Wow, totalling up the July donations alone and I'm astounding at the support. This outpouring of support has been an incredible relief especially for my family at a time we were already facing some pretty dark circumstances. To have to worry about money and housing and transportation on top of just getting Matt on the road to recovery would have been overwhelming to say the least without your help. I'm not sure listing your names on a blog is enough to say thank you at all, I'd like to also have you all nominated for saint hood as well.
In all seriousness, I don't think my dad would have survived through July if we hadn't see this incredible response from friends, co-workers, and family. From people who have never met Matt, to those who are some of his closest friends... the response has been no different. Unconditional caring and support in a very trying time. You've allowed us all to focus on Matt's recovery and taken a huge burden off of us both financially and emotionally.
I don't want to simply emphasize the financial matters, but I'm not sure all of you even understand the impact here. My parents make very little money as school teachers in a rural area, and my brother has been unemployed since Thanksgiving. With facing the costs of rehabilitation and relocating to Medford my parents would have been facing some really tough choices in how they would all survive this situation and be able to keep giving Matt the best attention. Thanks to Terry at Providence they were able to expedite both his Social Security Disability paperwork and Medicaid paperwork. Also Matt's previous employer was able to get Matt on to COBRA thanks to a reform measure that was passed in February which extended his eligibility. I know this may be boring to most of you, but I assure you it is nothing short of a miracle that he is on COBRA and this event will be covered by that insurance (well a large portion of it) and Medicaid is kicking in already which will help cover some of the expenses outside of the hospital in getting Matt a accessible place to live and reimbursements for some transportation costs.
While we're still looking at pretty substantial expenses outside of those coverages, the picture has been made less bleak by your donations. Basically what you've allowed is time, every dollar that has come in has bought more time for us to research options, to look for housing, to come up with a plan for recovery and for how to take care of Matt in the interim. There are so many decisions to make and to throw worrying about paying for everything on top of that would be even more overwhelming. Every little bit that comes in is a huge help and allows us freedom to just focus on doing what is best for Matt right now and not worry about money.
I want to make sure everyone knows every cent that comes in (aside from the fees PayPal charges) is going to be put to good use. Part of it is going to the COBRA insurance payments (we only have to cover 35% of that his employer has graciously covered the other 65% through September) and the rest is being saved for other expenses (hopefully his wheelchair van, he really wants some independence and is hoping to get mobile again soon).
There's another fundraising event, the date and time has not yet been set, but keep on the blog and we'll let you know. It's a movie premier (with Matt in some of it kayaking) taking place in early 2010 in Mount Shasta. In the meantime if you're going to attend the Jefferson Sate Rehab Event please RSVP by tomorrow at the latest so we can get a final count especially for the rafting. Dinner we may run out of beer and spaghetti if we don't know how many people are coming, but you're welcome to show up and donate and at least listen to the band even if you don't RSVP.
Thank you all again really, amazing support, please keep it coming if you are able it has made a world of difference already! - Neal