Time To Be Thankful Yet Again: A Poop Strong Update
Apologies for the long delay in posting to the blog. Life has been busy as of late. Very busy. And mostly the busyness has been around the fundraising operation I’ve mentioned before, Poop Strong.
The response we’ve received so far has been nothing short of astounding. Since my last update, we’ve received even more visits to the site, and the purchases and donations keep rolling in. We’ve now had more than 35,000 unique visitors to the site. And of those, more than 1,200 have made donations or purchases. Absolutely amazing! In my wildest dreams, I never expected that things would catch fire like this.
I spent the past week stuffing envelopes like a madman — more than 300 in all. And then it was more than three hours at the post office getting everything sent out. A bit exhausting, no doubt, but it was definitely worth it. Seeing people share photos of their Poop Strong merchandise on Facebook and Twitter the last couple of days has been very gratifying. (And I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I get a huge kick out of seeing folks I don’t even know wearing “Arijit Loves You” t-shirts. But it’s true, I absolutely love everyone who’s extended a helping hand and given me support in my time of need. All of you are just wonderful.)
I was telling a dear friend of mine recently about the stunning response we’ve had so far to the Poop Strong campaign and she captured my feelings better than I ever could:
I would give anything to have had this not happen to you. But I am also so glad that learning about what you have gone through has just brought out all of the most beautiful parts of so many people.
While I’d generally call myself an optimist (after all, it’d be a bit of cognitive dissonance to dedicate myself to the cause of sustainability if I didn’t believe achieving a sustainable world was actually possible), I can most definitely be a cynic at times. But this experience has completely reaffirmed my faith in humanity. When people I’ve never met and who have no connection to me whatsoever contribute hundreds of dollars, it’s hard not to be totally blown away by just how kind and generous people can be. Meanwhile, friends of mine from college and grad school — completely on their own, mind you, without even the slightest prodding on my part — have put together fundraisers in three different cities (New York, DC, and Chicago) that have raised thousands of dollars. Friends and strangers alike have shown so much more compassion and graciousness than I ever thought was possible. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it: I’m so grateful for all of it.
And now for the most amazing bit of info: we’ve raised more than $80,000 through the site. Even after accounting for the processing fees charged by PayPal, as well as the cost of manufacturing/producing the various wares we’re selling on the site, there’s still some $70,000 that is going to be applied to my future treatment costs. Meanwhile, the latest numbers I got from the University of Arizona Cancer Center show almost $40,000 in the patient assistance fund account established for me. Yes, that’s right: $110,000 raised already.
On the payments side of the balance sheet, I’ve now accrued some $49,500 in billable medical expenses since Aetna stopped covering my healthcare costs. (I should note that some of these bills haven’t yet come our way and that when they do, it’s possible that the cancer center will cut us some semblance of a discount.) And coming up on Wednesday afternoon, I’ll have another procedure (more details on that later) that is expected to run somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 — and that’s at the discounted rate. With more than three months to go before I’m insured again, and the likely possibility of some additional drugs being added to my treatment regimen (anti-EGFs, should you be curious, that usually cost around $15k/month), it now seems that the estimates we initially had of $100,000 in treatment costs was significantly lower than what I’ll actually need. Right now, assuming no more further surprises, I’d say it’s likely we’ll need something around $150,000 or perhaps a bit more.
It sounds like a lot, but we’ve already raised more than $110,000 so far. Getting another $40-50,000 is more than do-able. I have no doubt in my mind that the amazing community I have around me can continue to spread the word and bring more people into the Poop Strong fold.
Just another reminder that you can now follow Poop Strong on Facebook and Twitter, where I offer briefer, but more frequent updates, as well as sharing news and other tidbits relating to colon cancer and other related issues.