Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Here Goes.

Okay, I should admit right off that I am a lousy fundraiser. I don't have my daughter's capacity for ruthlesness on the topic; I don't have the sales personality; I don't view asking for money as an exciting challenge. When other people fundraise online for compelling causes, generally I just give some money and keep quiet about it because I'm afraid I'll sound like a dork if I try to do anything else.

So I am just going to write about this, and make some links, and hope that the six or seven people who read this blog and haven't already read posts on the topic will read and maybe pass it on. Because this one hits home for me and I have to write about it for writing's sake, even if it doesn't add one dollar to Annika's coffers. Though I hope it will.

I started reading Moreena's blog, "Falling Down is Also a Gift," because so many people were linking to it last time her daughter Annika was sick. I kept reading because Moreena is a funny, graceful, incisive writer, who can make a seamless transition from a wrenching bit of news like "So I'm guessing that we'll probably be heading back for a transfusion at some point, even if [Annika] manages to avoid another acute bleed," to a classic mommyblogging anecdote like the tale, a few paragraphs down the same post, of her younger daughter Frankie's generous gift of an eensy crumb of cheddar cheese.

I kept reading because Annika, who was born with a liver disease requiring (so far) two transplants, not to mention lots of other emergency hospitalizations, has a spark and a spirit that reminds me of Mermaid Girl's every time I read Moreena's posts. (Check out this picture. And these, in which she has made creative use of hospital supplies in a way I'm sure MG would admire.) And I kept reading (I'm embarrassed to admit I'm this solipsistic, but it's true) because Annika is a mere two months younger than MG, and even kind of looks like her.

I kept reading. Annika's health got worse. Then a little better.

And then their health insurance ran out.

And they have good insurance--I mean, "good" insurance--; Moreena's husband is a tenured professor. But there is a million-dollar-per-year limit, and they've hit it already, and it looks like Annika will be needing another transplant in the next several months. They've looked at several different ways to deal with it, and because of one kind of meshugoss or another, there's pretty much no way around it except to buy supplemental insurance that has a per-month deductable of $2-3,000. That's up to three thousand dollars deductable per month. Plus other expenses.

(Autobiographical tangent, brief because I have no energy for a longer rant on the topic: we are almost definitely moving to Canada in the next few years; RW is a dual citizen. There are a number of reasons, but one big one is that health insurance in this country is such a scary crap shoot. This story is just another reminder that even if you have a steady job, even if you have insurance, even if you are frugal--surprise!--one big illness can wipe you out.)

So. With a great deal of reluctance--it doesn't sound like this is any more Moreena's thing than it is mine--they are fundraising. Annika has a direct donation page on the Children's Organ Transplant Association site. Moreena's Internet friends have set up a clearinghouse site for "Annika's Internet Insurance Policy" with links to the COTA page as well as more creative fundraising methods: raffles for some great stuff; online auctions; and a "Virtual Community Casserole Campaign," in which you donate the cost of whatever you might spend on a casserole for someone in your town (church, synagogue, book group, political group, workplace, childcare co-op...) if illness struck their family.

I know lots of people have scary financial stuff of their own to deal with. I know other people are fundraising and doing activism and volunteer work for highly worthy causes: curing diseases, or for folks who are in dire, dire circumstances.

I'm trying not to think about it as a zero-sum game. I'm trying to think about that corny story about the starfish and the kid walking along the beach throwing them back in the ocean, and how someone scoffed that she couldn't save all of them and she answered that she could save that one (toss) and that one (toss) and that one(toss). I've thrown in my little bit of money, and here I am, throwing in my bit of linkage.

And if you, reading this, want to throw in your bit, make a virtual casserole, buy a raffle ticket, donate directly to the COTA, please click on the links above. Or--heck, this is what real fundraisers do, right? They make it easy to click?--here they are again:

COTA Page for Annika Tiede

Annika's Internet Insurance Policy

Um. Thanks.


Blogger bihari said...

Whoo. Good for you for throwing starfish. Have duly thrown mine to COTA and will post on my site as well.

Good luck, little girl!

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Beanie Baby said...

Thank you!

6:24 PM  

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