Saving private Shaun

$2,570 of $28,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 7 months
In the spring of 1990, Shaun graduated from university. In the fall, he found himself in the hospital after years of nagging health problems. It was the first time he was told he had Multiple Sclerosis.

While I had known Shaun since high school it really wasn't until some 10 years later - after his diagnosis - that our paths crossed again.  I was looking for creative help with a computer game idea that I had, and Shaun, who was writing a novel at the time, seemed like a perfect fit.  Shortly thereafter we formed Madlab Software (with Shaun also handling the business end) and over the course of the next decade we worked closely together, developing  4 Jagged Alliance games and became the closest of friends.

Throughout that time period Shaun always kept his illness private, even from the people who worked with him. In 2004, when the disease became progressive and he could no longer work, he quietly slipped away from the gaming community. I know the years that followed were extremely tough on him and his family, physically, financially, and emotionally. Without Shaun’s income and dealing with a multitude of additional medical expenses, they managed to raise 5 children and survive for over 10 years by selling what they had and making serious changes to their lives, including moving over 12 hours away to a more affordable and less humid part of the country.

Almost three years ago, Shaun finally accepted the realities of his illness and filed for his disability pension. Though it is not much on a monthly basis, it would have allowed the family to continue. It should have taken no more than 5 months. Instead, it continues to this day, and now involves expensive lawyers and medical experts. Currently, Shaun is waiting for a court date, which is expected to be in 3 to 9 months, with a decision to follow 3 months later. Though his doctors and lawyers are confident he easily qualifies for his pension, the government seems to be counting on Shaun not being able to continue the battle. He would have been forced to stop a long time ago had it not been for the financial backing of friends and family.

Now his situation is even more fragile. Penniless, unable to work, unable to meet his basic day to day needs, including paying for all of his medications, he is now looking at the possibility of lasting up to another year without his pension and further medical and legal expenses to obtain it. Since his pension is administered where he used to live, all of these appointments are over 800 miles away and require related expenses. In addition, Shaun is seeing a neuro-surgeon next month in anticipation of having neuro-surgery on his neck to relieve the pressure on his spinal cord. The hospital is 200 miles away.

Something that is easily forgotten is that Shaun must endure all of this while battling his illness. Shaun is at a critical point in his life, and regretfully can no longer afford to keep his situation private. In order to continue, for his family to survive the months that lay ahead, Shaun is desperately in need of funding. I am appealing to all those who have enjoyed his writing, characters, voiceover work, and design contributions that help make Jagged Alliance the game that many of you enjoyed to do whatever you can to help out.
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Hey everyone, this is an update from Shaun:

First off, I am compelled by my emotions to say thank-you and thank-you again, especially to the people who I have never met and those whose names I do not recognize. Many of them appear to be from Scandinavia. So for now I think it is safe to say that region of the world is winning.

I find it quite humbling that people who enjoyed the JA games are willing to help me get through this extremely rough time. I have no doubt we will succeed. It is just a question of holding on to the family, handicap adapted home in the meanwhile. Word to the wise: Don’t get sick. And please spread the word and keep the donations coming. It will indeed make a difference. No middlemen, administrators, or fees. The money will directly affect our lives over the course of the next year and the outcome of the case will determine the rest of our lives.

Thank you to a known Turkish film director and JA fan. I won’t mention his name, so those so inclined can try and figure it out. (Hint: His name is not mentioned below. Oops… that’s 2 hints)

Rick Jones ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0429115/ )… Not only has he been one of this country’s best voice actors for decades, I have considered him to be my SBB for more than twenty years, and this is hardly the first time he’s carried my bags. Everyone should have a Rick Jones; a father, a mother, and a Rick Jones.

Arthur and Thor represent two more members of the acting and writing community. I have not seen or spoken to either in years, but I am not surprised to see their names here as both have spent their professional lives giving back to their communities. Thanks, guys.

Rob Sirotek is another person I haven’t seen or heard from in years, so I do appreciate him reaching out with a donation… I hope Amy and the girls are well.

Last, but hardly least, Linda and Ian, who took the initiative to launch the campaign, and have put heart to hand in personally contributing to my future.

As planned, I saw the neuro-surgeon last week and he confirmed that I will need surgery on my cervical spine. He was talking about securing four discs with 8 screws. I must admit that even though the operation has a high success rate, I’m not crazy about somebody playing around my spinal cord. Especially when the doctor tells me that all the limitations and problems I have before the operation will remain after the operation. And that is if all goes well. The operation will simply prevent any further impingement of the cord. Though this procedure has nothing to do with MS, it will allow the doctors and myself to attribute any future symptoms to MS (ie. rather than my neck). I have to go back to the hospital for another MRI in a couple of weeks. No date for the operation, yet. I’ll update when there is more news.
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Raised by 39 people in 7 months
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