Thursday, December 6, 2012

Help Finish the Dream now accepting donations through PayPal

I have just set up a PayPal account to make contributing to the Finish the Dream campaign easier. Simply click on the button below:

Please visit www.indiegogo/finishthedream for more information.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Please Help Finish the Dream

Please Help Finish the Dream by sharing and contributing here:

The Request:
Please help spread the word. If enough people hear about this and can contribute even just $20, this dream will be realized. 

Please read my story below. If you believe that I am a worthy person to invest your money in and if you believe I am able to make good on these goals, please help us reach our dreams by contributing toward allowing me to finish this degree. 

I need to pay for my final Undergraduate degree classes

I just have this term and next to complete:
This term costs $2327.29 and covers one programming class, and two art history classes.

Next term will cost around the same amount for one statistics class and one additional class of any kind that will give me the 8 credits total needed to continue to reside in student housing. 

If I cannot pay it all off before the end of December then we must move but any monies contributed will go to the school bill.

I will continue on to Graduate school and help the HUB grow

By making this happen for me you allow me to get out of default, finish my undergraduate degree and enroll in Graduate school where I will get my Masters in Management. I aim to use the Masters program to help the Hospice Unique Boutique grow into the organization that it has the potential to become. By helping me you help a very worthy organization that helps numerous people at the end of their lives find solace.
Other Ways You Can Help

Please spread the word :)

November I am now going into finals with one Max/MSP/Jitter Programming class, and two 400 level Art History classes. But this week, November 26th, 2012, I found out that my student loans had not actually been sent to forbearance as explained in March, but instead were in default because they say they sent me paperwork in March that I didn't return to them. I don't doubt that they sent the paperwork but I have not seen it. This would have been during the time we were moving, so it likely got lost in the shuffle. All this time that I thought that my loans were in forbearance and rolling into deferment they weren't and now it is too late to fix it.

December In order to correct it I have made arrangement to make 10 months of payments which will get the loans out of the default status. But right now I have to pay for this term, which is $2327.29 and the upcoming next term which will be around the same. If I can't do that by December 28th then I am likely to lose my student house and have to move, which I don't have the funds for either. And I won't be able to finish my degree nor go in to the Master's program where they have already told me they would love to have me.

My husband has recently started his own business after months of unsuccessful job hunting. He does web design and marketing for restaurants and has recently obtained his first client but because he has just started this business he has only made a small amount of money and my work only earns enough to cover our basic costs. There is no way that we can come up with $2327 this month nor next without your help.

How I started

Let me begin by saying that I have never given up and do not intend to now. My life has been full of a tremendous number of challenges but bit by bit I have found a way to overcome each of them as I set my sights on it. I am just a few classes from my Bachelors of Science degree in Art, Digital Media with a Minor in Art History-- and I need financial help to overcome a current hurdle and finish this.

First Home
1969 I started out in a remote cabin five miles outside of 29 Palms, California. My parents were poor and uneducated but they managed. When I was 18 months old I contracted meningitis. It destroyed the left temporal region of my brain, put me into a coma and paralyzed the entire right side of my body. I remained at Los Angeles' Children's Hospital until I was 3 years old. When I left I still had nearly constant grand mal seizures but had recovered much of my mobility. The state wanted my parents to sign me over to institutionalized care but they refused. By the time I was five the seizures had pretty much disappeared. Even so, the doctors at the time felt that I would never be capable of attending school nor living a normalized life. My parents refused to believe that and fought to allow me to attend public school in regular classes.

First Grade

1974 School was not easy for me and a disruptive home life did not help, so by the time I was in fourth grade I still could neither read a book nor a clock. Many of the teachers just passed me without trying to teach me because it was easier than the alternative.

1979 That is, until I entered fifth grade and was blessed to have Charles Gimby as my teacher. He refused to accept that I was a lost cause. Within those nine months I went from illiterate to the top of my class and received the school-wide award for the most improved student. That year I also began volunteering for the Morongo Eagles Special Olympics program. I helped to encourage the competitors to achieve their best and saw that I had a lot of experience to offer. That began my lifelong commitment to volunteering in my communities. From fifth grade on I did very well in school with the exception of algebra. The damage to my brain as an infant made it impossible for me to be able to retain abstract math.

1980 This year my siblings and I went into private school. It was a small school but the curriculum allowed you to work as fast or as slow as you wanted. I blazed through course after course and loved it! That year I also completed my first marathon, raising more money myself than all of the other runners combined. I made fund-raising a regular part of my volunteerism.

1985 Every Winter and Summer break I visited my dad in Arizona. He was now living near Sedona, Arizona. I began volunteering throughout these breaks at Kachina Pointe Retirement hospital. Helping the elderly find joy toward the end of life gave me tremendous satisfaction and gave me many wonderful memories with some truly amazing people.

Miss 29 Palms
1987 My guidance counselor in high school said that there was no way I would ever be able to attend college because of my algebra disability and did not try to give me paths to achieve it. Neither of my parents had attended college and my step-father was not able to direct me. Even though I was, at that time, the town queen and was soon to spend a year in Indonesia as an exchange student, people still saw me as not worthy of a college degree.

Post-Dengue Fever
1988 That March, while living in Jakarta I contracted a severe case of Dengue fever. I lost over thirty pounds in less than three weeks and the bone pain caused by the virus has never left, although it does ease and worsen unpredictably.

When I returned from Indonesia my home life was in shambles. We moved to a town just outside of Palm Springs. I was working in a children's store near Palm Springs for about eight months but learned of a high-paying opening with the US Department of Agriculture for the summer. I took the summer position as a USDA Ag Inspector which afforded me the funds to attend one semester of college.

My step-Great-Grandfather died suddenly  that Fall followed by my Step-Father a few days after Christmas. My mother was unable to cope with the loss and went to stay at a recovery facility in Palm Springs.

Upper Left: Meeting Ambassador Paul Wolfowitz and his family in Jakarta. Florida. Java. Center: Bali. Arizona. Japan. Bottom: Northern California.

1989 I began seven classes at Copper Mountain Community College that January while my mother was being treated. I split care of my little sister with my step-grandparents. When my mother returned a few months later I let her know that I was intending to move out so that I could focus on college. Apparently she wasn't in a healthy mental state yet and her response to my intention of leaving left me with no alternative but to flee to my grandparents home as soon as I could escape. In order to save me they helped me to move abruptly to Portland, Oregon. It meant that I wouldn't be able to take finals that semester, so my classes that were otherwise straight A's were negatively affected.

1990 I enrolled in Portland Community College a few months later when I had gotten somewhat settled in Portland. There I met the fellow student that would keep me from completely losing all ground and who would be there through everything that happened next.

1991 Toward the end of January I came down very sick. Within a week I was having difficulty walking. Seizures started again after being gone for nearly 15 years. I had to withdraw from school while the doctors tried to determine what was wrong. The fellow student and I moved in together so that he could help take care of me. My arms were very weak, I was endlessly fatigued and needed two canes to walk any distance at all. The doctors suspected Multiple Sclerosis and began treating me for that. I was 21. It would be a year before I would rebound and be back to normal. As soon as I could walk reasonably well again I sought out work so that I could get back on my feet. I went through Vocational Rehabilitation and was placed as a Market Researcher. (I rapidly grew in that company and was in charge of focus groups and international research when I left five years later.)

Wedding Day
Welcoming our 1st daughter
1992 The student that had been there through all of difficulties now became my husband and a year later we had our first child. Over the next ten years I climbed the corporate ladder despite numerous repeated attacks on my body by what they thought was MS, including a six month period of quadriplegia while pregnant with my second child.

Oregon Coast 2001
2001 When I reached 31 I was an Account Manager for a large telecommunications company and personally managed twenty Fortune 200 clients. I wanted to go further with the company but needed to have my degree in order to do so. I had saved a lot of stock and we decided to move to Ashland, Oregon to attend Southern Oregon University and get our degrees. (My husband had to drop out of school all those years before to help take care of me). We moved down here in August of 2001. In September, 9/11 happened, and the stock market crashed. My telecommunications company didn't recover so the stocks that had been worth well over $130 each were now worth .13 cents each.

I was working as a buyer at a local gift and household goods store, Paddington Station and my husband was working as a line cook at a The Wild Goose Cafe, so we figured we would manage. And we did. We did very well in college and it looked like our lives were finally pointing in the right direction for the next two years.

Beautiful Ashland

First electric wheelchair
2003 But in February 2003 I was struck by another severe attack, the very worst yet. This time it also caused my liver to start to fail, affected my heart and the quadriplegia would last well over one year. The doctors now changed the diagnosis from MS to a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy called Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis probable Andersen-Tawil variant. My husband continued to go to school, work and raise the children while I was trapped in my body and unable to help.

We are a happy, strong family   
2005 I did finally recover and we began to get our lives back in order once again when I had a stroke. It greatly affected my language center which, I would later learn, effectively wiped out the languages I had previously known, such as Indonesian, Malaysian, French, and German. For the next year I sounded somewhat drunk but my mind was seemingly normal aside from the foreign languages. In college I was intending to get my Bachelors of Arts degree but when I tried to take French class. Not only was the French no longer there in my brain, I could barely retain any new French language. Foreign language is a requirement for a Bachelor's of Art degree. Instead of giving up I changed my degree to a Bachelors of Science and began taking all of the needed science courses to apply to that degree change.

Oldest daughter middle-school graduation

Dreamer working for me

2008 School went well until early March 2008 when I had another attack of quadriplegia, this time just from my torso down. I was able to continue with school after taking a few weeks off to adjust to navigating campus in an electric wheelchair and training my dog to carry my books and sit quietly for long stretches in a classroom setting. I continued straight on until nearly my last classes. I only needed one quantitative and one qualitative course to graduate but if I added two Art History classes I would also get my minor in Art History.

A Disneyland Spring Break
2009 That Summer I was anticipating being finished with my undergraduate degree very soon. Through it all I had maintained a high GPA and felt like the hard part was behind me. I was very close with my father and he was quite vocal with anyone who would listen about how proud he was of me. I spoke with him regularly but I had noticed he was beginning to be behaving strangely and his posts on Facebook were increasingly strange. Around the same age my father now was, his father had committed suicide. So I asked him, point blank, if he was intending to kill himself. He swore up and down that he wasn't. He unfriended me on Facebook that week but a few weeks later he re-friended me. He again swore that he wasn't planning on ending his life yet on September 9th he did just that with a bullet to his head. He apparently believed that 09/09/09 was an auspicious date and that he would be reunited with a long lost love that day in heaven.

I withdrew from school that Fall to go to Arizona and take care of his things and his funeral (there wasn't anyone else in his life to do it) and planned on returning in Winter to school. Unfortunately that December I had another severe attack, much worse than most of the ones before. No treatment was helping and it looked like there wasn't going to be any way to overcome it this time around. I also developed a melanoma on my leg that took two surgeries to fully remove and a year later they would tell me that I had uterine cancer, the same cancer my mother was dying from. Fortunately, the uterine cancer was a misdiagnosis.

Cover of my first book

2010 While I could rarely get out of bed or be involved in the world much, I still strove to contribute to the future of my family. I started a company that created its own content as well as supported writers in developing theirs. Some days I could not do more than have the laptop propped up beside me as I typed one word or one sentence slowly and deliberately. On good days I would get layouts done, proof read other writers works, consult published writers and aspiring writers on how to get their projects complete and get out and do photos for content all in one day! I managed to complete my seasonal shopping guides and was planning on launching in January of 2012. I wanted to get them laid out professionally before marketing them.

2011 But by Fall I was chronically ill and figured that I had a year or so left in me. I didn't have the funds to hire a book designer and it seemed that by the time the books would be done it would be too late for me.

In December I had developed a serious sinus infection and went to the clinic to get antibiotics. The usual doctors weren't there so a specialist who volunteered at the clinic once a month saw me instead. As he was looking over my chart he remarked that I was one of the luckiest people in the world. When I asked him why on earth he would even think that, he said that he was pretty sure I had been misdiagnosed all this time and, if so, that my life was about to change tremendously. The disorder he was suspecting happened to be his specialty, a specialty that a very small number of doctors in the whole country would have recognized.

2012 January A round of tests were run and it was verified that I did not have MS nor Muscular Dystrophy but had actually been born with a genetic inability to absorb B-vitamins called Homocystenuria and it is fully treatable. These days every baby that is born in the US is tested for it at birth when they draw blood from the heel prick. They are testing for homocystenuria as well as phenylketonuria. After decades of wrong turns and false hopes I didn't believe a word of it. He then showed me the vitamin levels in my tests. Every single one was severely deficient--not just all of the B-Vitamins but all of them--calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, etc. We began treatment.

March By March I felt like I was a teenager again! It was BEAUTIFUL!! And hard to believe that it would be like that forever but I immediately took advantage of it and began to take steps toward getting my life back.

At that same time we were living in student housing while my husband was finishing his Masters in Management degree. We found out that the University needed to tear down our house and move us into a different one. We moved while I looked for a job. I still was challenged by bone and joint problems stemming from the dengue fever I contracted in Indonesia and the decades of damage done by having vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Although they do cause pain, the overall quality of my life is extraordinarily better than it has been since I was a kid.

May I found a position at an amazing local non-profit called the Hospice Unique Boutique. It is a high quality resale boutique that supports end-of-life care programs and last wishes in the Rogue Valley. In their first year they were able to gift $5000 to those programs, in their second year they gifted $10,000. This year they gifted $30,000!!! I accepted the position as the Assistant Manager. It is the most wonderful shop to experience and the most rewarding place I have ever had the pleasure to support. If you are from this area you have to check it out (, or friend them on Facebook and you will see what I mean.

Around the time that we moved is when I contacted the Department of Education and Direct Loans to get back to school. They told me that they would put my loans into forbearance, because we were too poor to pay any loans at the time, and then when I returned to school again in Fall it would automatically roll over into deferment while I was a student.

June During the next few months my eldest daughter graduated from high school, my youngest daughter graduated from middle school, we became short-term foster parents for another girl and we moved my eldest daughter to Portland to attend Portland State University as a double major in Physics and Theatre.

October I returned to school and felt overjoyed! Being is school is tremendously rewarding for me and all of the possibilities of having my degree are very close at hand. I love to learn, I love the academic environment and I love the daily challenges. I am grateful to be there every single day.