Still Kickin This!

For: Aaron, Nora, and Ralphie Purmort
Organizer: Meghan Wilker
of $100,000 goal.
Raised by 1976 donors
100% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

In Nora's words,

"Perhaps old age should burn and rave at close of day, but we do not all die old. So what of the young?

Aaron’s treatment has stopped working.

The tumor grows, swells his brain, sends his body into cataclysmic seizures, paralyzes his left arm and leg and now he has a choice to make: to continue the treatments that aren’t working, or to live his life as comfortably as possible.

To be clear, he is dying. They are talking about hospice.

And that is what he has chosen."

It's time to band together. All proceeds will help cover costs related to Aaron's hospice care, and support Nora and Ralphie through these next couple of months.

This is gonna be hard. But we can help.

You can read Nora & Aaron's love story here.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on November 26, 2014 by Meghan Wilker

A sad update today. In Nora’s words

"It’s over.

It wasn’t a war or a fight. Those things have rules. This was more like Aaron getting in the ring with the Mohammed Ali of cancers, and smiling for round after round after he got his teeth knocked out and his face rearranged.


It ended today at 2:43pm, in the middle of a run-on sentence, my head on his heart and my arms around him in a hospital bed built for one, but perfect for the two of us."

So it’s over. And yet, it has just begun.

Yahoo! Health published a story about Nora & Aaron today, which I guess makes them Official Property of the Internet and subject to all kinds of interesting comments from strangers (and by “interesting” I mean “deeply unkind and often slightly strange”). Which, I know, is what the Internet is now. So, we’ll snuggle up and protect our hearts from the trolls, and carry on with our grief and figuring out this new life.

I mentioned in the last update that Nora was able to hire overnight help for Aaron. The caregivers for the first two nights didn’t work out so well (in fact one of them didn’t show up at all), but on the third night Helena came. She is a beautiful soul who stayed by Aaron’s side at night so Nora could get some much-needed rest, who wrapped my sister in her arms and brought love and peace and comfort to all of us. Who showed up on her day off to check in on Aaron and offer him a bath. She was a gift, and your donations brought her to us.

One of the commenters I mentioned above made a crack about how much Nora was probably enjoying a fat life insurance check. So now is probably a good time to mention that, like many young, single men in their early 30s (of which Aaron was one when he had his first seizure), Aaron didn’t have life insurance. That’s another reason why these donations are so important.

The donations so far have been used for:

  • Helena (worth every penny, in fact worth ONE MILLION DOLLARS)
  • Aaron’s cremation
  • putting together the best funeral ever, for the best guy we’ve ever known

We’re not yet sure what we’ll need the money for in the future, but it will likely include medical and hospice bills, and living expenses (without life insurance, there is nothing to replace Aaron’s income now that he’s gone).

There’s lots of ugliness on the Internet. Computer screens encourage a cowardly sort of cruelty that becomes easier to inflict when you don’t have to see the impact of your words on the human being that’s reading — and feeling — them. It can disconnect us from the fact that, on the other side of every news story is a real person.

But there’s also great beauty in technology that enables us to connect with each other across great distances. It connects us to those we love, and allows us to love those we have never actually met. That love is real; it doesn’t require physical presence to be felt. It brings us together and allows us to feel another person’s story so deeply that we are moved to act, to help.

Thank you for being the beautiful, kind, and generous side of the Internet. The side of the Internet that restores my faith in humanity.

Hearts shooting out of my eyeballs,

Posted on November 21, 2014 by Meghan Wilker

I continue to be amazed at the massive outpouring of support and love for Aaron, Nora, and Ralphie. It's a testament to what wonderful humans they are, and how connected people feel to their story as my sister has so eloquently shared it over the past three years.

A few updates:
We've started using these funds to hire overnight help in caring for Aaron, and Nora is extremely grateful to be able to do that. So, thank you.

If you're looking for other ways to help kick cancer in the face (or just want a super sweet shirt), Cotton Bureau has re-released Aaron's "Still Kickin" shirt. You can find it here for the next 11 days:

This is the third (and final) release of the shirt, which is a replica of the shirt Aaron was wearing when he had his first seizure (the one which would eventually reveal that he had a brain tumor). Proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to the Musella Center for Brain Tumor Research. Share a photo of yourself #stillkickinthis on Instagram, and your picture will appear at

If you want more regular updates about what's going on with Nora and Aaron, you can follow Nora's posts here:


Love to you all. Thank you for the support.

Hearts shooting out of my eyeballs,

Posted on November 18, 2014 by Meghan Wilker

Thank you for your donation to support Aaron, Nora and Ralph. I've been overwhelmed at the response.

I wanted to share the latest update from Nora, who posted this on her blog today. Please keep our family in your prayers and know that your support is deeply appreciated by all of us.


It’s not even been a week since Aaron switched to hospice care, but things have changed so much. On Tuesday afternoon, we were planning our weekend: Friday night at Triple Rock, Saturday night housewarming at the Hawkins’ new home, Sunday night Bleachers show at The Varsity.

Instead, Aaron spent the first few days overcome with pain that wouldn’t respond to a constant stream of very strong, very habit-forming narcotics (again, please don’t rob us if you are a junkie). 
On Wednesday night, we were watching Homeland in bed. On Friday night, he could no longer walk at all. On Saturday night, we ended up having a hospital bed delivered in the middle of the night and he has slept since then. No food, no water, very little consciousness and recognition. 
I want to be clear as a bell with everyone: he is dying. He’s not on his phone and reading comic books in bed any more. He’s not taking visitors (which, according to the quite uplifting death pamphlet I received) is totally normal and not personal.
Everyone wants to see him. I get it. I do. And if it were really my choice I’d be like oh yeah, come on in, say good bye! But, he just doesn’t want to.
It didn’t really make sense to me at first, but now I get it. No matter how many people may surround you, death is a solitary journey. In the past few days, I have seen the man who has walked beside me for four years slowly drift onto his own path, where I cannot follow. I know, though, that when it is my turn, I’ll recognize the footprints he left for me, and I won’t feel alone and I won’t feel afraid.
Aaron is not afraid. 
The end of life is important, but if you have lived well, it is no more or less important than the beginning of your life, or the middle. And all of you played a role in that really wonderful life before this email. There’s nothing you could say that he doesn’t already know, there’s no need to be sad or guilty about not being there to squeeze his hands and hug his body because the Aaron you want to say goodbye to is gone. He pops in from time to time, but in the meantime, he is already one foot into the next world.
You’re all wonderful people who have played an important role in a wonderful man’s wonderful life. If I’m lucky, I’ll still have you in mine long after he’s gone.
Nora, Aaron and Ralphie

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