Saturday, October 9, 2010

At Last.....the Mystery is Over !!

I'm going to warn you ahead of time....this is going to be a long post and there will be quite a few pictures.  So I hope I don't put you to sleep -- I  know short is better but there is so much to tell!!! So....once upon a time....

This past summer, maybe early June, I came across an ad on craigslist for someone wanting a swimming pool for their dog.  This is Pugi, an obviously much loved dog, who wanted a pool of his own.

We made a delivery time and Ozzy and i took the pool to Pugi.
It was then that I learned Linda's story.  Linda is Pugi's mom.  Linda is 38 years old now.  She was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in December, 2004.  This was diagnosed as stage 5 disease and she was given a prognosis of eight weeks to live.  Linda was 32.  At the time i met her she had just had all of her teeth extracted as a result of head and neck radiation.  She has been through 29 surgeries since her initial diagnosis.  Inspite of her health issues, Linda is a very positive, upbeat person.

Linda before her diagnosis with Pugi

 Linda had her five year remission anniversary on August 1, 2010.

Linda with her daughter, Teri

Linda with her mom, Dorothy (seated)
Linda's cancer is in remission, but her story isn't over.  Because of the radiation therapy, her teeth had to be removed.  Because of the way her disability was set up, Linda receives "too much" money to qualify for any assistance with dental issues.  It doesn't matter that her extractions were medically necessary.  It doesn't matter that dentures are medically necessary.  It doesn't matter that she has documentation from her physicians stating such, the system says she makes too much money. She receives about $730/mo.  The cut off for "fee for service" type of benefits is $690/mo. And having to go through all the red tape to get changes made in her benefits, is a lengthy process. Linda's doctors have stated that this is a potentially serious situation.  Not to mention the nutritional issues with not having any teeth, there are also the potential problems with infection and further damage to her already weakened jaw because of the additional stress.  She already has issues with infection because of her cancer and the damage that was done to the Eustachian tubes, and because of that, may have more surgeries in her future as well as additional hearing loss.  Right now she is at 85% loss in one ear and about 60% in the other ear and will eventually need hearing aids.

Okay, hang on to all of that for a minute......moving to the next scenario......I do petsitting and one of my clients is this lady, Suzanne:

Suzanne is Bingo's mom -- those of you that have followed my photos have met Bingo, and his cat Boyla, and they had a guinea pig, Nibbles, who sadly got his wings a few months ago.  Suzanne was showing me a special place she likes to walk Bingo and we were talking about stuff.....and the subject came up about Suzanne's knowledge about fund raising and nonprofit organizations and various other things...and I mentioned Linda.  Suzanne said she refers clients to various entities so knew that there was help out there for Linda.  I passed that information on but Linda had already tried several of those places and was denied help.  After Nibbles got his wings, Suzanne and her husband decided that their daughter was such a good guinea pig mom that it was time for her to have her dream dog -- a pug.  So i told her Linda had a pug and i would see if she had any connections or leads on a dog.  And mentioned again that she was having no success with the denture situation.

Suzanne had some ideas about ways to help Linda, so we decided to get together and discuss everything over coffee.  There were a few things that we could put into play, fundraising locally, an internet appeal with a chip-in on Facebook and Myspace,  contacting political figures and news media outlets with this story and trying to generate any interest or help anywhere, because it really was a matter of the clock ticking, of Linda really needing to get these dentures to avoid other potential health issues.

I am really limited in my ability to set up things on the internet, to do a page on Facebook, so i contacted some of the animal/rescue people i have met on Facebook and got some hints and ideas of how to go about this.  We needed for Linda to write out her story and we needed to post it with pictures and links and somehow spread the I contacted this man, who happens to be my son, Cory:

Cory knows his way around the computer and set up a wonderful page for himself on Myspace.  He's learning Photoshop and how to do different things with webpages.  So I told him Linda's story, asked him if he could help, if his band, Broken Roots, might be interested in doing a benefit show, maybe getting some other bands involved, anything to raise money towards dentures for Linda.  He agreed immediately and we set up a time for him to meet Linda and get more information from her about what we needed and the best way to do this.

And then....Cory took the ball and ran with it.  He took the information back to his work the next day, Tuesday, October 5.  He spoke with the human resources division of his company.  They have in the past assisted people in situations not unlike Linda's.  Cory's supervisor, James, is a part of that group. And he knows from personal experience what its like to be in a position like this and need help.  He participated in some fund raising for his own brother who had bone cancer.  This is James:

But wait!!! It gets better!!  James' wife, Shawna, is an oral surgery tech here in Reno. the past she worked for a dentist in Dayton, Nevada.  Shawna made a phone call.  This is Shawna:

On Thursday, October 7, Cory called me.  The dentist that Shawna worked for previously in Dayton, Dr. K, agreed to see Linda in consultation on Friday, October 8.  He was willing to help her pro bono. His time, the man behind the scenes in the lab, Gary, and the dental assistant Tiffany -- they all made this happen for Linda because of Shawna, because of James, because of Cory.

 We met with James and Shawna Thursday night, and on Friday, Shawna took Linda to Dayton.

Linda goes back on Tuesday.  The impressions were made and whatever the process is now, she will go back however often is necessary and within a few weeks will have her dentures !!

Is this not an amazing story?  Maybe its because i know these people and have watched this story unfold that it makes me cry while I'm sitting here typing.  I am so proud of Cory and the man he has become.  And his friends.  And their friends.  Everyone working together to help one woman that no one even knew until this week!!

So we all met today at Cory's place to brainstorm where we go from here.  Linda is going to need hearing aids.  And those are also NOT paid for by her Medicaid/disability insurance.  So we are going to do a fund raiser for her.  We are working on a venue.  Broken Roots is going to put together the entertainment.  There will be food.  There will be drinks.  There will be flyers printed and distributed.  There will be media involvement.  James even gave it a name -- ROCKERS FOR HEARING AIDS

This is Linda and her mom at the meeting today:

These are the girls that are going to help with the fund raiser, talking to the casino people they know, maybe get a banquet room, maybe get some food or beverages donated, pass out some flyers at UNR -- get people to come out, have a good time and help one of our own!!

Alexa and Waverly
I think I'm finally done telling the story, except to say, I think it's pretty amazing how a dog and his swimming pool started this whole chain of events and brought these total strangers together to make a miracle happen.

This story isn't over.  There will be more pictures when Linda gets her dentures and when we have more details about the fund raiser.  Cory is putting the websites together.  There will be a chip-in linked to the websites and this blog.  For those of you not familiar, Chip-In is a really simple way to send money.  You click a button, it takes you to Paypal, and automatically connects to Linda's donation site.  One click and you can send her a little bit of money to help her get the hearing aids.  The cost of a pack of gum, the cost of a cup of coffee.  Just a tiny donation.  We've seen the miracle of what a small group of people can do.  We can make her hearing aids happen, too!!!

Stay tuned -- and meanwhile -- HUGE round of applause for Cory, Shawna, James and Suzanne!!


  1. Bonnie - I hope you sit back and realize that YOU are the one who put this entire thing into motion. By CARING and sharing Linda's story. What a wonderful person Linda must be to want her pup to have a pool all his own! And what a wonderful son and friend you have. I got all emotional reading this piece. Thanks for sharing BONNIE! xoxoxx

  2. Thanks Tamar :) I shoulda gave ozzy credit for giving away his pool -- except i found he had TWO -- those plastic pools were stuck together so he still has one that he doesn't use. LOL. I just helped connect the dots. Cory made the dentures happen with the people that he knows -- kinda restores one's faith in humanity :)

  3. What a fantastic chain of love and compassion!

  4. A very heartwarming story of what can be accomplished when you care. Kudos to all of you :)

    Thinkin happy positive thoughts for Linda,

  5. Beautiful. I am ready to donate.

  6. Amazing how the love of animals can bring people together. Kudos, Bonnie.

  7. Cintia, Roo, Anon and Oldcats -- thanks for the positive comments!! We appreciate your support :)

  8. Rebecca Slattery-KavanaghOctober 10, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    I have realised, over the past few years, the power of friendship - even of people you have never met and are, in truth, never likely to. This is the most amazing story - it made me cry. I think all of you are amazing!

  9. Bonnie, I happened on your site from I HAVE CAT. First I see Shelties!!..... My sister, Kathy had a sheltie, she died of breast cancer 4 yrs next month, she would have been 60 on 10/20/10. Then you talk about the teeth pulling and dentures needed.... I had my last 11 teethpulled and dentures put in at the same time and I was also disabled ....Then you talk about your son son, RORY, 34 today 10/10/10, has tatoos on both arms and also plays in a band!...and Linda has a best friend has 2 pugs!!...I loved your story and all you've done to help a perfect stranger in need! BUT all the thins that related to both of us blew me away!!!..If there's a place to send donations let me know too!! YOU ARE AN ANGEL!!

  10. thank you Rebecca & Lana. Rebecca -- that's why i was pretty excited about everything -- because i thought it was amazing. Lana -- all the coincidences -- wow :) when we get the links up, i will post the information -- here and on facebook. and hey, don't you think I HAVE CAT and Tamar are The Best!!!!

  11. Bonnie - You are an amazing person. You got this all started. It would never have happened if you hadn't been generous with Ozzy's pool. Things just clicked together the way they were supposed to - and a miracle happened!

  12. aw, thanks, Karen - i just played a small part -- the real heroes are Suzanne, Cory, James & especially Shawna.

  13. Bonnie it is wonderful what you have started Cory has continued with the help of James Shawna and the dental crew..thankyou to all involved and the best of luck to Linda and good wishes for her furure struggles. Some years ago my 15 year old sone received a miracle of help from the worlds angels just similar to this, and i will never forget the help and joy that came our way from angels like youXXX

  14. Thank you, Di :) you know someone else i should have mentioned.....Tiny Timmy's peep, Claudia. I spoke with her on the phone, inspite of her current health issues, she was willing to talk to me and explain to me about the FB page and chip-in. And they shared this story today on Tiny Timmy's Healing Journey Page. Tamar also shared on I HAVE CAT. There are a lot of amazing people out there (and animals) out there !!

  15. Bonnie, you are an amazing and giving person. I wish I could give you a hug. This story brought tears to this old girls eyes! Please let all others involvedknow how amazing they are also. God Bless you. There will be a special place for you in Heaven!

  16. aw, thanks, Baxter -- there was a lot of amazing people involved. they made it happen :) and it sure made a wonderful story!!

  17. What a great story!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  18. Thanks Oskar -- i left this at the top of my blog for two weeks hoping people would read and share. Things are progressing for Linda, the dentures are still being designed and we are working on the hearing aids! thanks for your interest!!