On December 28, 2011, we started a donation campaign for our colleague Álvaro Degives-Más and his wife, Trish, who were in dire financial straits. For some reason, we were initially worried that no one would donate. We were the first donors, followed by many family members, and then the donations from colleagues around the world came pouring in. To say that this demonstration of support and love was an incredibly enriching and wonderful experience is an understatement. We were moved to tears every time a donation came in. We were traveling, and were getting the donation notifications via e-mail. One day, on December 30, 2011, the *only* items we had in our inbox were PayPal donation notifications -- wow!
We still haven't even been able to fully comprehend how incredible of an effort this has been -- we've raised a bit more than $10,250 for Álvaro and Trish. Most of the funds were raised within the first four weeks of our campaign. The vast majority of donors donated online via PayPal, while others gave us checks and even cash, which we happily stuffed into envelopes and sent to Reno. Yet other colleagues requested the couple's address to send checks to them. Donations came in from 25 countries (at last count) and ranged from $2 to $1,000 (really).
We've written a thank-you note to each and every donor (more than 400) and we are forever grateful to everyone who donated. We are so lucky to have such amazing colleagues and friends! We'd previously posted an update on the campaign (and another update), and now it's time for a message from Trish, Álvaro's wife. Things are still challenging for them, but they are getting better, and it's thanks to you, dear donors. Trish prefaced the message below by saying: "Words just seem so inadequate when trying to express the depth of my appreciation, as the donations truly did save our lives. I'll never be able to thank you - and everyone else - enough. " Read on.
Dear Judy, Dagmar and the compassionate and generous individuals who came to our aid when tragedy struck:
Please accept our boundless gratitude, as well as our sincere apologies for the delay in expressing our appreciation. The past three to four years have brought one catastrophe after another, which had entirely depleted our financial cushion when Álvaro suffered the heart attack. Your generosity saved our lives. The stent installed in his artery requires that he not miss a single dose of two very expensive medications, which your donations have made possible. I was finally able to see a physician and obtain medication for extreme hypertension, which put my life at great risk each day it remained untreated. You also made it possible to cover basic living expenses during the period we were entirely without income. I hate to contemplate where we would have been without the generosity of both friends and strangers.
Álvaro's glasses, upon which he's completely dependent, disappeared the day of his heart attack. Despite multiple surgeries, I've lost all vision in one eye and the other was in need of corrective lenses. After multiple trips to the ophthalmologist and optician and weeks of waiting, we both had glasses and were finally able to see, which you made possible. About five weeks after Álvaro's myocardial infarction, I was in an ambulance after suffering a fall that immobilized me for over a month. Just as I was recovering, pneumonia struck. We're now trying to address so many things that fell through the cracks over the past three months. Please forgive our failure to express our gratitude in a more timely manner. Despite our silence, your profound kindness has not for a moment been forgotten - and never will.
The husband of another interpreter invested considerable time and effort locating a mechanically sound used car we were able to purchase with donations, which is essential to Álvaro earning a living due to the travel involved. Without a vehicle, we'd have little to no income. Your generosity has made it possible for us to survive financially.
It's not possible to adequately express the depth of our appreciation. You literally saved our lives and our family from destruction. Slowly but surely, we're recovering physically and financially, due to your generosity. Please know how much each and every one of you mean to us.
With love & gratitude,