Friday, April 22, 2011

In Search of...a way to change the world

Whenever I receive an Uma update, I feel a multitude of emotions. I feel gratitude for my own lot in life, inspired by the indomitable human spirit, and mostly, I feel an overwhelming desire to take action to help in some way. So even though most of you have no idea who Uma is, I am going to cut and paste the email I received so that maybe together we can change the world by impacting one life. Peace and Blessings to you all - Ilene

Dear friends and family,

It's been a really long time since I've sent out an Uma update. But this is an important one. She's about to start an intense neurological rehabilitation program and I'm hoping to help raise funds to help pay for the program. Many of you know Uma well, but for those of you who are new friends and don't know Uma's story of survival, here's a quick Reader's Digest version:

Back in 2007, while she was in New York visiting her fiancĂ© John, a musician who was in NYC on tour, Uma suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. She was only 27-years-old. Uma was in a coma for several weeks, during which time she had a stroke. Her doctors told us she would probably die (they gave her a “20 percent chance of living” on two separate occasions). But Uma’s a fighter. She woke up from the coma with aphasia (she was unable to speak, read, or write) and with restricted movement on the right side of her body.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of friends and family and strangers, we were able to rent an air ambulance to fly Uma out to an in-patient therapy center in California, where she started learning how to walk and talk again, with the help of John, who’s always been by her side. They got married on July 14, 2008, in a beautiful ceremony in Eagle Rock, California.

For the last four years, Uma's full time job has been therapy. To get better. And the truth is: she a degree. I've watched her improve in slow increments, but there are still huge neurological deficits that prevent her from being able to read, and write, and most importantly and basically, to express herself. The Uma who I know and love is there, but sometimes it feels like important parts of her are trapped inside her brain, if that makes any sense at all.

I believe that this program could be a miraculous thing for her. She's gonna need help to make it happen. Back in 2007, when she needed an air ambulance to fly back to California, we miraculously raised over $20,000 in less than a week. This new neurological program will cost about $80,000 (for six months of intense therapy) and even though that sounds like an insane amount of money, I believe we can raise it. Since yesterday, John's already managed to raise $1,000, so we're already 1/80th of the way there.

Any help you might be able to offer would be incredibly appreciated. If we can find 4,000 people who'd be willing to donate 20 bucks, then boom: we've made our goal. (And I know that sounds crazy, but I also know that back in 2007, the doctors told us Uma had only a 20 percent chance of survival, so there's nothing crazy about hope. Anything and everything is truly possible.)

Dream big, live big, HOPE big.

If you can donate more than 20 bucks, that's awesome and amazing and much appreciated. If 20 bucks is way too much for you right now (and believe me, I know the feeling), even a five dollar donation would help. Thank you in advance. If you can't donate right now, peace and love and blessings to you still. Please forward this message to friends, repost it, retweet it, facebook it, print it out and tape it to the fridge in your office, any way you feel comfortable spreading the word would be awesome.
We are collecting donations via PayPal. If you don't already have a PayPal account, please follow the simple instructions (listed below) to open an account. It literally takes 1 minute. Then click on the SEND MONEY tab and send your donation via John's email (

NOTE: If you prefer to donate via check or some way other than paypal, email me at and I can give you an address to mail a check, etc.

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