I've written a letter to ask for help. It's intended for sources that can provide longer-term assistance, local business that hopefully will help me fund a non-profit organization that can provide the same help later on for others after helping us out. It's not intended as much for individuals and families that this blog mostly reaches, but you can help by circulating this letter to it's intended audience. I'll put the contents of the letter here, but I'll likely revise it over time, and probably won't revise it on this page each time, though I may update it here occasionally. If you want a nicely formatted version of the letter, let me know and I'll send you a pdf. If I update this page, I'll add a comment at the bottom of the page so it's obvious what's new. I have a few places I'll be sending this letter, but I'm not listing them on a public web site. Here's the letter:
I believe in self reliance, and it took a lot for me to finally break down and look for help from the community. I know there are many others who also need help. Although I am seeking help now, I wish to help others who face similar circumstances in the future. This letter is primarily to local Utah businesses that I believe may be in a position to help first my family, and then others. Please read on for an explanation.
My wife has days or weeks left to live. She's only 36. It's a miracle she's been with us for nearly 2 years since we found out that she has a large brain tumor, but the tumor has started to grow again, and all the methods we've tried to stop it have not been successful. We have four children who will lose their mom and I will lose my wife without another bigger miracle. Our youngest is so young he will likely not remember his mom. You can read a lot about Julie and her brain tumor on my family site, FLFN.org.
That alone was not enough for me to ask for help. I'm also unemployed. I've been looking for work, but perhaps with a little less enthusiasm than I have in the past because my wife wants me with her in her last months of life. I want to work, but I want to be with her even more. I don't have much time left to enjoy with her. Under more normal circumstances, we would have been able to work until retirement, and I'd be able to be with her. We'd also have some social security to help out, but Julie gets no social security because she was still a stay-at-home mom for most of the past 10 years. I work 10 contract hours a week, and it only entails leaving home for one day. That one day alone, she misses me and wishes I were at home with her. I'm glad I have that one day away since it gives me a break and a chance to have some time to myself. I think my wife and children need me at home right now.
Yet I was still reluctant to seek much help until I started considering the enormity of all the things I face. Here's a few of them:
On that last point, I've found out that Salt Lake Donated Dental can offer services for very little, but I've also found that you have to get there at 5 in the morning or so, and sit outside and wait for hours or lose your place in line. It's warming up now, but just thinking about waiting outside in the freezing cold hours before the sun rises makes my teeth hurt. You can't set up an appointment. You have to sit and wait for hours. I think there ought to be a better way for people to get dental help.
In addition, we have mortgage payments each month I need to meet, utilities to pay, and student loan payments. I might need help with building my business, getting back into a career, or starting a nonprofit as I mentioned. I'd like for this to happen after Julie passes on, though if I get low maintenance customers, (e.g.: people who need a server, but can manage their own website) I can help them even now through my company: Stout Hosting LLC.
I've listed some of our needs, but there's so much more I'd like to accomplish with Julie while she is still with us. I don't want to remember these days as days that we sat around home and waited for Julie to die. I want my kids to remember we had some fun together and enjoyed each other's company even in their mom's last days. I want Julie's last weeks with us to be good ones, maybe even fun ones. Here's a few things I've considered:
I'd like to start a non-profit where I can help others who will yet go through what I am now experiencing – or something near it. I don't know how many others are in circumstances near mine. Maybe there are more people than I can ever help, but maybe I can help some of them. I've always said God gives us our experiences so that we can help others who go through similar experiences. I remember saying that to friends in high school and even earlier. Of course, I'll need to pass through this trial myself, first. I realize you probably get lots of requests like this, and that you almost certainly can't help everyone. Whether or not you can help, I wish to thank you for taking the time to read this letter.