Help Jim Alden, victim of Philadelphia letter bomb.

For: Jim Alden
Philadelphia, PA
Organizer: Talbott Smith
Help Jim Alden, victim of Philadelphia letter bomb. (Jim Alden)
of $40,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 472 donors

The Story

A person’s life can change in an instant, and sometimes it is necessary as a caring community to rally together and help that person deal with the change that has been forced upon them. The following is the story of Jim Alden, a warm hearted, talented and funny man who has the magic of making people laugh. 

Early in the morning on November 22nd, Jim returned to his Philadelphia home after spending the weekend in New York enjoying an annual visit with friends from California. He had received a large manila envelope, addressed to him and carefully designed to look just like the envelopes in which he receives asthma medication on a regular basis. But it was not his asthma medication. It was rigged with a bomb, designed to explode and seriously injure him. Jim opened this package, triggering the bomb that exploded in his hands causing injury to his face, chest and hands. Jim is a longtime Philadelphia resident and was known to many in the local hospitality, theatre and LGBT communities. He was open about his orientation and political views. This was a highly personal attack and is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Jim's partner was home at the time of the explosion, but was not injured.

Jim had pieces of shrapnel removed from his chest, arms and face with the greatest damage to his left hand. Had he not removed his contact lenses and put on his glasses prior to opening the package, he would have likely been blinded by the explosion. Jim, who is left handed, has lost parts of two fingers on his left hand and underwent surgery that hand, including the installation of several rods in his hand to stabilize multiple broken bones. Jim will need to undergo more surgeries on his hand to deal with the damage. 

Jim Alden (formerly known as Jim Fay) was born and raised in Modesto, California. His parents still live in Modesto. He attended Thomas Downey High School, Modesto Junior College and California State University, San Francisco. A talented singer, Jim was active in music and theater, and developed a large circle of friends with whom he remains close. 

After appearing in the San Francisco cast of the off-broadway hit “Forbidden Broadway”, Jim moved to New York to pursue a career in theatre. He relocated to Philadelphia in the early 1990s to appear in a production of "Forbidden Broadway" and there he remained, continuing to perform in local theatre and cabaret productions.

Since the mid-1990s, Jim has worked at the historic Warwick Rittenhouse Hotel, where he was a restaurant manager and is currently in the banquet department.

While he has health insurance, Jim faces large medical copays, and ongoing medical treatments, physical therapy, and costly future reconstructive and plastic surgeries. He and his partner are also facing costs for cleanup and repairs to their apartment. Unlike his home state of California, Pennsylvania does not have a state disability insurance program, so Jim will suffer significant loss of income during his extended recovery time. 

As long time friends of Jim’s we are asking for your help as we all come together to support Jim through this time and bring him some peace of mind so that he can concentrate on the long journey ahead of him as he heals.

Here is a link to the USA Today’s story about the incident:

We appreciate and thank you for any help you can give. Please watch for updates on Jim’s Journey!  

May we all find the strength to be the peace in this world.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on May 18, 2017

Posted on May 18, 2017

An Update from Talbott:

To everyone who stepped up and provided this crucial support to dear friend Jim, I would like to personally say THANK YOU. Jim has posted several times about what this effort has meant to him, and how deeply moved he has been with the outpouring of support. When I started this fundraiser, I had high hopes of reaching our initial goal, which we quickly surpassed. As I learned more about what had happened and Jim's path forward became more clear, we increased our goal, and once again we have exceeded it.  

In conversations with Jim, he feels confident that the funds raised are sufficient, so we are going to "turn off" the fundraiser at this point. It has been my honor to create (with assistance from my friend Erin) and to manage this fundraiser on behalf of Jim's friends, whose immediate desire to help him inspired this labor of love. 

Many thanks to YouCaring for providing this important platform and to all of you for your generosity! 


Posted on May 18, 2017

Posted on May 18, 2017

A Note From Jim:

I had a very nice surprise at work today. My fellow employees at the Warwick Rittenhouse Hotel had organized a raffle at their holiday party back in December, to raise money for me, and the hotel decided to match their donation. Having just come back to work in March, I was today presented a check today for the combined amount. I am so appreciative to everyone at the hotel for lending their support and for welcoming me back to work.

Posted on March 12, 2017

Posted on March 12, 2017

A note from Jim:

Today is an important milestone for me. After 3 1/2 months, I am headed back to work. Although I still have a long road ahead with my physical therapy, and am having surgery to repair my ear drum in May, my doctor feels as I do that it will be good for me to get back to work, and to using my hand again as much as I possibly can.

So far, I have been lucky that most of my medical expenses have been covered, although the months of copays for physical therapy, surgery, doctors and dermatologists will continue on for quite a while. I am only now getting the invoices for my surgeries in December, so I'm not sure how long it will take for me to know that I'm in the clear and everything has been covered. Each surgery and procedure is thousands of dollars if not covered, but so far they have been.

I again want to thank everyone for your support and generosity that has helped me get through these last couple months, and I am trying to keep as much of your contributions as possible in savings until I know I have made it through all this.

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