Michael A. Espinoza is a 25 year-old man from Texas. He has been blind since birth, due to an untreatable variant of the condition known as LCA. But Michael has not let that stand in his way, and has pursued an array of interests, including playing music, practicing martial arts, and writing.
Michael got his English degree at Southwestern University in 2013, and released his first novel, "Blades of Cairndale," in September of 2015. At the same time, Michael began work as a writing tutor at Austin Community College, where he helps students of many different subjects with their written assignments.
For all of his reading, writing, and editing, Michael uses a device called a BrailleNote, made by HumanWare. Sadly, because of their relative dominance over the market of accessible technology for the blind, HumanWare are able to charge incredibly high prices for machines that, while essential, are also prone to software and hardware failure.
Nonetheless, it is this device that Michael needs to retain his independence, as even the most sophisticated screen reading software would still only provide audio feedback, and thus not give Michael the full range of feedback he needs in order to write efficiently and edit thoroughly. But, as Michael's BrailleNote begins to breakdown, he finds himself uncertain of his future.
Without the ability to write and read with tactile feedback, Michael fears for his productivity, and is frustrated by his inability to meet HumanWare's exorbitant price tag. With even a small donation, you can ensure that this dedicated writer and tutor will be able to continue to share his passion for writing and skill for editing with the world.
It is up to us to show every member of our community that they have our support, and that we will help them to overcome the roadblocks put upon them by a company like HumanWare, who sees fit to make steep cost an obstacle for those who have already overcome so much.
$5,495.00 - Cost of the braille computer
$453.34 - Cost of sales tax in Texas
$191.40 - Percentage (2.9%) cost of donation processor fees*
$460.26 - Wiggle room to account for flat cost of donation processor fees* and income taxes.
*All online fundraising requires a third-party credit card processor such as PayPal, WePay or Stripe. These processors allow money to be safely collected and transferred online, but they do charge small fees for this service. Each donation processor charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
Any surplus will go towards ensuring continued access to a working braille computer. That'll probably in the form of an insurance policy and pay for repairs of the old braille computer so that it may be used as a backup.