I'm re-activating this blog because Uma's about to start a new neurological rehabilitation program and we're trying to raise money for this amazing (and costly) program. In the spirit of gratitude (both for generosity in the past and future), I'm reposting this thank you message from July, 2007:
I sent out a long email thanking all of the people who made donations to help pay for the air ambulance that brought Uma home in March, and I want to post that email below. Also, Uma has to go in for an angiogram on Monday, and there's a possibility that she might need to have her aneurysm coiled again, or clipped. There's more info about that at the bottom of this post, but please think some good thoughts for Uma on Monday. Say a prayer, light a candle, do what you do. Maybe I'll send out a specific task on Monday morning.
Okay, here's the email:
We're sending this email to all of the incredibly generous people who've made donations to The Uma Fund. (As well as all of the people who have helped in so many other ways—with your prayers, your research, your food, your visits…) All of your support has been so incredible, so inspiring, so awesome--so we want to thank you.
We cannot say those words enough. With all of our hearts: thank you.
This email of thanks is long overdue. I've been meaning to send it out for months, but I guess things happen when they're meant to happen. The other day I asked Uma if she'd like to thank all of you herself—via video—and her eyes lit up. "Yes." She is very aware of all of the love and support you've given her, and she wants to express that. She wants to thank you for all of your prayers, your love, your support. At the end of this email, I've posted five short videos of her expressing these thoughts to you in her own words.
A quick health update: Uma's doing really well. On March 12, she was transferred via air ambulance (thanks to your donations) from St. Vincent's in NYC to Rancho Los Amigos in California, to begin her rehabilitation and therapy. At that time, she wasn't able to speak at all and she had very little movement in the right side of her body. On April 17, she was discharged from Rancho to go home with her fiance, John. At that time, she was able to walk with a cane and speak some words (mostly just "yes" and "no," and a few other phrases). Since coming home, she's been on a rigorous therapy schedule—she has speech and physical therapy for several hours every day. Again, this would not have been possible without the donations you made. The out-of-pocket bills for therapy are about $600 a week—Uma and John have been able to pay these bills with the extra money that was raised for the air ambulance. So thank you for that.
Uma still has a long road of therapy ahead of her, but she is determined to continue working until she gets all of her speech and movement back. You can see for yourself how well she's doing in the videos below. (We filmed five videos and I think Uma's a little bit embarrassed by them—she sees herself struggling for the right words and she wishes that she could say EVERYTHING she wants to say RIGHT NOW—but she's making steady progress in the right direction and I think you will see in these videos how far she's come.)
Okay, enough of my blabbing. These videos are from Uma, to you.
Video #1 (56 seconds long)
Video #2 (7 seconds long)
Video #3 (37 seconds long)
Video #4 (44 seconds long)
Video #5 (1 minute, 42 seconds long)
With thanks and love,
Uma, John, and Erik
P.S. – Uma is scheduled to have another angiogram on Monday. It turns out, when they coiled her original aneurysm in February, a portion of the aneurysm that should have been contained within the coil basically broke through and has been bulging out ever since. The doctors in New York failed to mention this incredibly important piece of information to the doctors in California, but thankfully John was looking over her medical charts and he saw this for himself. On Monday, Uma's new doctor is going to look at this portion of the aneurysm and decide to treat it in one of three ways: (1) if it's really small, nothing will need to be done; or (2) if it's slightly bigger, it might need to be coiled, which is the same procedure that was done in New York—it's not incredibly uncommon, but it IS an invasive procedure--they would do this on Monday during the angiogram; or (3) if it's really bulging out, this portion of the aneurysm might need to be "clipped," which is a fairly big procedure and would be scheduled for another date. ("Clipping" the aneurysm would require shaving Uma's head again and making an incision into her skull to get directly at the aneurysm--something that's not required in the coil procedure.) In all of the above three scenarios, Uma is going to have to spend a few days in the hospital. She's kind of nervous because this is the first time she's had to go in for a procedure since she's been conscious of what's been going on with her brain. So please send her good thoughts and keep her in your prayers. Thank you...
p.p.s. If you know anyone who might not have been able to donate in March, but would still like to make a donation, we are still trying to raise money for Uma's therapy. Our funds will last for several more months, but we expect that Uma will need therapy for at least a full year. Donations can be made via paypal HERE.
p.p.p.s. THANK YOU!