Our beloved friend and colleague Bob Newman was severely injured in March. He spent several days in critical condition, was in a coma for weeks, hospitalized for months, and is still spending his days rehabilitating—receiving physical therapy, undergoing tests, working hard to get back to health.
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:
In the months since the accident, not only has Bob has been unable to work to support his family, but the expenses involved in his ongoing care have been huge, and they continue to mount.
We launched this site in April 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."
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has contributed so far.
Here are a few brief updates as of October 21st, 2013, 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, watching movies, 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 on his own and take public transportation. Bob has been receiving swallow therapy to relearn how to eat, drink, and swallow. On October 29th, he will have a feeding tube removed that was necessary for him to be fed through his stomach. It's a great day because it means he will be able to eat, drink, and swallow completely on his own. Bob has also recently begun to resume his online activity. This is an important part of the recovery therapy, as it helps exercise and strengthens the mind.
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD: Bob's rehabilitation continues every day. He needs 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 will not hinder him from returning eventually to normal activity. Still, because of his recovery and rehab, Bob is still unable to return to work. Exacerbating the 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 January 30th, 2014. Why the 30th? It's Bob's Birthday, and we can't think of a better gift to him and his family than to reach this goal by then. 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 and unable to work.
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 (including those who have donated already) will receive a downloadable "mixtape" specially 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. (Everyone who has already contributed will also receive an email with that link.)
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.