Miracle for Musician - Help Chagall Sierra play Flute again!

For: Chagall Sierra
Toronto, ON, Canada
Organizer: Chagall Sierra
$60
of $6,000 goal.
Raised by 2 donors
1% Complete
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The Story

Friends persuaded me to keep this open. If I go out of the country to get the work done, it will be much less expensive than the Canadian estimate!

The new estimate is for:

  1. Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery
  2. 4 Implants to anchor Dentures
  3. High-Quality Dentures sturdy enough for Music
  4. Storage for belongings during travel
  5. Travel Expenses

Chagall Sierra is known as "Voice of an Angel" in Toronto for her enchanting soprano voice, similar to Enya, Loreena McKennitt, and Hayley Westenra. She is a busker (street musician) and official TTC Subway Musician, doing her best to earn a living from music by entertaining people for spare change.

This work has good days and bad days, and most days she barely covers her immediate bills. Unfortunately, there's no benefits or health insurance for this type of position without paying extra, which she simply hasn't been able to afford. 

Without being able to work as a singer and flute player in the Subway she'll just end up rotting on welfare instead of entertaining people in her job as a busker. However, the free dental care that exists is NOT available for people between the ages of 18 and 64. See article: http://www.torontosun.com/2015/01/24/dental-care-for-the-welfare-recipients-needs-work

Due to childhood malnutrition (adult teeth are formed during childhood,) and a lifetime of dental work not being covered, and bills barely being covered... and a few years when she was too sick from the neighbours' smoke of various kinds to be able to take care of herself at all... two of her teeth recently broke off right at the gumline. She then discovered that all her teeth are cracked and breaking! Fixing them over the years has been piecemeal because nothing was covered. Teeth, like people, aren't designed to stand alone.

All her teeth need to be removed! She's only 37, and can't play flute anymore until getting musician-grade dentures. Those are expensive.

In 2013 she prayed to God and began getting some help from her neighbours. Since then, she's been getting stronger and stronger and has had a string of minor successes: She passed the audition for the official TTC Subway Musicians, revived a music project, started 2 new music projects, tried to start a community music education initiative, started a virtual label for promotion and community building around a particular indie music niche. She's working very hard trying to build her career in order to get off assistance entirely.

The estimate covers costs for extraction, implants to stabilize the dentures for flute performance, and quality dentures. As well, it covers the increased cost of soft foods along with the loss of income, fees and taxes.

At this point she's so frustrated with the repeating dental troubles that she wants to never worry about missing work due to tooth infections again, but not even extraction is covered - unless it's "an emergency" according to the government. She did manage to get some extractions covered so far, however the process is slow.

The immediate need is for all the extractions to happen in 1-3 passes under surgery so that she can then access the FREE dentures, rather than one at a time over the next couple of years. Hopefully then she can continue to work as a singer and actor - however to play flute again she needs the full amount because the free dentures are NOT strong enough to play musical instruments without implants!

If you can spare a couple of bucks for Kanye, please consider sparing a couple of bucks to help this working musician. Any donation above $5 will receive a free download of her original Meditative World Fusion music album. Any donation above $20 will receive the same plus an extra special thank you - give your mailing address for it to be mailed, or not for the digital version.

Thank you. Any bit helps at this point!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 21, 2017

Posted on June 21, 2017

Did a general solstice update post today. Excerpted:

"Dental - Zero progress, found out that dental fund *would* count as income against housing. If I fix the problem via fundraising I'll be homeless and dead, and if I don't fix the problem I'll be dead when the infections get to my heart. Yay gov regulations! Woohoo! The only solution would be to be making $2000+ a month, while too sick to hold down even a PT job. Or raise enough/win the lottery to also buy an RV or make a van conversion so I'm not homeless just for fixing my health."

So, yeah. Feeling very hopeless about that right now.


Posted on May 21, 2017

Posted on May 21, 2017

Depression

Posted this on Facebook for my friends who suffer from clinical depression. One friend suggested I post it here.

I had mild depression just out of high school. Doctors wanted to medicate me but I knew it wasn't something my body needed. The thing that helped the most was increasing my food budget from $50/mo to $250/mo.

The second most helpful thing was a book called "Feeling Good" which helped eliminate a lot of the cognitive distortions at the root of thinking patterns inherited from my parents that got me stuck feeling bad whenever something bad happened. Lots of bad was happening back then: forced to drop out of high school, stalked and harassed by a really creepy man, nobody would hire me and I faced rejection after rejection all across town, ill health even then, only one person invited me to anything but then she turned out to be a thief and a user and a drug addict. She set up a situation where she was paid to deliver me to possibly be raped by someone (I still don't even know if anything happened while I was asleep), then put rumours out all over town about me to cover up her crime. Called bad names or just cold shouldered, even at my Church, abandoned by everyone and left to rot on welfare. Everyone hated me, many going so far as to tell me to kill myself.

Allergy season was one whole big season instead of just Spring and Fall, with no break in Summer. I would sleep for 18 hours due to the inflammation reaction, then be awake for 12 hours. I was trying to be vegetarian but my health just kept getting worse.

I felt like I was allergic to literally everything. I thought I would never be able to do any of the normal things in life: get a boyfriend, get a job, go to college, get married, have a career. None of it was visible in my future, just a slow decline into death as I starved and the people around me told me that I deserved it.

I didn't deserve any of it.

With the help of that book and some Christian Wiccan prayers and rituals, I stubbornly held on even when I couldn't crawl.

Then I got a job through a government program, but was falsely accused of stealing - on my last day.

Then I got another job, but sustained toxic poisoning due to unsafe chemicals used in the job and had to quit it, but thought it was all my fault and didn't realize it was because it was unsafe.

Then I got a boyfriend, and he generously paid for expensive dental work and acupuncture treatments and a non-moldy apartment, but after some time that was what made me homeless.

Eventually I got married, but he quit his job, cheated on the honeymoon, and after I stupidly took him back, he repeatedly attempted to destroy any attempt I made to get us both to a better financial situation.

He helped me go to college, then spread rumours about me to my classmates so that I made no friends, then physically held me back from going to class and successfully sabotaged my final project. I failed out of the first semester, homeless again and this time stuck with huge debt. No way to go back to school and no way to pay it off.

The only job offers I got were for prostitution, unless I was seeing someone and an easy part-time entry level job opened up.

My mom told me to die.

My dad came back into my life by a miracle then told me that I didn't deserve his support, for a super flimsy reason - that only means he doesn't love me either.

I've been vomiting every two weeks for over two years. I think it's over then it just starts up again.

Finally got a job that not only I LOVE but that has flexible hours, and then suddenly needed horribly expensive dental work. I'm too sick to go do it enough to get off welfare and it doesn't have benefits.

Grandma came back into my life thanks to her friend doing a FB search, then she died. I'm thankful to have met her and had a chance to hear about her life.

I wasn't able to visit her in the final months because I was cut off the special diet allowance, which made me too sick to clean up after myself, then I was harassed and accused of hoarding by housing officials and threatened with eviction. The cleaning made me very, very sick. I'm still cleaning and sorting to deal with that threat.

If I wanted to be depressed, I have a LOT of reasons. This is just the short version.

I'm sick, possibly dying, at risk of homelessness all over again at almost 40, I have no family and not sure if I actually have any true friends. After everything I've been through doubt I'll feel like I have friends even if I do so please don't take that personally.

But I'm still going. And I don't have depression. I have malnutrition and a lot of shitty things going on in my life. But I also have a lot of really amazing things going on that I never thought would EVER happen.

And I don't have to spend any time with a jerk who doesn't love me for any of those wonderful things to happen! Even though at least three people conspired to try to destroy my life unless I would do just that.

God is good.


Posted on April 11, 2017

Posted on April 11, 2017

Friends persuaded me to keep this open. If I go out of the country to get the work done, it will be much less expensive than the Canadian estimate! Maybe there's hope after all. Instead of $36,000 I'll need about $6000. Let's see if I can stay alive after all! Woohoo!

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