A Story of Loss and Love and Illness
Flickr creative commons photo by CarbonNYC
Update: I’m excited to announce that in less than a week Kate and William raised the money to cover Will’s medical expenses. The fundraiser is now closed.
A Story of Loss
When I was a senior in college my girlfriends and I took a spring break trip to Florida. We loaded up two cars and set out on the 14-hour drive down south. I don’t remember which city we were headed to.
We never made it to our destination. Somewhere over the Florida boarder one of our cars, the one I was not in, was run off the road by a semi-truck. It rolled across the median and landed in the northbound lane of Highway 95. It was an incredibly serious accident and our friend Morgan, who was 22, was killed.
I remember only bits and pieces of that night and the days and weeks that followed. There was shock and sadness and fear, of course, and deep inside an internal shifting was taking place. The experience of losing Morgan marked the end of childhood for me. Even all of these years later, just thinking about that time makes my heart race and my hands shake.
I’m not telling you this story to explain how losing Morgan changed me, though it did change me irrefutably. I’m telling this story to give context to what I am going to say next.
A Story of Love
When my friends and I arrived back at school to finish up our last quarter of college, some of us were in wheelchairs, some had broken bones and fractured skulls, and one of us was missing. All of us bore the invisible scars of experiencing the accident. When things like this happen, no one really knows quite what to say. Most people say nothing at all.
But when we returned home we found, in the mailbox, a beautiful, hand-drawn card from Will, another student and artist friend of ours. I don’t remember what it said but I do remember how it affected me. It was the first gesture that anyone (aside from our families) had made to tell us that what we had experienced was legitimately horrible. That the death of our friend was changing us in big and small ways and that he understood it would not be easy.
We had left for spring break and returned one week later completely changed forever. The world was a different place than it had been when we left. We were different people, transformed overnight. We struggled with fitting back into the life we were living before.
That small gesture of kindness was the first thing that greeted us back in our college town. Will couldn’t have known, but the compassion he extended to us made us all more comfortable returning to a place we loved as new people we didn’t quite understand yet. It gave us strength to move forward.
You don’t often get to pay people back for the kindness and love they extend to you when you need it most.
But here, in a small way, is a chance.
A Story of Illness
The other day I found out that Will was recently diagnosed with cancer. He has already undergone emergency surgery and is facing weeks of chemotherapy.
Will does not have health insurance and he is unable to work because of his condition. He is accumulating debt very quickly.
He and his girlfriend Kate, who is also an artist and Internet famous, are holding a fundraiser at Kate’s etsy shop. The sale of Kate and Will’s prints will go to help Will pay for his medical bills. You can read more about Will’s condition on Kate’s blog and find the print sale by clicking this link.
Let me also say that Kate and Will are ridiculously talented artists. I personally believe that buying a signed print right now might make you crazy rich in the future, not that you need that kind of motivation.
I hope that by sharing this story with my little corner of the Internet some of you may be moved to purchase a print in honor of Will and his kind spirit and the bits of goodness that come out of terrible things.
I have purchased two of these prints and will be giving them away to two of you. All you have to do to win is repost this blog to your facebook page, or repost Kate’s announcement about the fundraiser, and then leave a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
Please help spread the word.