November 23, 2008

Fundraising Finale

This is from Tim and Cathy Baskin, from our October fundraising drive.


On the Kindness of "Strangers"

This is a personal thank-you note to many people whom I have never personally met.

My name is Tim. In August of this year my wife, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, was hospitalized with severe build-up of fluid around her lungs.

We spent almost the entire month in the hospital, and I say we because I was there with her almost the whole time. When the woman you've spent 31 years with has a terminal illness you are very reluctant to leave her at the hospital and go on about your business, assuming things will be fine.

The day after she was released from the hospital her car broke down - transmission trouble. It would cost more to repair than the car is worth. I am self-employed, so there was practically no income while she was in the hospital. We have no insurance. We do receive assistance with her expenses, but we still pretty much just get by.

After losing almost an entire month's income there was no way we could replace the car, meaning I would have to miss more time from work taking her to treatments. There was also the fact that someone fighting the battle she is fighting does not need to be stuck at home by herself all day every day with no way to get out and about.

While I started setting aside money to go towards a new car, Cathy decided to try a novel approach. She had heard about an online fundraising site from a friend and started a drive in late September to raise money for a car.

Shortly thereafter Laura [JoS: my partner, L-girl] learned of the effort and posted a link on her we move to canada site, then Allan put it up on Joy of Sox. Thanks to a lot of encouragement and prodding from Laura and Allan the donations soon started pouring in.

Every time the total seemed to stop growing for a day or so, they would rebroadcast a call for action and you, the membership of these two sites, would respond. We reached our stated goal more than a week ahead of the deadline. Not only did you help us attain that goal, but there was interest expressed in continuing the collections even after the goal was reached, to help out with general expenses. Cathy, however, decided that we had achieved what we set out to, and had the collections stopped.

In the meantime, a couple from our Temple learned of our efforts and donated a car to us to use while we awaited the results of the on-line campaign. Someone had given them a car when they moved here from Russia 20 years ago and they said it just seemed right. It was a '94 Taurus that sputtered and shimmied, but at least Cathy could get to the doctor's office or anywhere else when she needed to.

We received a check for $2980 from Fundable around Oct. 25th, and started searching Craigslist and other similar sites for a car in our range. I had accumulated around another $1000 or so myself. We had owned both a Taurus and a Sable previously, and they had both been good cars. It also seemed to be a model that could be found in decent condition for around the money we had to spend.

We almost bought an '02 Taurus that we had looked at before we even got the check but there were some questions about the "health" of the vehicle, and Cathy's intuition, which is remarkably accurate, said no. The last thing we needed was to empty the coffers on a car then have it break down with no money for repairs.

We toyed with the idea of using the money to repair our Mazda, but it just seemed risky. We also thought about fixing up the Taurus that had been given to us, but it was literally falling apart.

Two weeks ago my wife saw another '02 Taurus near us on Craigslist and called the guy. She called me after talking to him and said she had found her car. She knew it before she saw it. I didn't even go with her. A friend drove her to his house, about an hour away, and she drove the car home. She only test drove it because he absolutely insisted.

He was asking $3400, she asked if she could give him $3200 and send the rest so she would have the money in hand for tags, title, insurance, etc. and he said not to worry about sending the rest.

When I got home that Friday night it was sitting in the driveway, and she had already passed along the older Taurus to another family we knew was struggling, having one vehicle and a teenager in the house. It may not last them long but it will at least do the same thing it did for us, help out for a while.

Our new vehicle, meanwhile, has only 110,000 miles on it (that '94 was still going with about 300,000) and it is an absolute dream to drive. It has some very good features for her. The all-electric doors, locks, trunk, etc. make it much easier for her when she's out by herself.

I cannot sufficiently express the gratitude we feel to each and every one of you who contributed to this effort. I am not sure exactly what percentage of the money came from wmtc and Joy of Sox readers, but I am absolutely certain it was a very significant share.

It speaks volumes about the type of people who are attracted to these two sites, which in turn speaks volumes about the two people who created them. Every time I get into that car I cannot help but think about the kindness that so many people showed that made it possible for us to have it. They did so without knowing anything more about us than the fact that we needed a hand, and they were willing to give one.

There were around 90 different donations to the site. I'm sure there are some people among that group that I know but don't recognize their e-mail. However, I'm also sure that over three-quarters of those donations came from people whom I have never met personally. I would certainly hesitate to call them "strangers" though.

It just goes to show - there are a lot of really good people out there. Now if we could just get some of them in charge.

And who knows, if things go well this spring, perhaps I'll drive that Taurus to a certain event that's being whispered about in Boston during the upcoming baseball season, where I might finally meet some of those non-strangers.

Thanks again.

- Tim and Cathy, aka SoSock and Mrs Sock/Sockette.


And thanks again from me to everyone who was moved to help. It feels great to use this blog for something more than debating 7th-inning pitching changes, using silly nicknames and posting jpgs of the Daily News -- although those things are fun, too! Many of the donations came from readers who do not comment. I'm glad they consider themselves part of the JoS community.


tim said...

Wicked! =) This is why I freakin' love this blog and the people that post here and even just read here but do not post. This is a great example of the community here at JoS and I'm happy to see Cathy and Tim met their goal and got a car! Best of luck with everything during the rest of the off-season, you're both in our thoughts here and we definitely hope to see you in Boston this summer!

Zenslinger said...

Great to get an update and I hope all is going well for you two.

Red Sox Monster said...

What great news. I think I speak for many by saying that it was hard not to want to do a little bit to help, especially given your encouragement, Allan. We all know someone who has struggled with cancer, and for the family to be stranded without a vehicle seemed ridiculous.

To recap: TV news wouldn't make me break out the wallet like this. A good-hearted blogger did.

nixon33 said...

touching. i wish them well.