UPDATE September 4, 2017:
"This ain’t easy. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I survived prison, but I don’t know if I’m going to survive losing my mind. I’ve never been a stupid person in my life. I hate this. I hate being dependent. Sometimes I wake up and don’t know where I am or who I am. I am grateful I am not alone. How do people alone survive this? I am still here. I need people to come visit me and remind me of who I am."Etang says:
"I love Bo so much. She is not the same. I am not the same. We are not the same. Living with a person with dementia is isolating. Community and friendships are important to our well-being. It is hard to ask for help, but we need it. The losses are felt every day. Just when I get adjusted to the new changes that have emerged with Bo, a new change happens again. In her decline, change is accelerated. With each shift both my resiliency and my exhaustion expands. Shock, unravel, shift, repeat."
If you have any spare time or spare change, Bo would appreciate your company and your support. It is helpful for Bo to remain social and active and connected to community. The needs for Bo and Etang are ongoing and long-term. Bo is now on a waitlist for a memory care day program. Funds are needed to support this higher level of care. Any help or assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
September 4, 2017
UPDATE January 29, 2017:
We are writing to talk to you about Bo Brown, ex-political prisoner, forever activist and dear friend. Some of you may have heard that in the summer of 2016, Bo was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia confirmed by two neurologists. Lewy Body Dementia is a brutal terminal neurodegenerative disease with daily deterioration of the mind and body. It is marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. It is an unrelenting combination of the cognitive components of Alzheimer’s dementia and the physically punishing aspects of Parkinson's disease. Bo is fighting as always, but the disease has had a significant impairment on her mind and body. The disease affects Bo’s memory, attention span, decision-making, planning and organization on top of the loss of balance common with Parkinson’s disease. Bo’s other current symptoms include visual hallucinations, a sleep disorder, repeated falls and seizures. On many nights Bo wakes up disoriented and she does not know that she is at home and safe and loved. Lewy Body Dementia is currently the second most common form of degenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, impacting an estimated 1.4 million people.
While the severity of Bo’s symptoms has changed daily, her condition was mostly manageable until recently with Bo’s community stepping up to spend a few hours of the day with her while Etang, her partner of 17 years, went to work full-time at MetWest High School. Bo had another fall, seizure, loss of consciousness and an emergency room visit on January 4th. Fortunately, Etang was still at home. Etang is anxious about Bo’s safety alone; the severity of this constant stress, fear and worry has been debilitating and isolating. As difficult as it is to ask for financial assistance, Bo now requires full-time support; a higher, more intentional level of care is needed for her safety, comfort, calm, peace, and well-being.
This fundraising is to support Bo and Etang to shift from a survival, struggle, and grief mode to living as fully as possible given this trauma in their lives. They deserve to live fully. Let’s help them find some ease through this tragedy and help them create as many moments of life-affirming joy as possible right now. The funds raised will be used for ongoing and long-term expenses:
- paid caregiving for Bo for 40 hours a week while Etang is at work during the school year
- medical bills not covered by health insurance
- medical supplies
- other homeopathic, alternative and healing treatments and supplements
- therapy for both of them
This financial assistance will also enable Etang to make informed and clear medical decisions for Bo as often as possible rather than from a place of crisis.
Bo was a member of the George Jackson Brigade and served eight years of federal time as a political prisoner. She has worked with lesbian groups, butch groups and prisoner groups for over 30 years. In 1988, one year after she was released from prison, she helped to found Bay Area-based Out of Control: Lesbian Committee to Support Women Political Prisoners. She was a part of Critical Resistance and she is currently a board member of the Prison Activist Resource Center. Bo has said, “I want to be struggling until the day I die, cause then I will know I'm alive." Today, Bo is fighting every day and says, “I am still here. I am alive and I want to live at home for as long as possible.”
In these times, we must have a collectivist mindset and hold each other up. It is so important that we support our comrades. Though Bo is disappearing in many ways, we can't drift away from her. We need to show up for Bo to help her live fully.
Thank you in advance for your continued support and positive thoughts. Please share this with your community.
January 29, 2017
Work in Progress Trailer about Bo Brown:
The Gentleman Bank Robber (sample)
Initial Campaign September 26, 2016 - Successfully raised funds to convert Bo's bathtub-shower to a safe and accessible walk-in shower. Thank you! :
Long time revolutionary , and former Political Prisoner, Bo Brown's health is declining.
Bo was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, a disease that is not as well known as but very similar to Parkinson's or Alzheimer’s however it is very likely that this will soon lead to Parkinson's. Some of the unfortunate features of Bo's medical condition are falling due to a lack of awareness, fainting, and then there's the seizures. Bo has had eight seizures since January of this year. Also, Bo has made it very clear that she'd like to live at home for as long as possible. The current shower at her house is a bath tub, shower combination, and the tub has a high wall, so the need for a new shower to suit Bo's needs is now an urgent issue.
With the unfortunate news of Bo Brown's diagnosis and all that comes with it, there are plenty of individuals doing what we can to support Bo through these tough times. There are medical expenses that the funds here will be directed to as well as the very specific shower that is more conducive then her current one to her condition.It is so important that we support our comrades through the tough times.
Bo Brown has worked tirelessly against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and has brought awareness and attention through all means to the plight of the prisoner. She hasn't forgotten about the Political Prisoners either and we definitely should not forget about the current Political Prisoners or the former. Prison is a tough road to travel , and then there's the weeks , months and even decades that pass in the post prison period, but the prison experience doesn't ever leave. From growing up in Klamath Falls to the federal prison time in Alderson , WV to the current struggles that she now faces in Oakland CA where she resides, Bo has been fighting all her life.
Help us show Bo the kind of support that she deserves. Thank you so much! We're going to need all the help we can get!