Birthday Fundraiser - Giving Back to a Friend
Organized by: Lorena Galliot
Dear friends and family, My birthday is on November 22, and this year, I would like to do something I’ve never done before: launch a fundraising drive.
I’m constantly inspired by the generosity of wonderful women who regularly mobilize their networks to help an important cause. Though my appeal this time is a little different, I hope you will consider participating.
The family of a very dear friend of mine, whose name I will not divulge out of respect for her privacy, is going through a particularly difficult time. My friend was raised by a single mother who worked all of her life as a nursing aide at New York City hospitals, and money was always very tight. Despite this, my friend grew up to be a brilliant, hard-working student, and was admitted to Yale University on a full scholarship. She is a passionate advocate for education being a transformative force in the lives of under-privileged youths, and after college chose to become a public school teacher.
A few months ago, my friend’s mom suffered a severe stroke while at work. She was hospitalized and is slowly recovering, but has been unable to return to work (and likely will not be able to go back to her previous job, which is too physically strenuous for her weakened condition). Worse, my friend’s mother was one of the “low-income workers” who fell through the cracks of Obama’s health care reforms: her employer did not provide insurance, she made too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet too little to afford private coverage. As a result, she was uninsured at the time of her stroke.
Today, my friend’s mother is facing crippling medical bills. She has now enrolled in Medicaid and is in the process of applying for Social Security disability, but the application process is slow. She has no current income, no savings, and no family to support her. My friend gives what she can, but as a young public school teacher living in New York City, that’s not much. On top of everything else, her mother recently learned that she might be evicted at the end of the year because she has fallen behind on rent.
I realize that stories like these are probably a dime a dozen in the US in general and in New York City in particular, but they always make my blood boil. These are care workers who are vital to the city’s backbone and DNA, and when the time comes that they are in need, the system just drops them. I often feel powerless to do anything when I hear stories of human hardship, so most of the time, I don’t. But this time, it hit too close to home. Alone, I know that whatever financial assistance I’d be able to give my friend would be slim pickins, so I’d like to turn to you, friends and family, to see if you can chip in.
Please, if you were planning on wishing me Happy Birthday in any shape or form this year, I would prefer not to receive any gifts, but rather a small contribution, as little as is comfortable for you, to this CrowdRise campaign. Please feel free to share with your friends and family, as well. If just half of all my Facebook friends gave $2, we would raise $1,000. It’s ultimately not enough to cover all of my friend’s mothers new debt, but it could help pay a month in backrent, and tide her over until her disability income kicks in. And it would certainly bring them some comfort and support on their Thanskgiving.