A fund for Nina's boys

For: The Duberstein Boys
Greensboro, NC
Organizer: Christy Plotner Bird and Eliza Harrington Myers
A fund for Nina's boys (The Duberstein Boys)
of $50,000 goal
87% Complete
Raised by 466 donors

The Story

Dearest Friends near and far, 

Nina died early in the morning on February 26. She had been in hospice care for nearly a week after her breast cancer continued to spread.
We have organized this fund to channel the outpouring of love and support welling up among Nina's friends and admirers in order to benefit her boys, aged 10 and 7. All contributions will be controlled by John, who can use the funds for whatever he and the boys need, now and in the future.  We are imagining college, camp, comic books and drum lessons -- all the loud, happy, muddy and complicated things Nina wished for her boys.  
Nina was a symbol of love and hope and forgiveness and of processing the messy, messy stuff of life into the stuff of beauty and poetry.  
We will miss her so much.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 20, 2017

Posted on June 20, 2017


This site has been a source of comfort for our family both in terms of the actual material fundraising comfort and the many, many kind messages we have received since Nina was in treatment and we were scrambling to figure out how to meet our health insurance deductibles. We're now almost four months out from Nina's death. We are doing OK. We have ups and downs and it's been a very strange four months, to be sure. Nina's book was edited and then published. I have been running around telling everyone who will listen how wonderful her book is (it's really wonderful, though if you're reading this you probably already agree). The kids have finished another year in school and are already in full summer swing. With every new thing that happens, I feel a pang of compulsion to tell Nina about it. The fact that she's gone always hits me hard, and makes me miss her even more in light of what she's missing.

But I also feel our lives starting to find a steadier rhythm and course in the post-Nina era. The kids are growing accustomed to being without their mom as best they can, but they're not forgetting her in the least, which I love. We talk about her all the time. And we have her book to focus our attention on her in a really positive, beautiful way. We also have LOADS of support. My father in law Pete, my sister Jennie, our close friends and family both in Greensboro and far flung corners of the globe. They help take care of the kids, they help with all sorts of things, really. And they send their love and thoughts often. It's really nice. It's always funny now when I say that we're lucky because, given Nina's age and the aggressive nature of her disease, it feels very unlucky. But we are really lucky. We have good insurance. We have a supportive family and friend network. I have a full time job with bosses who care more about me than they do about my work (and they care a LOT about the work). The boys are healthy and well adjusted (sorta kinda). Nina's book is a best-seller and getting rave reviews! Ok, the older dog is dying and that's totally going to send me over the falls in a barrel of tears, but it's just one thing and the rest of it is pretty strikingly lucky. Maybe more fundamentally, I got to spend 17 years with Nina. The kids got to know her and were old enough to not only remember her, but to have been profoundly imprinted with their Mom's thoughts, ideas, and personality, which is fortunate for both them and me. 

And as we adjust and try to forge ahead with our lives, I think it is time to shut down this particular portal. I've loved having this space. Obviously it was helpful to have extra money in times of need. But even better is that the donations came with messages of support, caring, and help. Even the anonymous donations, with no message or amount listed: every one was a person who wanted to help Nina, or the the boys and me, through a really difficult time. It was part of what Nina called the "hug of the world" that surrounded us these past couple years. Amazing to have feedback from all over the place, from you don't even know where, telling you that people care and want the best for you. So thank you to everyone who visited this site and supported us. I want to leave this up for a couple days so that the message has a chance to circulate, and then I'll shut down the fundraiser. Because as much as I need CONSTANT reassurance in all things, there are so many people out there who need things more urgently and I feel like we've already been taken care of SO AMAZINGLY well both by you all and by Nina, who left The Bright Hour behind for us. 

Thank you thank you thank you!! 

Lots of love to every one of you. 


Posted on October 3, 2016

Posted on October 3, 2016

Posted by John

I just wanted to take a second to say thanks (again, can't possibly say it enough). After Nina's piece came out in the NYT we expected her to get noticed more than usual, but we had no inkling that people would search out her dormant fundraiser page on the web and start giving spontaneously, even though we hadn't updated the site in a year. We're frankly still recovering from the overwhelming zeal with which people originally donated to help us with medical expenses.

I'm a cynic by trade and temperament. But walking this tumor-strewn path with Nina has challenged me in many ways, and probably none more than having to confront the fact that people--strangers and familiars alike--are capable of real altruism. It's not just a bumper sticker: Random acts of kindness are actually a thing, it turns out! I'm still trying to reconcile that with my generally dim view of the universe and it's disposition of our circumstances. Thanks a lot, people, you've really got me tied in knots! 

All hard boiled sarcasm aside, thank you, whoever you are, friends and strangers near and far, for taking the time to respond so immediately with donations and kind messages. They were both received with a mixture of humility and gratitude. Except by our oldest son, who's already earmarked all the donations for buying new video games and musical equipment. He's pretty sure he deserves all of this. 


Posted on September 23, 2016

Posted on September 23, 2016

Nina published a piece in the New York Times' Modern Love column today. It's about cancer, couch buying, and some other things. And is beautifully written, as usual. 


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