Rakefet's Breast Cancer Fund

$36,131 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 463 people in 8 months
Hello dearest friends and family,

This is a really difficult note for our family to make.  As you may know, Rakefet (my beautiful wife) was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma).  The doctors are optimistic that we have caught it in time, but this is just the beginning of a long road for us.  They are pretty certain that the cancer has not entered the lymph nodes, but they will be performing a Double Mastectomy on July 3rd.  At that point they analyze the cancer, and we will know whether she will require chemotherapy, hormone therapy and possibly radiation.  The doctors tell us that that is generally a 6-8 month process after which we can begin looking at reconstruction options.  This is all to say that this is appearing to potentially be a two year ordeal.  

I imagine that most of you know that Rakefet and I work side-by-side every day to keep our Zimbabwean marimba school running.  When we met in 2012, I had been teaching out of my house for 10 years.  We moved in to a warehouse space and renovated it and created the "Rattletree School of Marimba".  Over the years, we have had close to 1000 students, friends, and family come and play music with us and we have performed for countless thousands of friends around the world.  Having the school has enabled us to support our teachers in Zimbabwe and spread this joyful music.  We both feel like we have done our best to humbly enrich the community here in Austin with our offering.  

Rakefet has worked tirelessly since 2013 on so many aspects of the school: rehearsals, booking, performing, traveling, administrative work, community outreach, management....the list goes on.  She is amazing.  

This cancer has much different plans for us.  

Just in the last week of this ordeal, we have been driving up to the hospital in Temple, TX almost daily and spending hours each day with doctors and surgeons.  This has immediately become a full time job for both Rakefet and myself to navigate this-the bureaucracy, the confusion, the conflicting information, the overwhelm. 

We are so grateful and thankful that a portion of our expenses are going to be paid through Rakefet's VA healthcare program.   It is such a blessing, but with that blessing is insane amounts of paperwork, bureaucracy, constant energy being expended on making sure that they are giving Rakefet the care she needs-and not just the least expensive care possible.  

We are both so afraid that this horrible situation is not only going to be the most difficult thing that we have both endured, but that it will wipe out all the work and energy that we have put in to building this community over the last 6 years.  Our fear is that-unlike a regular job where we are working for someone else-if we step away from the school, it will simply go away, and we will not be able to rebuild it.  

We are asking for your support in helping us have the financial cushion over these next several months so that we will be able to take the time we need to recover from this.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you who have given so much love and support.  We strongly feel that what we have brought to Austin and the community that surrounds us is so much greater than us, and so we are asking for your support now to help us keep things going as we are in this hard time.  

With so much love and gratitude,
Rakefet, Joel, and Siena
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Hello Tribe!

I hope your 2019 is off to a great start! Things have been up and down and all around with our family over the last few months.

I had an appointment with my oncologist and he gave me the all clear. I don’t have to go back for another 6 months! In the meantime, I have two smaller surgeries (but still under general anesthesia) to finish the breast reconstruction. The first one is on February 13th and the second one will likely be in May. I’ll be very sore and bruised up following these surgeries, but the recovery promises to be much easier than the last two times.

More good news is that I’m now able to work and have decided to jump back into the traditional job force. I crave community and am looking for a position where I’ll get to work with other people while making a steady paycheck. As much as I’ve loved booking Rattletree and Kupira, it’s often a lonely job working from home. Joel is taking over the booking and for the first time since the beginning of our relationship we won’t be working together. This new chapter is very exciting and also a bit overwhelming. If you have tips on the job search or know of a position that I’d be a perfect fit for, I’m all ears.

To update you on the studio…we’re thrilled that our landlord is compassionate and decided to let us out of our lease early. We’ll be out by the end of the month, which is a huge financial relief. We’re in the process of moving everything to the wonderful Mosaic Sound Collective where Joel will be able to work in community with other musicians and creatives.

Thanks to each and every one of you for helping us survive through the hardest part of this cancer journey. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.

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Hi Friends,

Thank you for helping me and my family through this cancer journey. I'm thrilled to be feeling about 80% better now that I'm 8 weeks post op. I have a couple more "small" surgeries in 2019, but for now I'm celebrating each new thing my body can do as it heals.

We would love your help one more time in spreading the word that Joel and I are looking for someone to take over our 3200 sq. ft. studio/warehouse in the heart of South Austin.

Within the space is a 400 sq. ft. office, very tall ceilings (20'), a loft "vip lounge" (not included in the sq. footage), 2000+ sq. ft. sprung dance floor and large stage (all removable if not wanted), and 600 sq. ft. warehouse space with a large bay door (currently a wood shop).

We have put in about $20K in improvements including for a full mini-split AC system throughout the space (five separate controllable units), fully insulating the space, etc. So ideally we will find someone who will want to use the space as is and will buy us out of those improvements over time (as part of the lease). The space is zoned commercial and is located on Thornton Rd. right by Oltorf and Lamar - a truly prime location. Rent is right at $3000 (less that $1 per sq ft!!!!!) There is a 5% increase every year. No triple net. Great landlord. The price does not include electric (we pay an average of $150 a month - up to $300 in the summer).

Please share widely. We are looking for a new tenant ASAP.

Thanks for being a part of our tribe!

Love & Gratitude,
Rakefet & Joel
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Hey Everybody,
As I sit here on the eve of my 41st birthday I am truly grateful to be ALIVE to celebrate another year. I never imagined that 40 would bring breast cancer nor did I imagine the myriad gifts that the cancer journey would bestow upon me.

I've Learned...
1. to be more compassionate with myself and others.
2. to set healthy boundaries.
3. how to receive with grace.
4. how to clearly and specifically ask for what I need without feeling shame.
5. to slow down.
6. that I must nourish myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually every day.
7. to be my own health advocate. Always get a second opinion!
8. to laugh more and not take everything so seriously.
9. that the world will go on spinning without me holding it on my shoulders.
10. that I have the most incredible support system. Seriously folks, y'all are AMAZING! Thank you!

Along with the gifts, they don't call it a cancer journey for nothing. The future is long road of oncology, plastic surgeon, breast surgeon appointments to make sure I stay cancer free and to rebuild my body. I'm still healing from my reconstructive surgery 1 month ago and I have one more surgery under general anesthesia that I need to schedule once my body is back to "normal".

The roller coaster is exhausting for me and my family. If I see you and you ask how I am, my intention is to share with you how I am feeling in that present moment and to hear how you are in your heart. Let's continue to authentic and open with each other.

Thanks again for showing up for me and my family in so many ways.

Love & Gratitude,

PS. The photo below is from an early birthday sweet treat after a family dinner tonight. If y'all haven't tried Manolis on South First and West Live Oak you're missing out! YUM!
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Hey Tribe,
Today has been a hard day. It's been just over 5 months since that fateful mammogram and it's taking its toll on me and Joel mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. I'm feeling really vulnerable at this point on the breast cancer roller coaster. Brene Brown says that's where the magic happens so I'm choosing to share my experience in the hopes that this will deepen our connections with one another instead of curling up in a dark corner alone.

Thank you for your continued love and support and for letting me be my authentic self. I posted this live FB update today if you'd like to go deeper into my experience.

Love and Deep Gratitude,
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$36,131 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 463 people in 8 months
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