.
x sanity-saving entertainment: $16 would buy a whole expansion pack for Lord of the Rings Online, the game we play together when we're in too much pain to write or read. Trips into the city to visit museums or free concerts are between $20-$30 with metro fees. Trips to park in our historic downtown to look around or visit local museums is several dollars.
x breathing room: if something costs more than we're anticipating, if another computer dies, if someone ends up in the hospital, if health issues arrive with India's parents, we'll have a little more cushioning to deal with those issues.
 
What you get out of it:
Our eternal love and gratitude. Our promise that when we see someone in need, it will be our turn, and we will do what we can to help. We can't offer much right now.
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Dear friends, loved ones, and beloved strangers --

Thank you so much. We have over half of what we need for the whole month of July. At $1200 we have July's rent, and at $1500, food/etc is covered as well. This is overwhelming and almost unbelievable. We have cried happy tears watching your generosity and kindness.

Thank you all so very much. Please keep retweeting and reblogging. Every dollar is a huge weight lifted off our backs. As India and I try to follow up leads to pick up work or money from other sources, I am hoping the total this fundraiser needs to raise to cover us will actually go /down/ as more of our needs are met through sources outside GoFundMe.

Thank you so much.
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$2,101 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 43 people in 49 months
Created June 27, 2015
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$50
Bryan Thao Worra
46 months ago

Keep inspired, transform worlds. The world needs your poetry

$25
Anonymous
47 months ago
CA
$40
Claudie Arseneault
47 months ago

♥ hope this helps and you get through this

$5
Anonymous
47 months ago
$20
Anonymous
47 months ago
$20
Anonymous
47 months ago
$36
Anonymous
47 months ago
CC
$50
Ciaran Conliffe
47 months ago
$500
Anonymous
48 months ago
$40
Anonymous
48 months ago
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