I have kidney failure caused by a too late in life diagnosis of ureter reflux. The doctor I went to see always had other excuses for my illnesses. The ureter defect was not repaired until my school nurse discovered it. I was eleven, although I had the defect was corrected immediately, it was to late to save my kidneys. I eventually lost all kidney function and had to start dialysis.
I started dialysis when I was fifteen, (my sophomore year of high school) I went to dialysis every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I did home work on treatments, it ruined Moby Dick for me, it just did. I was at a clinic where I was the youngest one by at least thirty years, needless to say I was spoiled (I still am)
I was seventeen when I was given a cadaver (deceased-donor) kidney transplant. It was a blessing that as a teenager I took for granted. I was placed on a lot of medications that were unpleasant, and made me very ill. They broke down my immune system and caused me to make many, many hospital visits. I did have three years without dialysis, which was great, because even though I was sick for a lot of those years, when I wasn't in the hospital, I had freedom.
When I was twenty I ended up getting shingles. The transplant medicine had weakened my immune system, which made it hard to fight off infections. The shingles cost me my transplant but, it could have been my life. I had to go back on dialysis. On my first day back to the clinic I met Jason, he was my dialysis tech, and he has been my husband for nearly seven years.
I am now thirty years old and I have been on dialysis for ten years. The last ten years may have been full of ups and downs with my health, but has all been a blessing.
The website Funderhut has attributed to my most recent blessings. I have wanted to go to the Kidney Ball (a DC Event put on by The National Kidney Foundation) for some time now but haven't had the funds to do it, or the drive.
This last year has been a struggle, because an infection in my blood, abdominal pain and among other things I was in the hospital for almost a hundred and thirty days this year. I was determined to find a way to get my husband and I to the Ball, which is a masquerade this year. I posted on Facebook and sent a few emails about wanting to go and looking for ways to save money and raise money. A man from the NKF generously gave us a hundred dollars off our entry. It seemed as though we could do this. I started to think about what to do to start raising my attire. I googled fundraising and found a few different sites, but none that were as easy to use as Funderhut! I was able to add pictures and videos to my project page with ease, there was no limited space to describe myself or what it was I was trying do, and I could put my project up on many other social media sites. If I was not able to raise enough to go I was still giving the money to The NKF, which is a great cause. But because Funderhut and all the love and support from my family and friends I made not only my goal but enough so both my husband and I can go and I will have a dress! A day to forget about being sick and to be reminded to enjoy the life I've been blessed with.
Thank you for your support on this wild journey to Thailand. I am so entirely grateful for all the beautiful friends and family that have been so incredibly supportive on my adventure to newfound education of my passion and study. Even reading these two sentences I am realizing that the corniness cannot express the truest form of gratitude that I have in my heart pulsating me back to Chicago. Just remember, I am living with the warmth of knowing I have you to come back to, embrace, regroup, and rebuild. This is the first time I have left for a long time from my home where I know already that I will be homesick at times just thinking about all of you that have really pushed and motivated me to have the strength to do this inward life-changing adventure. I have fundraised above and beyond my expectations raising $5,500 when I had a $4,000 goal, and that is because of you and your help. It will not be forgotten, not while I am working on every body learning Thai Massage, not while I am helping small communities start a fair trade program, not while I am working on an elephant sanctuary. I will be thinking of you and how much you believed in me and not taking a moment for granted. This is it, the beginning of a new chapter for me. You will be a part of this as a witness. I will keep in touch and I will be sending so much love from the other side of the world. I will be blowing kisses from Chiang Mai that have that have the overflowing powers to kiss all of you on the cheek whenever you are missing me. I will be back before you know it, giving you the massage of your life!
In a country where animals are not protected by law, and very little funding is provided, a fundraising team turned to the generous crowdfunding community. Olya Verkhovykh, the leader behind the Siberian Animal Shelter fundraising campaign, had this to say:
“Everything starts from the idea and without Funderhut that idea would never have become a reality. By creating my project, I was able to reach a lot of people and raised enough funding to help the animal shelter, get medical supplies and build extra booths for the dogs. On behalf of my friend, who is a one of the founders of this shelter, and everybody who works, there I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to make it happen.”
I made my project a success by directly contacting artists and sharing my story. I consistently updated my social media platforms as well as posted “proof of concept” updates on my FunderHut profile. You can’t just create a crowdfunding project and expect it to magically produce funds. You have to use all of your resources in attempt to build a strong connection with your followers. The money raised went directly towards purchasing updated equipment, which helped City Vanguard focus on quality production. Local musicians are sometimes judged by how they are presented. By receiving a higher grade of visual and audio quality, the artist gains a more level playing field when compared with “funded” artists. Music shouldn’t be judged on poor representation, but rather on its pure soul. The future looks bright for City Vanguard. We hope to expand the content of episodes, add interviews and extend performance footage. Thanks to FunderHut, these goals are soon becoming a reality.