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Helping Hand Fund for 50+ Pre-Seniors

Organized by: Dianne Willard

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THE STORY:

At 59, I have worked since I was 15 1/2 and old enough to qualify for a work permit so I could get an after school and summer job at a local McDonald's. I have worked ever since and will be until I am 66, unless I am lucky enough to benefit some from my own Helping Hand Fund so I can not retire completely, but dramatically switch gears at an earlier age.  

Most of my adult life I have worked in the secretarial field; throwing myself 100% into my job to earn recognition and promotions. Family budget shortages and divorce of parents interfered with my college education first time around. Decades later I graduated with a B.A. degree in 2008, thanks to a 25K student loan which I will finish paying off over the next two more years to fulfill the 10-year loan. Thankfully, with the degree and recognition for the hard work, I attracted the attention of someone who offered me a life-changing job. That job changed my life in so many positive ways.  I am grateful for my job, but it's been challenging to stay on the treadmill I feel like I am on, because of recent life experiences. If I could dial things back a little, with some help, and use the time and support assistance to channel my energy towards helping others, I would love to be able to do so. I spend a good deal of my own income now helping a few individuals in my "zone" who are having a tough time; plus occasionally a stranger. So many people have great needs.

My personal life has been less successful, but not all bad and after a turbulent 2+ years am enjoying some well-deserved contentment. However, what I experienced over the past 2-4 years forever changed me. Not to dwell too much on this, but to say that I met and fell in love with a man who treated me better than anyone ever had. He could read my complex mind and loved me in spite of a few differences. We made the decision that he would move into my house, which he did. Before that, he had some health issues that had brought us closer, but we had no idea what we would soon face when soon after he moved in his symptoms progressed and he would be diagnosed with a very rare, terminal disease ("CJD"). I went from lover to caregiver, and fought to identify ways to treat every symptom possible to prolong his ability to walk and communicate as he had a longer version of it without as severe of cognitive deficits.  It was traumatic caring for someone who gradually became unable to care for himself with a lot of help, which I provided. Because he didn't sleep well, for most of what would become about 11 months my life was carved into 1-2 hour segments, because whether awake or asleep, he would awaken and ask his "honey" (me) to help him or I would just recognize that he needed help and tend to him.  It was extremely difficult to go from hospital to inpatient hospice care (24 hours in between at home with medical equipment, but couldn't manage his pain). He spent his last ~10 days at hospice and it was hard to stop trying to improve and prolong his life. I watched him take his last breaths and it was a life-altering experience. I have come a long way in two years since his death, but still struggle with depression and newly diagnosed diabetes brought on my both genetics and depression-related activity.  Am undergoing treatment and a new diet that I hope will reverse some things, but what I don't believe I can reverse if how that whole experience changed me.  I'm not the same person I was.  I struggle to hide it and keep up the best I can.  I just wish I could semi-retire early.  So, part of this fund would be used to help me do that.  

I also help several individuals - my mother who has a very modest social security income to live on, which I supplement each month to give her a helping hand; a friend who has had a tough time with life the past few years and has needed help so he would have food to eat and a car to drive (I gave him an old car of mine); various young people I know who struggle paycheck to paycheck and when I can I slip them extra money and when they reply, oh good, now I can go to the grocery store, I know I did a good thing.  I have a neighbor who was out of a job for a long time and is now employed again, but she has struggled to keep her house. She's made it, but is way behind on HOA dues. I would like to be able to help her be current on that debt. I have another neighbor who recently had a mini-stroke. He is/was a truck driver and now can't drive for at least a year. He has a strong work ethic (has driven for 40 years) and never counted on needed diability and now he's paying for not checking that box. I would like to be able to provide a monthly "annuity" for at least a year to help him pay his bills and stay in his home.

I would like to establish a fund that would help people in need who at over 50 and don't quite qualify for public assistance, but need a helping hand.  I need a fund with a cushion to do that. If successful, I will establish a private nonprofit foundation to further the causes I would like to fund. I will also create a website to disclose how donated funds are used. The majority will be for others.  

I could and need to write more and will, but to update this now - this is it. Thank you for reading and "listening" with your heart. Your willingness to help in any way will help more than you know.  

Thank you!

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Dianne Willard

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