How You Can Help
This is the hardest page we've had to make on this blog. Many of you have been asking how you can help, and we haven't known how to respond.
It's not easy asking for help, especially when you're two responsible, well-educated, hard-working adults who never expected to find ourselves in this position.
We have a savings account (the "baby fund" as we had begun referring to it). We have renter's insurance, car insurance, health insurance, traveler's insurance, and probably a few other insurances that I'm failing to recall, but we don't have disability insurance. We don't have it because -- well, we're young and fit and healthy and strong and we never imagined we'd find ourselves in this position.
But here we are, so I guess life is funny like that. Just when you think things are going smoothly, suddenly you find yourself trapped 6,782 miles (10,914 kilometers) away from your home, your job, your car, the country in which you have private and public health insurance, and the country in which you pay taxes that would otherwise qualify you for disability income, except that they won't approve you for it since you're currently out of the country.
Life is weird.
We've applied for disability income in the U.S., but they've told us it will be 5 months before we get an answer on our application, and if we qualify, there will be a 6 month "stand down" period during which we'll receive no payments, followed by a few months of payments of about $1,000/mo (hopefully).
Many of you are asking what you can do to help and, to be honest, we haven't really known the answer to that.
Until very recently, everyday has just been a struggle for survival and we haven't had the luxury of thinking about other basic needs. At least not until they're upon us. Foresight is a thing of the past.
I didn't realize that I needed a toothbrush until there was a quiet moment where it occurred to me that I hadn't brushed my teeth in a while (although I couldn't tell you how long exactly). It was at least a few days before I realized I should wear pajamas instead of my street clothes to bed. I took showers everyday because I needed to be as clean as possible to make sure I wasn't carrying any germs on my skin that could be passed off to Matt. But things like brushing my hair didn't occur to me. Or if they did, they didn't make it onto the list of priorities most of the time.
But as we slowly started to settle into our new reality, and as pockets of my brain began to clear from the explosion that had left them in tatters, I would suddenly discover things that I needed: food, shampoo, a shaver, clean clothes...
Now that we've had some time to digest the reality of our situation, we've come to the harsh realization that we can't do this alone. We need help. A lot of it.
We've been told it will be at least a year before Matt's able to work again, and I need to be his full time caretaker for the next six months. (If he didn't have a full time caretaker for at least 6 months, Matt wouldn't be able to have the transplant and his chances of survival would be pretty grim.)
So while we still have some of our savings left, it's been cut nearly in half from the NZ/US exchange rate and it won't last much longer. And while we have travel insurance, it doesn't cover all our mounting expenses and it has an end date. And while we're currently battling with the NZ and US bureaucracies to try to get one of the countries in which we've paid taxes for numerous years (and have undoubtedly funded many other people on disability/social security/welfare/etc) to help us ease the financial pain we're going through right now, we don't have high hopes that this will meet our growing expenses.
We're going to be facing many costs and expenses over the next year that we never could have anticipated in a million years.
This is the hardest sentence we've ever had to write, but: We need your help.
Please visit our GoFundMe page to help us win this battle and get back to our pre-cancer lives.
Dani & Matt
Note: After posting this, some of you have asked for alternative ways to donate besides Go Fund Me. We have set up a Venmo account and a PayPal account under Matt's email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also transfer money to our bank account in New Zealand: 01-0505-0803589-00.
Thank you all so much for all your love and support. We are overwhelmed and humbled by your generousity and the outpouring of love. There are no words to describe how thankful we are.