The Hearts Of The Earth Fundraiser will be ending as of October, 2022. A huge THANK YOU to all the galleries and organizations that were part of spreading love and support to those going through hardship related to a medical condition. I also send my THANKS to all of the people who chose a sculpture and donated to the cause. Together, we can and have made a difference... Love Is The Key.
How it all Began
In December of 2017, I was a home health RN for Earl Moon of Cambria who had sustained a fall from a ladder in his backyard, becoming quadriplegic in 2015. Earl mentioned to me that all he wanted was help for his wife, Jan, nothing for himself, knowing that a part-time caregiver would allow intermittent respite for Jan who was his sole caregiver. Unfortunately, the Moons did not have the funds to hire in-home help. On that day, I drove away from their home feeling saddened that I could not think of a way to help Earl with his wish for Jan.
However, in January 2018, an idea for helping Jan and Earl arrived. Having collected heart rocks for years, I began creating sculptures using these stone treasures. I planned to sell them at farmers' markets, yet soon discovered that it is not easy to get a booth at a farmers market. After presenting my idea to Jan, she directed me to Ashley, owner of THE GARDEN SHED in Cambria, and, in March 2018, Ashley allowed me to hold a two-day fundraiser in the courtyard of her store. Displaying approximately 80 heart rock sculptures, I asked for a minimum donation of $20 to support Earl and Jan and offered the donor a choice of any heart rock sculpture as a symbol of their love and generosity. The fundraiser generated approximately $2000 for the Moons on that weekend in Cambria!
On Monday following this weekend fundraiser, Gayle Sewell, owner of Chambers Gallery in Cambria, called Jan Moon to offer space in Chambers to display the sculptures and continue the heart rock fundraiser for The Moons. Gayle became the strongest supporter of the fundraiser. My dentist, Kaitlin Riley in Paso Robles, and Sara, owner of HANDS gallery in SLO were next to join in supporting the fundraiser. Over the following 9 months, between March 2018 and November 2018, we were able to gather approximately $8000 in donations to support the hiring of a part-time caregiver to help in Earl's care.
Upon Earl's death in November of 2018, I continued to make heart rock sculptures and collect donations. In March of 2019, Chris Trimble of Cambria became the new benefactor of the fundraiser with donations assisting with Chris's medical costs as he battled glioblastoma. The fundraising effort grew through the support of Heidi Petersen, owner of TABLE, as well as from Michael Miller and Peggy Vrana who own Amphora Gallery in Cambria. Unfortunately, Chris passed from his disease in September 2019.
The fundraiser continued with donations split between two benefactors. Michael Miller (owner of Amphora Gallery) had sustained a relapse of Mantle Cell Lymphoma and needed some assistance for his medical expenses at MD Anderson in Houston. Funds collected at Chambers, HANDS, and TABLE supported Michael for about a month until all 4 galleries joined Amphora in supporting Kate Blank of Atascadero, who suffers major complications from chronic Lyme disease. We helped Kate until March 2020.
The heart rock fundraiser supported Missy Smith of Cambria from July to September, 2020. Missy was diagnosed with Stage IV triple-negative breast cancer in 2019. Her treatment included a mastectomy followed by radiation and immunotherapy, and she received her second round of chemotherapy at UCSF. We were able to assist Missy with some of her medical bills.
Dan McDonald of Cambria was the next benefactor. Dan was involved in a bike accident 11 years ago leaving him with a major brain injury. In early September, 202o, Dan fainted at home and at the hospital, was found to have two brain cysts as well as several brain tumors. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma. Due to the complicated nature of Dan's condition, Dan and his doctors opted for no further treatment. Donations were collected and together we were able to provide some needed help to Dan and his family at a very difficult time.
In November 2020, the fundraiser began supporting Brian Tracey and his wife, Loreen Emphey of Cambria. Brian had recently been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and was undergoing treatment for his condition, which included immunotherapy and chemotherapy. The fundraiser was able to help Brian and Loreen with various needs arising from Brian's diagnosis. They were benefactors through mid-June, 2021.
At the same time that the fundraiser was supporting Brian and Loreen, the fundraiser was able to support the needs of Chantico Aleman, a 46-year-old woman from Morro Bay who was diagnosed in October 2021 with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Initially, Chantico received treatment with chemotherapy but needed to follow this treatment with a double mastectomy in February 2021. Donations were able to support some of the financial hardships that Chantico experienced from needing to be off work until July 2021.
The fundraiser began collecting donations for Cayucos resident, Seneca Jacobson in June 2021. Seneca was diagnosed in March 2021 with Multiple Myeloma. In addition to immediately starting chemotherapy, Seneca needed to begin dialysis due to the damage that the cancer had caused to her kidneys. Seneca sought assistance from MD Anderson in Houston, which recommended she receive immunotherapy on the central coast prior to receiving a stem cell transplant. Seneca entered the hospital in November 2021.
In Septembe2, 2021, the fundraiser began assisting the family of Marlee Jo Lino. In April 2021, a few days before her third birthday, Marlee was diagnosed with Stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. She has been receiving chemotherapy since her diagnosis and in November 2021 will begin 6 weeks of radiation. Marlee receives her care from Lucille Packard Hospital at Stanford. The fundraiser donations were able to assist this family with some financial hurdles incurred during Marlee's treatment. In January 2022, Hearts of The Earth received news that all of Marlees scans showed NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER!
From November 2021 through January 2022, the heart rock fundraiser helped Carly Arace, a 33-year-old, SLO resident, single mother currently being treated for Stage 4 Melanoma. Carly was initially diagnosed in 2018 and was able to reach remission with immunotherapy coupled with adjunct treatments, however, cancer returned soon after her treatment regime ended. She is responding well to her current immunotherapy treatment regime and hopes to be cancer-free on her next scan which comes in February. Hearts of The Earth received news in July, 2022 that Carly was in remission.
Starting in mid-February 2022, the fundraiser reestablished assisting Seneca Jacobson. After undergoing a stem cell transplant in November 2021, Seneca remained in or near the hospital or for three months. Upon her return home in February 2022, Seneca sustained multiple lung infections and suffered from a rash which was eventually diagnosed as an adverse response to her stem cell transplant. These conditions led to multiple re-hospitalizations on the Central Coast until Seneca was able to be established with the Multiple Myeloma team at UCSF. Seneca has been hospitalized from April, 2022 to the time of this writing (July, 2022). Donations have assisted Seneca with outstanding bills that have arisen from her prolonged hospitalization.
At the end of July, 2022, donations were also given to two people in Cambria who are undergoing treatment for advanced cancer and are having some difficulties meeting financial obligations.
I call my project HEARTS OF THE EARTH and with the loving support of the gallery owners and the generosity of those who donate to the cause, we are able to provide short term help for someone with a major medical condition who is facing an unexpected hardship. While the amount given to each person is not enough to take care of all of the financial burdens arising from having an illness, the mission of HEARTS OF THE EARTH fundraiser is to give a little boost at a difficult time with the hope that every dollar can be of help.
100% of all donations are given to the current benefactor(s) of the fundraiser.
WAYS TO HELP THE HEARTS OF THE EARTH FUNDRAISER:
~ Donate and pick a heart rock sculpture at one of the galleries listed on the "Locations" page
~Contact me via e-mail if interested in carrying the sculptures in your establishment
~I am ALWAYS thrilled to have heart rocks donated to me. Thanks go out to those who have given me heart rocks that they have found in their travels including Aglaja, Cheryl, Diane, Betty, Heidi, Mary Sonja, Betsy, Dan, Aunt Gerri, Gayle, Glenn, Claudine, Elaine, Lynn, Elly, Jan, Cindalee, Judy, Natalie, Leslie, and the couple visiting from Germany who dropped off heart rocks to Gayle one day at Chambers Gallery. Please forgive me if I have forgotten your name on this list (please email me if I have so I can make the correction).
I hope that my project will have a positive impact on our world. There is no doubt that when we come together, with love in our hearts, the difference we make can have a global impact.
Thank you for your time in reading about the HEARTS OF THE EARTH fundraiser.