In September, I uploaded a post called I need your help. I had run out of money, I was down, I was discouraged, and I was wondering if I could even keep going in this whole SDL adventure or not. In my moment of desperation, I asked for your help.
And you helped me. Big time.
When the dust settled, $2,467.32 was donated. It made all the difference in the world for me. It gave me the boost to not give up but instead get going and finally finish writing some of the things I hadn’t been able to (such as I’m Christian, unless you’re gay). It helped me in more ways than you could possibly know. It put food on our table and paid for the server that helps you all waste so much time here with me every day!
What you didn’t know is that not only did it alleviate the heavy burden of sudden, unexpected overhead for the blog, it also led to a lot of advice-driven emails from caring people, which ultimately helped me get my blog on track to bring in an actual income.
After asking for help in that post, there was a bit of backlash in the blogging community as other bloggers insisted that with the traffic I get, I should be making enough money to not need donations. As it turns out, they were right.
I should have been making sufficient money with the amount of traffic I had. I just didn’t know it. I didn’t know how, and had not been able to figure it out due to the workload it takes to keep up a blog like this. Thanks to all of you, I now have those tools in place. Money *hopefully* won’t be an ongoing stress any longer.
Because of that, I wanted to pay some of it forward to you this holiday season.
I had these incredible and awesome plans to take my first advertising paycheck, and just in time for the holidays, pay it forward to a handful of you who need it most. I had plans to use the money to help some of you have a Christmas with your kids who, without it, would have no Christmas at all.
What I didn’t know was that the first check doesn’t arrive until mid-January.
I have enough to live on, but I’m still pretty depleted on funds. Like I mentioned before, I’ve even spent the extra cash I had hiding-out on top of my refrigerator.
And when I found out that I wouldn’t be getting the money in time, it got me really down for a few days. I started feeling like I just couldn’t win. I didn’t care about me having money for Christmas or not. Christmas will take care of itself here, I have no worries about that. No, I got down because I was really excited to pay it forward. I was really excited to make magic happen for somebody else, the way so many of you did for me. I was really excited to give some of you a moment of freedom from your financial stresses just like you gave me.
And I couldn’t.
And damn it, that sucked.
But then I got a text from Gary, an old colleague of mine, inviting me to lunch.
And what he told me at lunch blew me away.
What he told me at lunch made me realize just how small and insignificant all of my problems actually are. It made me realize just how blessed I really am. It made me realize that this Christmas, there are other shoes being worn by other people that I would beg God to never make me wear.
It also got me to thinking and I realized that a guy like me with a platform like this doesn’t have to have and give away truckloads of money to make special things happen in this world.
And so I got to planning.
This is Tyler and his wife Lisy. Tyler is Gary’s son.
These are their two daughters, Alice and Natalie.
Now, before I tell you anything else, let me tell you a little more about Tyler.
Tyler was one of my number one employees when I used to manage a small chain of stores that sold therapeutic sleep systems. When we had grown enough to need regional managers, he was my first recommendation for the job in his region, and he never failed to deliver.
But more than the incredible employee that he was, I always knew Tyler as an incredible man. A humble man. An honest man. And a damn good dad to his now five kids. As real a dad as they come.
And while at lunch with Gary, I naturally asked how Tyler was doing these days. It had been a few years since I’d seen him.
“Dan, I don’t know if you ever knew who Bubble Boy was,” he said. I told him I knew. He then went on to tell me about his two grandkids who have the same medical condition. It’s called Leaky SCID and is very rare. Only one in 40,000 people in America carry the gene for it, and only a small percentage of those will pass it on to their child. Tyler had the gene.
And amazingly enough, so did his wife.
Doctors tell them it’s unheard of. The odds of two people who have the gene finding each other and having children is so nil that it should never happen and as far as they know it never has happened before.
But it’s what did happen. And because of that, they have two incredible daughters who fight a battle every single day with Leaky SCID. They have two daughters who are sent to the emergency room with every cough and sniffle that gets passed around. They have two daughters whose organs are much older than they are. They have two daughters who don’t know what a normal life is.
I called Tyler up, he shared a story from his journal with me.
On a November night in 2009, Natalie had come down with a cough and fever of a 106 degrees. Around her eyes were a darkness we had not seen before on her, and shivers that were so violent that it gave to look of a siesure. Together, Lisy and I spent the night consoling her with cool compresses and warm baths to sooth the shivers. With each cough her body shook with violence and ended with an exasperated whimper. She was spent physically and mentally. In the early hours of the morning as I struggled to comfort her she gathered enough strength to yell out, “Daddy, what is wrong with me, why am I like this?”
Her question skipped my ears and entered my heart only to tear everything up inside. I had no answer, I could see the disappointment in her eyes. Then next morning I took her to the hospital where the doctors would diagnose her with the H1N1 virus, she would spend a month in the hospital unconscious. The doctors would tell us she was close to death on many occasions during her stay. She turned six years old during that stay, and didn’t know it.
This week, Natalie is going in for a bone marrow transplant. Alice will follow right behind her.
And there is a 90% chance they will come out on the other end of this whole and with semi-normal lives.
But it takes a lot of time. And it takes a lot of care. And it takes a lot of money.
Tyler and Lisy have the time it will take to give constant care to their daughters for the next year (during which time they won’t be able to leave their home). They have the love that it will take to care for their daughters while raising their other three kids (who also won’t be able to leave their home). What they don’t have is money to make it possible.
Tyler has spent the past three years building a document processing company with his business partner. When the doctor told him that he shouldn’t work for the next year while his kids were healing, he relinquished his shares and walked away from it. It wasn’t even a question for him. His daughters’ survival was his priority. Because of that he will have no income for the next year.
And that’s where I come to you.
To ask for your help. Any help. From anyone. Any amount.
Tyler and Lisy are parents who love their kids. Tyler and Lisy are parents who would do anything for their kids. Tyler and Lisy are parents who have been through the wringer, have done their best to never ask for help, and who have given up every bit of everything normal in their lives to take care of these two girls.
But more than that, it’s because Alice and Natalie have put everything into perspective for me. I mean, come on… My biggest problem right now is deciding whether or not I want to hang Christmas lights this year. My kid’s biggest health issue in the past month has been a nasty cough. My biggest worry right now is whether or not I should go get this ear infection of mine checked, or whether I should see if it heals on its own.
And it’s really nice that my body has the tools to heal on its own. And that an ear infection doesn’t mean I might be spending long amounts of time in the hospital. Or that I might even die.
I’m betting Alice and Natalie would give anything to trade for my biggest worry. I’m betting their parents would give anything to have my biggest problems instead of theirs.
And I can’t do a lot right now financially, but I can do this. I can sell my snow blower and give them the money that I get for it. And I can ask you to open up your hearts and your wallets this Christmas as well.
A buck? Five bucks? Fifty bucks? How blessed are you in your own life? How much are your own blessings worth to you? Would you be willing to join me and, even if money is tight, for somebody you have never met, and show Tyler and his family just how thankful you are for your life and for your blessings by helping ease their burdens just a little?
There is no 501c3 setup. This isn’t some official charity who will give you all sorts of tax benefits if you donate. It would be an exercise of trust for you to donate. It would be a leap of faith and a showing of gratitude.
Lisy is a real mom. Tyler is a real dad. And Natalie and Alice are a couple of very real girls who just want to wake up one morning in the future and finally walk outside without fear of microscopic invasion or death. They’re girls who want to experience things that all girls dream of. Love, life, and unrestricted friendships. They’re two girls who would love to spend more time on school busses and less time in hospitals. That’s all.
This Christmas, I won’t have much to spend on my little man. And that’s satisfyingly okay. Maybe sometimes a Christmas without much at all is just what the doctor ordered to realize just how blessed I really am.
So please, join me this Christmas. Dig in, dig deep, and send a PayPal payment for any amount you like to Tyler and Lisy (it will all go straight to them, I’ll never see it). Honestly, a dollar is more than okay. We’ve setup the email firstname.lastname@example.org which will go straight to their PayPal account. Fish is their last name. You may also email them at that address if you like to send them best wishes as they get ready to undergo the biggest surgeries of their lives and in an attempt to save their daughters’ lives.
And while each of you join me to help Tyler and Lisy, I hope you’ll also permit me to do what I originally wanted to do this Christmas.
My first advertising check doesn’t come in until January. But, remember that money on top of the fridge that I already spent?
Well, underneath that money was a fridge. A big, fat, stainless steel, beautiful empty fridge.
And since the place Noah and I just moved into comes with a fridge already, I sold that big empty fridge. I got $500 bucks for it. And I want to give it to you.
So, I will give it to five random people who fill out this form and tell me that one hundred dollars will make Christmas possible this year. I will send five people a check (or PayPal) for $100.00. I’m talking about people who really need it. Parents who usually don’t know how they’ll buy their next meal let alone a gift for their child on Christmas. If you fit into that category, please fill out this form.
The world has been so good to Noah and me. I am so thankful for all that we have. And I am so thankful for a platform that lets me occasionally ask for help, whether it’s help for me or help for somebody else. I wish I could do more, but I’ve already sold pretty much everything else that I can sell.
God bless you all. And thank you. Sincerely.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. Please post a link to this on your FB page or wherever else. Please ask everybody you know to come read it. I am hoping to do a lot of good with this post both for the Fish family and for those of you who I am able to send a few bucks to, and I will need all of your help to make that happen!
And, I will probably have way more than five people fill out the form. If you’d like to help out with any of the people I can’t send money to, please contact me via the contact page and I will happily hook you up with a family who won’t have Christmas without you.
FOLLOW UP NOTE: Hey everybody, just a note on PayPal. Many of you have asked how to donate without them taking a fee. It’s very simple, just login to PayPal, click “send money,” and below “to” and “amount” click on the personal tab, then click “gift.” As long as it’s coming from your PayPal balance or a checking account, there aren’t any fees. I don’t think it ever doesn’t charge if you use a credit card.
Also, a few people have voiced concerns over PayPal putting the axe onto other bloggers’ attempts to collect charitable contributions. The problems there are when people collect funds via the donate button without having the proper non-profitable organization setup. The same problem won’t exist here since there is no use of the donate button.