It is my firm belief that it is hard to be good in our challenging world, and thus, goodness is rare. Very rare. But you have proven me wrong.
In order to defray medical costs and to try to make a terrifying situation a little more bearable, we started up a Literary Auction to help my friend Jennifer Derilo, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and who is currently without health insurance. She is 32.
(The LA Times has another account of the auction if you’d like to read it).
I provided a mid-auction update a few days ago, and I want to now provide a summary.
Payments on a couple of sold auction items are still pending, but all in all…the auction brought in $3,000.18.
As of today (Friday September 17), direct donations (you may continue to make direct donations to the teamjender AT gmail DOT com account at paypal), total $2,870.00.
This makes for a total of $5,870.18 raised, enough to pay for the biopsy that Jennifer had to pay for out of pocket, just to get diagnosed. To date, I believe it’s her largest single bill, so you have done well.
In other words: You have done Good. You have done very very good.
I am not one to cry, but at times, I was so touched by all your heart and generosity that tears welled up in my eyes. (seriously, cue the violins). A few of you won auction items *and* also made a direct contribution. You sent beautiful notes that have buoyed Jennifer, who happens to be having a miserable post-chemo week this week. I have seriously been touched, and am questioning my inner cynic.
Before the auction started, our goal was to raise something around or above one thousand dollars. In fact, when the LA Times asked me how much we hoped to raise, I literally shrugged as I typed, “Over one thousand dollars would be great.” But then the auction started, and in addition to the 13 auction items we already had up, we received 14 more auction items within the next 24 hours (and we received way many more generous donations than that–we had to turn many people away just to keep things sane–and are now considering doing another auction at a later date). So in the end, we had 27 auction items up for bid.
This made me think we could double the $1K amount.
We asked you all to RT, share the auction on your FB pages, and blog about the auction…which then led to something wonderful and unanticipated: media coverage. First, The Rumpus gave us a shout out..and then Carolyn Kellogg wrote a touching and compelling blog post about our auction in the LA Times Book Blog, Jacket Copy.
After the LA Times came The EastBay Express, Galley Cat, and a blog post on SFGate.com by one of the contributing writers, Michelle Richmond.
And those are only the media outlets I know about. Thank you.
People: you have made me proud of humanity. You raised nearly $6,000 to help a young writer with Hodgkin’s pay off medical bills. You will be blessed.
I am speechless. Jennifer is speechless. All I can say is Thank You.
Thank you to the writers who contributed items and services for auction, many of whom said yes without hesitation, didn’t even need to be asked and instead volunteered, don’t know Jennifer personally, and all of whom struck me with their immense generosity:
- Elmaz Abinader
- Justin Chin
- Lac Su
- Randa Jarrar
- Kirsten Saxton
- Yiyun Li
- Peter Bacho
- Mel Freilicher
- Michael Davidson
- Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
- Mat Johnson
- Nina LaCour
- Thea Hillman
- Ali Liebegott
- Tara Hardy
- Daniel Alarcón
- Michelle Richmond
- Dean Rader
- Beth Lisick
- Chris Abani
- Alexander Chee
- Nova Ren Suma
Lastly, thank you to the Mills College MFA community for your support.
And now Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins for me. It is time for me to fast and meditate and pray for the year ahead.