Dear family, friends, enemies, acquaintances, strangers, travelers, anyone,
I write to you now from within dire circumstance. It is the evening of Wednesday the 18th, 2012, and my sister is due in for major surgery in less than one week from today. Of course, any family member having major surgery will find anyone in trying times. Many of you have been there, I'm sure. Many of you have not, but will. Many of you have, and will again. Well, I find myself here now, and on the other side of the world.
I am begging you, through whatever emotional trigger bolsters you to the human condition, to take a moment to read my plea.
After an unlucky visit to the chiropractor two years ago, my sister found herself in a hospital bed. She had had a stroke. During an adjustment, this chiropractor managed to tear a major artery in my sister's neck, essentially disabling her for a very long time. She has spent this much time recovering and had finally returned to a normal life.
Just recently she found herself in an exorbitant amount of discomfort, landing her back in the hospital. Not only did the artery tear again, but she now has an aneurysm in the exact same place because the blood is leaking out of the artery where the tear is, causing the artery to bulge. An aneurysm is “a localized, blood-filled balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel and commonly occurs in the brain or aorta. When the size of an aneurysm increases, there is a significant risk of rupture, resulting in severe hemorrhage, other complications or death.” Actually, 40% of ruptured aneurysms are fatal and of those that aren't, 66% suffer permanent neurological/brain damage.
Obviously, this is not nice, and she is due to have surgery on the 24th. Essentially, they are installing a metal pipe in her neck to act as a new artery while the tear heals and to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing. There is a 95-97% success rate. This is a very, very new procedure, however, and there is still a lot to learn. There is also a very real risk of another stroke during the procedure.
As a loyal friend and brother, I have vowed to be there by her side.
We are a very small family and there are very few people who are currently able to care for my sister. I am the most likely.
My family needs me, now more than ever.
I have never used this website for personal gain–sure, you might find an ad or two but, to be perfectly honest, I've hardly made any money. This is a hobby, a personal forum, a register of my travels. Many of you have chosen to partake in my journey, both worldly and literarily, and I appreciate every one of you for it. Though I receive next to nothing in return (except satisfaction), I have spent countless days and weeks laboring over this website, dripping sweat onto my keyboard.
To all the people I have met in my travels, to all my friends from back home in Boston, to my fellow travel bloggers, and anyone else who has felt frustrated by life's unfair circumstances yet bound to their family, please help.
I essentially have a very short time to get home. I have researched flights and am able to get to my sister by the weekend for the price of about $2,400. This is a round trip ticket from Auckland, NZ, where I currently spend my days. I plan to return in a few weeks time. Obviously this is a lot of money for one person to spend, especially last minute. And to be honest, I don't even have that much in my bank account.
So I turn to you. Every other person in the world. I humbly ask you for a small donation, large donation, whatever you can spare. Perhaps you have one less pint at the pub this weekend. That's all I ask–the price of a pint or a glass of wine, five or ten bucks. If 240 people contribute a small $10, I can get home to see my mother and sister. They both need me, and I need you.
I have learned, in the past two years on the road, that a bit of humility and the ability to ask for help can take a person a long way. I'm hoping this still holds true. Please, at the very least, Tweet/share/Like/Digg/post/whatever-it-is-that-you-do this post. And if you can find it in your heart, please help me get home to my family.
UPDATE: The response to this post has been astounding and overwhelming! 24 hours later and more than 30 people have made donations amounting to $800! Though not quite there yet, this sort of support never seemed possible to me. I am grateful to each and every one of you who has played a role in helping me make my way to my family. I don't have my travel fully booked, but I'm getting there! Still a ways to go!
UPDATE 2: 48 hours have passed and over 50 people have made donations equaling more than $1,600! I am truly astonished. Even though I have been gone from home for two years, many of my old friends have stepped up to the plate when they saw I was in need. I've got some flights booked and am still in the process of sorting out the rest. Thank you for your support–I'm almost there!
UPDATE 3: It took a couple of days but I received over $1,800 NZD in donations from friends, acquaintances and strangers alike. I am so incredibly grateful to each and every person who helped me make it home to my sister. I will be posting something soon, in more depth, about the whole fiasco. Hopefully I will be able to answer any questions you might have. Thank you all!