This morning, I was excited to resume one of my regular routines. That routine was my early-ish Sunday morning brunch with a few friends. That all started awhile ago, when I noticed a Facebook friend, who I know was a patron of various arts (like myself) lived closed to me & was a total foodie. She knew all these spots I had no clue were even around. She extended an open invitation to one of them; and the rest is history. We became fast friends.
The food was & is so good, it often reminded me of many small family run businesses/restaurants I grew up with run by my friends & family in rural areas. Or reminded me of others started by family later (who were around my age). Coming out of a small, tight-knit community in the rural midwest, I appreciate the labor of love it takes to keep a spot like that going. So eventually, I started talking to the owner & then also friended his wife on Facebook. They are both wonderful people to know, and soon I became not only a regular, but a friend.
One day I came into my regular chair in the corner (where I usually sit) & started chatting with the owner like usual. Eventually, he asked me very politely if everything was ok, because he hadn’t seen me before wearing oxygen. So little by little, I shared my story to that point.
From that point forward, he would always kindly ask me for an update on what was going on. I shared with him the news (once I found out) that I needed a double lung transplant in order to help me continue my 12 year fight with LAM.
A week or maybe 2 later, I came in. I came in & saw this handmade sign on the counter with a pile of cookies. “Cookies for Nicole”. This spot’s cookies are out of this world. These new friends of mine & their staff just decided that by selling their cookies at pure profit & setting aside those dollars in a fund for me each week for a month or two they could easily contribute to my fundraising efforts. I didn’t even have to ask, they just did this & decided to do this on their own. Their goal was to raise $1,000 for my transplant fund.
Last Wednesday evening or Thursday, one of my friends from the arts community forwarded me a link to that article in our local news paper & the accompanying video. I had been interviewed that morning. Though they had raised quite a bit of money before that, (I had been getting periodic updates) the extra exposure from that feature helped. (They also decided that they might even try to extend the sale out a little time longer) since it ran a little late in the week.
Yet today, they gave me the first round of proceeds – over $1200, plus a few gas/grocery cards & additional donations from other people. It was an incredible outpouring of support & friendship that was truly humbling.
I’ve been fortunate enough along the way to not only have this show of support pop up here but also in my improv community & from other friends everywhere. Every community I’ve ever been apart of my whole life – volunteer, where I’ve lived, arts, wherever, even a community of people who I’ve never met with similar stories & experiences to mine all pitched in to make this growing fund for my medical expenses possible. All of these tribes of mine throughout my life that I’ve been involved with have all rolled up their sleeves to help me from the very beginning. It’s been like that consistently, often daily, since I started my fundraising efforts a bit before Labor Day & it’s quite impressive.
I’m still not done yet. I have another exciting update tomorrow or within the next few days when I can post a full update.
But I want this one to shine today for itself…
I am completely humbled by this outpouring of support & friendship. It’s not even about the money raised in the grand scheme of things. It’s about the spirit in which these donations are made & are given to me.
I’m thankful to have such strong support with this journey on ALL fronts. Not too many people have near enough on this transplant journey. As hard as it can get at times, it’s often a lonely walk for people.
It just goes to show when a fellow friend is in trouble, people’s creativity to give them a boost up truly knows no bounds.