Thursday, March 8, 2007

The world is filled with seriously beautiful people...UMAmeter Update: $36,869.99!!!

I know that I said I was going to post this yesterday, but the math took me much longer than I expected because (1) math ain't my strong suit (like I said, I'm a bad mather), and (2) there were sooooo many donations to tally. Which is my favorite excuse for being late ever.

I have incredible news to report. Two updates. First, the latest Uma Update (because this is obviously the most important update I can share with you):

Uma had an incredible day today. I have a feeling that we have a lot of incredible days ahead of us. Now that she's had a successful shunt procedure, her intercranial pressure levels are decreasing and her fluid levels are getting back to normal. And that should open the door for much faster progress. Some of which we've already seen. This morning she wrote her name. Several times. It's John's birthday today and she signed a card for him! When John texted me the news, I was substitute teaching an 8th grade English class and I almost burst into tears in front of all of the mean 8th graders. I was just flushed with emotion, so was John. I realize that when Uma reads this she's going to think we're all ridiculous for being so excited about the fact that she wrote her name down, but you know what, Urp? Life is ridiculous, the past 37 days have been ridiculous, and you and your left-handed chicken scrawls are beautiful too, damnit!

And now for the second update, the UMAmeter update. Some amazing statistics:

Number of Days: 11

Number of Donors: 450 (and counting...)

Number of Dollars: $36,869.99

Yes, you read that right: we've raised nearly THIRTY-SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! How incredible is that? All of the amazingly generous people listed in the column on the right side of this blog have helped us rocket past our goal to raise $20,000 for Uma's Air Ambulance--all of the support from friends and family, all of the support from strangers--every single donation, every single email, every single card in the mail--it's truly inspiring. We're making the world a better place. I don't care if I sound schmaltzy when I say that because it's freaking true. All of the love--all of the energy that we're collectively putting out there--it manifests itself in the world. It does. And as Uma progresses in her recovery, as she realizes what's been going on while she's been "away," she is going to be overwhelmed. In a good way.

Uma likes to act like a Miranda, which means (if you're not a Sex and the City fanatic) that she's cynical and snarky. However, there's also a side of her that's pure Charlotte, which means (if you're not a Sex and the City fanatic) that she believes in true love as deeply as anyone I know. And all of the love that's been circling Uma this past month, that love is as true as it gets.

We are so excited and impressed by how well the fundraising has been going that we now have a new goal. We've raised enough money to cover the Air Ambulance. Awesome.

But here's the thing: Uma's rehabilitation costs should be covered by Medi-Cal, yet there are still so many expenses that are going to need to be covered. Uma's not going to be able to work for a long time, and John's planning on becoming Uma's full-time caretaker (for as long as she needs a full-time caretaker). Which means that we're going to need to find a way to keep a roof over their heads. And there's the possibility that John will need to retrofit their home to make it accessible to Uma, depending on how long her rehabilitation takes.

So while we're on a roll, let's keep raising money. Let's be bold, let's be crazy, let's raise another $70,000. Whaddya say? Hopefully we'll raise TOO MUCH money and Uma will be all taken care of and then we'll use the money to help other people in similar situations, i.e. other young starving-artist types who don't have great medical insurance and have suddenly found themselves facing the biggest challenge of their lives, i.e. freaking brain aneurysms. There are many other people out there like Uma (we met some of them in the ICU with Uma) and they need our love and support too.

If you want to donate to The Uma Fund via paypal, please click on the link in the upper right corner of this blog. If you'd rather send a check, please email me, Erik, at and I'll give you all of the pertinent details. If this email has been forwarded to you and you don't have a paypal link in the upper right corner to click on, go to

Even if you only have five bucks to spare, you're making a difference, and we thank you with every ounce of our hearts. (And we've got big hearts, so that's a lot of thanks.) (And I'm bad with metaphors, so I'm sorry if I'm mixing mine.)

Let's make a difference. Let's change the world. We can do it one person at a time. Be that person who makes a difference today. Thank you...

Before I sign off, that reminds me of an anecdote that Uma's dad, Nithi, told me on Day Four. (Day Four feels like hundreds of years ago, but it was actually only 33 days ago. So weird.)

We were sitting in the ICU waiting room. This was back when Uma was still in the coma, before she'd opened her eyes for the first time. Scary days, hopeful days. (I will never give up hoping for Uma to have a full neurological recovery; it may take time, but she's going to get there.) We spent a lot of time during that first week just sitting in the waiting room, praying, praying, praying. Nithi told me this story. I can't remember if it was a true story or if it was an allegory. It certainly sounds like an allegory, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a true story too, because that's how Nithi rolls. So it went like this: There was this old man, this grandfather, who was making a point about how the educational system is failing and kids aren't learning even the most basic things anymore. Like geography, for example. And to prove his point, this grandfather found a map of the world and he tore it up into several dozen peices and he gave the peices to his grandson and asked the kid to put the map of the world back together, certain that the kid wouldn't be able to. A few minutes later, the kid handed his grandfather the map, taped back together, correctly. The kid didn't actually know what the world looked like, but he was able to put the paper back together because there happened to be a picture of a person on the flip side of the map. And the kid knew what a person looked like. Okay, um, anyway, I feel like I'm butchering this allegory, but the moral of the story was something along the lines of: this kid put the picture of the person back together exactly as that person had been before, and the world on the flip side of the paper stayed the same. The implication being: if you want to change the world, you have to change people first, one individual at a time.

The way that Nithi told this story was much more profound than my weak retelling just now, but the point is the same. Let's keep making a difference. Thank you, and LOVE,


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