Posted on February 26, 2017
Hi y'all! First off, apologies for not updating sooner, but I had to skip the IV hydration I require for my drug-resistant circulatory condition POTS for other appointments for 2 weeks, so I’m significantly dehydrated on top of everything else going on, and it's made writing an update slow-going.
Speaking of everything else going on...I write this on the eve of my 26th birthday and though I'm in tremendous pain from the past few days of exertion on top of that dehydration, I truly have no words for the birthday gift that’s been the unprecedented outpouring of support and generosity here since Wednesday. Last week, this fundraiser was at around $500 when I reached out to friends with social media reach in hopes of raising just another $1000, enough to keep a roof over my head and utilities turned on. When I wheeled/walked on my walker
(despite what some outlets have reported, it wasn't the wheelchair that I desperately need but hadn't been able to afford) into Senator Cotton's town hall Wednesday night, it was still shy of $1000 total and I had no hopes it would raise more in time to save me from homelessness.
I was sure that either my healthcare premiums, rent, or utilities would go unpaid. Perhaps that frustration and bone-deep fear infused me with determination, or caught the universe's attention in some way, because while I asked Senator Cotton (who, to his credit, at least showed up) my question as nothing more than a constituent who wanted a straight answer, it set off something I couldn't ask for or imagine. This fundraiser is now at $23,822, over a third of the way to the total goal of $61,185.
Of course, a third of the way is not all the way. I still have almost $40,000 ($37,363 to be exact) to raise, and after my upcoming consultation with my GI surgeon for the gastric pacemaker without which I’ll starve, the goal may increase further (the pacemaker device alone costs $30,000 out of pocket). But never in my dreams did I think I'd get this far this fast, if at all - I've been praying, thanking the Lord and the universe for their generosity, every waking hour since this started, and with more feeling every time.
I will continue praying, giving thanks, not just for the abstract of this welling up of generosity, and not just for you all and your monetary generosity individually, but, most of all, for the stories that have come with your donations. Money helps, it's true, and I still have almost $40,000 more to raise to pay for all my out of pocket expenses. But what helps the most, what I truly believe will change the most hearts and minds, is people's stories - for every single one of you that reach out with an open telling of your life and struggles in response to me telling mine, the more I'm convinced we can change the hearts and minds of those who would take away the protections that keep those struggles from getting worse. Maybe that's a pipe dream, but in any case, your stories and generosity show me that the American people will not take the dismantling of our rights lying down, and that's as valuable to me as the surgeries and the medical devices your generosity will fund.
So keep sharing on Facebook, Twitter, even telling your friends the URL (youcaring.com/katieds!), not only because it's the only hope of meeting my fundraising goal and that’d make a heck of a birthday present, but so I can continue to be blessed with and gain hope from the stories that come with that.