Tom Gerding (aka John the Baptist) Fundraiser
Organized by: Kerry Schindl
Tom Gerding (known by most as John the Baptist, the Baptist, or simply Baptist for those who are in to the whole brevity thing) lost an eye to cancer about ten years ago. His doctors believe the cancer was caused by Agent Orange exposure during his tours in Vietnam, but he was denied disability (appeal still pending). Now the cancer has returned, spread to several organs, so he is out of work while undergoing chemo. He has been selling beloved possessions (like his Harley) to try to stay afloat. If he does not have the stress of mortgage payments, I believe he will be better able to spend his energy and money on fighting his disease. He has under $10,000 left on his mortgage, so I think raising the money to pay it off is feasible if everyone who hates cancer and loves veterans will help him. I plan to visit him next on July 29th; please help me present him a big check to make his life a little better. Also, if you know Tom/Baptist, please don't tell him I'm doing this; I'd like to surprise him.
Giving John the Baptist/Tom Gerding the check that so many people helped me write was one of the most bittersweet moments in my life. He was absolutely stunned. Ever the quick wit, he said (disclaimer: words may be slightly rearranged), "All my life I've tried to live down a bad reputation; now I'm going to have to try to live up to a good one!" I showed him a printout of this page so he could read the call to action and all of the close to 200 individual donations with comments (anonymity preserved), and he could hardly believe it. We may not have been able to pay off the whole mortgage, but we helped a good man feel loved and freed from some of his stress.
I can't say for sure if the money will go straight to his mortgage, or if he will use it to assist in another area. He likely does not have much time left. If any further donations come in, they may be going toward a funeral rather than a house. I will be able to pass along anything else that may be sent to his family. I wanted to take pictures or some video of the presentation of the check, but I would rather you remember the image of John the Baptist/Tom Gerding from this page. I love him, whatever his physical state may be, but I want to picture him in better days. Thank you all for helping me help my friend!
Final update: Tom/Baptist has passed. I will leave this page up for now; if you donate, the money will go to his family. Thank you.