It takes a village.
In the United States, we have a habit of lying to ourselves about our independence. Our story is about individual freedoms and personal rights protected by law. Any man can make it on his own in America, and he expects help from nobody. If he owns a business, he built it! If he wants to go somewhere, he drives. On a freeway. Our country is covered with McMansion sprawl because every man can amass his own kingdom. All by himself. And if he doesn't manage to pull it off -- he has only himself to blame.
Forget that humans are tribal. They've always depended on each other to survive. Not so in America. Close your eyes and your ears and pretend that successful people never got help. From anyone.
It's the opium of the masses in much of America. And when people get stoned, they sometimes get mean -- and while it's true that this nastiness hurts people everywhere, there are few who know the sting of its fury like a single mother.
We are raising funds for tonyahky, who needs to provide specialized care for her disabled child so she can schedule a vital surgery for what is now becoming an imminently life-threatening medical problem.
Tonya was in the hospital last night because of blood loss. She was released last night, but the matter has become increasingly urgent. She is now back in the hospital and has been admitted as she awaits a blood transfusion. More news as it becomes available.
I think they're planning on getting the transfusion done today. If all goes as intended, they say they'll spring her tomorrow, and then she can spend a few days (I hope) getting someone screened and maybe even hired for her daughter and other things taken care of. There's been talk of moving her surgery up to this week, so I'm really, really glad that we did this now, and that we gave her some financial breathing room, because I have a sneaking suspicion that the associated expenses are going to use it up very fast now.
I was once a single mother, so I know a little about how metastable that life can be. Under the best of circumstances, it is wrought with Catch-22 scenarios because the expectations for "breadwinner" are rarely consistent with the expectations for "caregiver." More often, though, single mothers have to tiptoe through life one misstep away from disaster. Unfortunately, people can smell that desperation, and the mean ones commonly act on it. Single moms are a scapegoat and easy target because they can't fight back -- they lack the safety and resources to do so. Answering the question, "What's the worst that could happen?" is simply unthinkable. And sometimes the worst is fatal.
Under the best of circumstances, a single parent goes through life tolerating a stream of problems that are unsolvable -- problems of all sizes. Why? Because the village isn't there for them. Here we do things on our own. Seriously. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a married parent say, "Nobody helped us raise our kids," I swear I'd be rich as Warren Buffet.
Hillary Clinton wrote a book called It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us where she said that it takes a village to raise a child. As a single mother, I learned that it takes a village for everything. It takes a village to merely survive.
Tonya is in the diametric opposite of "the best of circumstances." If you can, please help. Her life depends on it. Her children do, too.
She had mentioned having just gotten bad news from the doctor: a dangerous uterine fibroid situation in need of invasive surgery very soon. An alarm bell went off in my brain, and as I continued to read, sure enough: She can get the surgery, but doing so creates a huge — seemingly insurmountable — problem for her.
She is the once-again-single mother of four children. The oldest starts college (locally) in five weeks. The others go back to school about the same time. And the second child, aged 16, has severe autism and requires a personal attendant virtually around the clock.
A personal attendant able to help physically with some very heavy, labor-intensive tasks.
After her surgery, Tonya will be bedridden for a while, and severely restricted in her physical activities for a minimum of six weeks. It's not merely that she will be unable to lift anything or engage in any labor-intensive activities: She will not be able to drive; to lift or carry virtually anything, including a purse; or to perform activities that involve stretching, bending, or twisting, such as getting a dish out of a kitchen cabinet, for several weeks.
And there is no state aid available in Rand Paul's Kentucky for a single mother of four children, without health insurance and unable to work for months from sheer pain, to provide an after-school aide for her severely disabled daughter.
Please help Tonya by donating in one of the following three ways:
1. PayPal: weckworth [at] earthlink [dot] net.
2. Personal checks can be written out to Kossack Charles CurtisStanley (Kitsap River's husband and Aji's brother). Kosmail Aji for the address and Kitsap River's phone number, should you wish to verify it.
3. Sending money orders via the U.S. Postal Service and Western Union, because many check-cashing outlets apparently won't cash personal checks (in addition to the problem of their outrageous fees). Kossack jpmassar tells Aji that after checking rates, the USPS ones have much lower fees. Kosmail Aji for Tonya's snail-mail address.
However you donate, please include the following notation as she needs a receipt for charitable donations to maintain her ability to get the surgery:
This is a charitable donation for the medical care of the family of Tonya Harris.
Orange hats are off to all who donated! And I want to give a big shout out to our angels here who have taken on the chore of collecting the funds. Those angels would be weck, Charles CurtisStanley, and Kitsap River. It takes a lot of time and attention to detail to manage a fundraiser pot -- and they've done a wonderful job. When you see them, be sure to give them some kudos and mojo.