Tom Olin's Recovery Fund
$19,947 of $5,000 goal
Tom Olin is the social documentarian of the disability rights movement. He spent his life in the grassroots, building that incredible collection of iconic photos of our historic struggle for civil rights and inclusion. He started photographing in 1985.
Many of you know him because he took the Road to Freedom Bus around the country twice: in 2007 and 2014-2015 for the 25th anniversary of ADA.
Because of his commitment to building the movement and the grassroots, he has almost never drawn a salary and sale of his photos provide barely enough for food and fuel. Lately he has been too ill to work so finances are more dire than usual.
Now Tom is in the Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio awaiting a liver transplant.
**Update Tom received his new liver on 6/4/17. We are very grateful to the donor, the donor's family and the skills of his surgeons. **
This Go Fund Me account is for post transplant recovery expenses.
Tom can’t get flowers or food sent in but you can help by donating here and mailing cards and letters to him at:
Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital
8026 Floyd Curl Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78229
Tom has spent his life working for our movement, involving youth, building a better more inclusive world. Now is our chance to give back to him. Thank you for your support!
Here is more information on how you can help.
Join people with disabilities, our families, and advocates around the country this Wednesday, Nov. 29th, for a national call-in day to oppose the Senate's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
This bill will hurt people with disabilities.
* It dramatically cuts the revenue necessary to fund Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, housing, and other services that benefit people with disabilities.
* The $1.5 trillion cut to revenue is the “pay for” for tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.
* It eliminates tax deductions and credits that help people with disabilities work, access housing, and get medication.
* It repeals the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone have health insurance. This will cause premiums for people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions to increase, leaving heath insurance unaffordable for millions.
Help us send a loud and clear message that this legislation is unacceptable!
Learn more here:
Call the Senate switchboard at: 202-224-3121 (voice)
or 202-224-3091 (tty)
Use this sample script and talking points.
How to Call Your Elected Officials
https://autisticadvocacy.org/.../fact-sheet-how-to-call... (plain language)
https://autisticadvocacy.org/.../Easy-Read-They-Work-For... (Easy Read)
In honor of Tom take a picture of your action and post it on social media and share it on the Go Fund Me Page. Label it #HonorOlin, #StopTaxOnDisability
Part of Giving Tuesday isn’t just about sharing your money. It’s also about sharing your heart. Not all of us can give financial support to a cause but you can wish Tom well on the Go Fund Me page. You can post a comment at anytime. Tom enjoys reading your comments.
This year has been filled with many natural disasters and causes that require our attention. On behalf of Tom, his family, and friends I want to express our over whelming gratitude for all of your generous support and kind words over the last several months.
I am so very proud to be part of the Disability Community that has fought so tirelessly to support our access to health care. The lives of Tom, and millions of other Americans with disabilities, depend on access to health care and long-term services and supports. I am so thankful for the work of ADAPT and other groups who protested the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Unfortunately, on this giving Tuesday our fight is not over. The Senate will soon vote on a tax bill that will, among other things, eliminate medical deductions and raise taxes for millions of Americans.
If you do one thing today on #GivingTuesday give the Senate a piece of your mind about their proposed #TaxOnDisability that undermines the #ACA!
In honor of Tom take a picture of your action and post it on social media and share it on the Go Fund Me Page.
Label it #HonorOlin, #StopTaxOnDisability
Go Fund Me Page contains an image of Tom Olin in front of a white background. Tom is an older man with grey hair and a mustache and goatee and glasses. He is dressed in a black shirt that says ADA 25th Anniversary and black pants and a brown vest. He has a camera around his neck.
Tom Olin is the social documentarian of the disability rights movement. He spent his life in the grassroots, building that incredible collection of iconic photos of our historic struggle for civil rights and inclusion. He started photographing in 1985. Tom’s work has appeared around the world. In the US, you may have seen his work at the Kennedy Center in D.C. and in the Smithsonian. His photos have graced posters and calendars as well. Tom has toured the country on the Road to Freedom Bus around twice: in 2007 and 2014-2015 for the 25th anniversary of ADA.
Video of interview with Tom Olin, the famous photographer documentarian of the disability rights movement.
Tom’s work has appeared around the world. In the US, you may have seen his work at the Kennedy Center in D.C. and in the Smithsonian. His photos have graced posters and calendars as well.
Good news! I am out of the transplant hospital and the new liver is fine. My sister Aimee and I are spending a month in a nearby apartment where I can get outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy and dialysis. After more than 4 months in bed, I’m regaining strength. I can transfer and move with a walker and wheelchair. Rehab is going faster than expected. My medical team is hoping to wean me off dialysis soon. I am back online and communicating via phone, although phone calls are limited because rehab takes most of my time and energy.
A thousand thank-yous to everyone in the community who sent cards, letters, photos and those who traveled far and near to be with me. How important you all were to my recovery. The flood of mail convinced the medical team to place me on the list for the liver transplant and kept me going through the darkest times after surgery. I got to feel the togetherness our community and friends. I don’t have the spoons to thank you all individually, yet. You all gave me a sense of the richness of our community. Also, I saw our community in national media coverage fighting for our rights on Capitol Hill. It was amazing!
I do want to thank Beverly Galarza who gave my family her home and car for several months so they could stay in San Antonio and support my recovery.
Also I send thanks to several Centers for Independent Living for their resources, advice and assistance in developing services and supports to transitioning back into the community as well as contributing for utilities and the costs to maintain and store the bus.
The docs have not yet given me a date when I can leave San Antonio and transfer to a new doc and home in California. I will keep you posted. Know that I am eager to be out and get the ADA Bus on the road again.
All my love,
*From Janine Bertram: Do feel free to post notes to Tom on his GO FUND ME site. He will love reading them. https://www.gofundme.com/tom-olins-medical-fund Also, DO continue to support his medical expenses with donations. Please give ALL THAT YOU CAN. Tom’s medical expenses from the last 4 months are mounting up. Also during this transition, in order to be monitored by his doctors and get dialysis and PT, he has to live in an apartment sanctioned by and close to the hospital where the rent is as expensive as a hotel room. His recovery is expensive even though they cut corners everywhere they can so every dollar you can contribute will help. THANK YOU!
This is a great campaign. For all of us that cannot donate $50 or more please send your $5 or $10 donations. Of all people Tom Olin understands when funds are tight. Economic justice is part of why he works with the grassroots and donated so many photos to people. So please, let's all join in this effort to support Tom. For someone on SSI, $2.50 is a larger donation than $200 for someone earning $100,000.
Tom is principally known for his brilliant photography of the disability rights movement but he's supported us in the trenches in many ways. He has worked in hospitals, as a personal assistant, community organizer and on and on. He's never one for the limelight and 1st to help so now it's our turn. Give until it hurts to save Tom's life.
Beloved Community, you have brought good news by supporting Tom through cards, letters, donations. Tom is now on the transplant list!!! The docs know he has community support! It could be 2 days or some months until he gets the transplant. He will have to stay in San Antonio 6 months after the transplant..then can go home. As you know, Tom lived his life giving our community its history and building the disability rights movement. He does not have financial resources. He needs us to get through the transplant and get back on the Road To Freedom. If you can donate, please do! Even $1 or $5..it all adds up. Tom and his family have been so lifted by your support. Like Charlie Carr said, Tom spent his life giving to us so "Give until it hurts." And keep the cards and letters to Tom coming through the mail.
Tom called me today. His voice sounded good. He clearly has a lot on his mind and was glad that his sister was with him. He tired quickly so the conversation was short. He asked me to call him back but when I did the doctor was talking to him. She said he will call at back at another time.
Back when I was young and starting out I was adopted by Tom and Lucy Gwin, spending weeks at a time with them in the "Original Mouth House" in Rochester, New York. In addition to teaching me about our movement, Tom took time to recommend books, movies -- even giving and loaning me books he felt I need to read to understand something about human nature -- and we talked a lot about the importance of story. He strongly suggested the disability movement needed its own myths, its own stories, and we do now. He was instrumental in capturing the images that allowed that to happen, and in pushing writers like myself to think about how we frame our pieces. He always has time for young people, even those of us who aren't so young anymore.
Dear Tom, I do not know you and you don't know me, but I am grateful for you. Your work has inspired this "wheelchair warrior" and the next generation of Disability Rights Activists. Please get well soon. I hope you receive your transplant without any complications. I wish you excellent health. Best of luck! You are a kind person. I am sending you a card so that you can show your doctor how much you have helped the Disablity Community. We're all wishing you well. ❤ Grace
Great news Tom! You are loved and missed! Kelly Buckland, NCIL
This is the best damn news I have heard in a long time. Tom don't rush it. You kept us on pins and needles with worry so do what the doctors' tell you to do. I am so happy for you and your family and all of us that you're back with us. You've been missed. Becky Ogle
Tom - great to hear the good news. Last week I met with the Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz. She recalled the bus parking on the sidewalk in front of Borough Hall on Queens Blvd. I told her you were having health problems and she said to wish you well if I could. Great to have you back. jw James Weisman, President & CEO United Spinal Association
Excellent news that you are out of the hospital. I will be in New Braunfels for two weeks in November. I will touch base to see if you are still in San Antonio. If so maybe I can get down to see you again. I'm at the APRIL conference in Spokane currently. I'll tell folks your good news.
I visited Tom in San Antonio the weekend of Sept 9. He is still clawing his way back to health. I was with him during a tough fight with complications and he said he was glad I was at his side. I encourage anyone who can get there to go spend some time with him. He needs his friends. It makes a difference.
Hi Tom, I sent you a card with a photo of you, me (Paz),Esther, Spencer and Dorian from the '80's. I wondered if you have received it. It will make you smile. Sending you hugs and healing thoughts. Paz
Tom Olin, on the 27th anniversary of ADA, thank you for spending your life documenting, building, and strengthening the disability rights movement. Thank you for encouraging and mentoring the youth in our movement. You have stayed committed to building the grassroots and sacrificed personal income to do it. As you are in a hospital recovering, remember that there are not many people who have your understanding of or level of commitment to our movement. This movement needs you healthy and rolling on the ADA Bus!!! Ground control to Major Tom: Let's spend the 28th ADA anniversary on the Road to Freedom.
Tom, hope you are feeling better each day. The irony is not lost that the fight for health care is so particularly meaningful to you right now. Hail to the wonderful unrelenting work of ADAPT to ensure that we keep the Affordable Care Act. Happy birthday, and wishes for many more.
Hi Tom, hope you are getting stronger every day. Sending you lots of love! Paz
God is a hear you prayer tom god bless you access living captain Damian Ellis