UPDATE! THANK YOU everyone who donated and participated in the recent Friends of Bob Newman benefit auction. The auction was a big success, and raised substantial support for Bob and his family. Thanks to the generous contributions of over 70 artists and photographers and the many friends and colleagues who bid and bought artwork.
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OUR BELOVED FRIEND and colleague Bob Newman was severely injured in March 2013. He spent several days in critical condition, was in a coma for weeks, hospitalized for months, and spent the following year rehabilitating—receiving physical therapy, undergoing tests, working hard to get back to health.
The expenses involved in ongoing care and recovery have been huge, as well as living expenses that have continued to mount while Bob has been out of work. The good news is that after a year of recovery, Bob is on his feet and ready to return to work. The financial support raised by this site will continue to help Bob and his family until he has returned to full employment and is able to pay off his bills.
We launched this site in April 2013 as a tangible way to help Bob and his family as he continues his road to full recovery. The outpouring of support from Bob's extended family and community through this donation site has been remarkable. The funds raised to date have made a significant contribution to paying off Bob's extensive medical bills and providing him and his family with much-needed living expenses while he's recovering. In a thank-you note to the people who've contributed, Bob says: "Words fail me when I try to express how much your support has meant to me. I only hope that one day I can tell each of you in person just how much you've helped me and my family get through this time of deep struggle."
For more information on the history of Bob's accident and subsequent seizure, coma, and ongoing recovery, you can read this account from his wife Christine Curry here:
and this story from the Village Voice here:
A HEARTFELT THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed so far.
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Here are a few brief updates as of August 1, 2014, and a NEW GOAL:
THE GOOD NEWS: The cognizant part of Bob's brain is A-OK and fully recovered. He's thinking, talking, reading, exercising, and engaging in regular activities again. After months in the hospital, Bob has come a long way toward returning to his former physical self. He's gone from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane, to now being able to walk long distances around his neighborhood. His health appears good, and as he says, "I can't tell anymore whether my problems are related to my accident, or just getting older." Bob went through a long course of swallow therapy to relearn how to eat, drink, and swallow, including spending many months with a feeding tube. He's returned to normal activity on almost every level, and is meeting friends and associates, attending events, and spending time blogging and posting online. Bob has even begun working on some consulting jobs, and we're excited at his progress.
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD: Bob's rehabilitation continues every day. He works to keep improving his strength and balance, and get his energy and stamina back to where it used to be. There are still more tests necessary to determine what caused Bob's accident, and to prevent it from happening again. There is some non-cognizant brain damage that requires continued therapy and exercising. But this has not hindered him from returning to normal activity. Exacerbating his financial challenges: severance pay that was expected from Reader's Digest for most of 2013 was eliminated when Reader's Digest declared bankruptcy in February 2013.
THE NEW GOAL: Bob's friends have already far surpassed the first goal of $50,000. That incredible outpouring has made a huge dent in the family's expenses, but the financial need is not over. We've set a new goal: to reach a total of $100,000 by October 31, 2014. As we've suggested before, here's one way to think about it: If 500 more of Bob's friends and colleagues contribute an average of $100—what some might spend on an evening out—we would immediately reach that goal.
WHERE YOUR DONATION GOES: Your donations go directly to two things: Bob's ongoing and past medical bills and rehab, and also to help defray living expenses for Bob and his family while he is recovering. We expect that (with luck) Bob will return to a relatively full workload sometime this year. These donations are a way to support Bob and his family until he can return to work full time, and to help with past and ongoing medical expenses.
ABOUT DONATIONTO.COM: When we launched this fundraising effort, we looked into many services, aiming for one that is transparent, that would make every dollar contributed count, that would accept multiple forms of payment, and that would make funds available as close to instantly as possible. DonationTo.com allows every dollar contributed to go directly to Bob and his family, with all of the administrative fees paid for by a few of us so that there is no percentage deducted (other than the standard PayPal fees), as is the case on many fund-raising sites.
A THANK-YOU GIFT FOR DONORS: Everyone who donates will receive a downloadable "mixtape" crafted by Bob's friend DJ Norman B, whose "Life Elsewhere" weekly talk show on Tampa radio station WMNF is an eclectic mix of culture, music, and politics. Norman has made a custom mix titled "Listen While You Work," especially with Bob in mind, so you know it will include a diverse range of great songs and artists. It's two hours of audio joy that is the perfect soundtrack for making magazines, or just relaxing at home. After you donate, you will receive an email with the link to download the mix.
NEW GIFT!! Everyone who donates $100 or more beginning on February 1 will also receive a copy of My Favo(u)rite Magazine, the benefit publication created for Bob by Jeremy Leslie and Andrew Losowsky and a crew of 88 magazine makers. This special publication has become a much-treasured collector's item and has received rave reviews around the world.
EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR COUNTS: The generous donations made though this page continue to be a lifeline for Bob and his family. If you're able to donate more than once, that's amazing—but we know everyone's circumstances are different, and that the amounts contributed are in no way reflective of people's love for Bob. One person's $50 contribution might represent a bigger sacrifice than someone else's $500. Some will donate less, some will donate more, but every single dollar counts. Bob has been so generous, given us all so much over the years, whether it's been jobs, introductions, advice, laughs, musical tips, links, or just his ready smile and his quiet, steady friendship. This is a time for us all to give whatever we can back to him.
SPREAD THE WORD: Please pass along the information on this page to friends, colleagues, associates. You can also help by publicizing this effort on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, as well as professional associations and websites.
Again, a huge THANK YOU to the wonderful "Friends of Bob Newman" community.
Friends of Bob Newman
Nice to see you doing well, Bob!
Thank you for everything, Bob. You're ace!