Asking For Help is Never Easy, and Thanks to Gary, I Didn’t Have To…

by Brandon

I admit it… I’m a prideful guy. It’s not easy for me to ask for help. I’m 40 years old and I’ve worked nonstop since I was 17. I’ve never been one to take handouts and I’ve never been one to ask for anything I didn’t earn. So now that I’m facing something too big to handle alone, I find myself struggling. It’s especially tough because I understand this isn’t just about me.

It’s also about my family.

Let me start by explaining a little bit about being an indie author.

Making a living as an author is tough work. It requires constant maintenance. It’s not just about the writing… I also have to maintain the marketing. I write a book, go through the editing process, upload the book, then I have to market the book constantly. Writing isn’t a case of, “If you build it, they will come.” You have to build it, then continually entice readers to come.

This means I use several different marketing venues. One day, I might run an ad on one site, the next day, I hit another site. And all of this is while I’m working on the next book. If an author stops maintaining his/her marketing, that book will inevitably fall off the grid and languish unread on Amazon and all the other retail venues.

But if an author can successfully work all these angles, it’s totally possible to support yourself as an author. I’m proof that it can be done, but make no mistake… it’s a full time job.

And since I’ve become sick, I’m unable to do most of this. My wife helps where she can, but she has become my caretaker, and, obviously, she will be traveling with me when I go to northern Virginia to get treatment.

This means our income is drying up fast, and we were never well-off in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, here; I’m not complaining. The writing wasn’t making us enough money to go out and get a new car, but it was paying the bills… and that was enough to keep us happy.

But now…

Well, I’ll be honest with you here, it’s stressful. It’s bad enough that we’re dealing with cancer, but we’re also dealing with the extreme cost of this disease. And it’s not just the cost of treatment; it’s the cost of living expenses while getting the treatment. We have to figure out how to pay for my wife’s expenses while in northern Virginia, while at the same time figuring out how to pay for our regular expenses back home (mortgage, insurance payments, utilities, etc).

I’d be lying if I said this didn’t sometimes make it hard to maintain a positive attitude. We’re doing our best, but… well… it’s not always easy to say, “Everything will be okay” when you’re wondering if you’ll be able to keep your home.

And when you add the fact that I personally have a very hard time asking for help, it just adds to the stress. I mean, who am I to ask for help? I’m just one guy with cancer. There are entire countries full of suffering people. Why should I ask for help when so many other more deserving people need help in this world?

As it turned out, I was saved from having to answer those questions.

I was saved from this particular problem by my best friend, Gary Patrick.

How did he save me?

He created a “Go Fund Me” page to collect donations so I wouldn’t have to.

You can see his page (and my goofy, smiling mug) by going here:

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When my wife and I thanked him for doing it, this was his reply:
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“Chas [Gary's wife] and I will handle it all ourselves… Don’t you worry about that. You focus on getting better… You’re the one that got me to realize that love is what makes the world go around. This is coming out of love for you guys, so no thanks are necessary. Just get better so you can be Professor X for Halloween.”
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To explain the last part, considering I’ll be healing up from the treatment by Halloween, I’ve decided to go as Professor X from the X-Men this year.
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Anyway, I’m still overwhelmed by his kindness and love. Gary is everything I could ever wish for in a friend.
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And what was even more overwhelming, in less than a day, people have donated over $800.
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Every time we saw a new donation come through, the weight on our shoulders got just a little bit lighter.
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I can’t say it’s the cure to all our worries… I mean, I still have cancer… but it helps us to keep our focus on the fight that matters. We can keep our energy to fight cancer instead of putting energy into fighting that electric bill…

So to my dear friend Gary, I would like to say

Thank you, brother. Not just for this, but for everything.

And to all of you who have shown support, whether through donations, sharing Gary’s page, or by giving me much needed emotional support, I would like to say…

Thank you. I am not overstating when I say your love and support gives my wife and me the strength to face this thing with a positive attitude.

I will beat this, and I couldn’t do it without you. That’s simply the truth.

Thank you.

–Bran

p.s.

Since I announced my diagnosis, I have received dozens and dozens of messages from folks asking how they can help. Please don’t feel obligated to donate money just because of this blog. We don’t want anybody putting themselves in a tough spot just so they can donate money to our struggle. Your emotional support is every bit as important as any monetary support.

To those who have asked how you can help, there are really four things you could do. And I’m not asking you to do all four. Any one of these things would help us in immeasurable ways.

1. Monetary donations through Gary’s page. Again, we don’t want anybody to put themselves in a tough spot for us, but if it’s something you can afford (even if it’s 5 bucks), every little bit helps. It feels incredibly distasteful for me to be talking about money here, but the truth is the truth, and the truth is, money is a requirement when it comes to fighting something like this. So any help you want to give would put us a step closer to winning the fight.

2. If you’re not comfortable donating money (or can’t afford it), we totally understand. Really. We’re in the same spot. Another way you can help is simply by sharing Gary’s donation page while putting in a good word for me. :) The url is very easy to remember:

http://www.gofundme.com/donatetobrandonhale

3. If you’re not on Facebook or can’t share, or if you want to give people a reason to help that goes beyond charity, spread the word about Day Soldiers. The first book in the series is absolutely free, so you’re not recommending anything people have to take a chance on. If they like the first book, hopefully, they’ll buy the follow up books. That income will help us tremendously. Here’s the Amazon link to Day Soldiers.

4. Whether you do any of the above things or not, we can still use your emotional support. Like I said, your love and support gives us the strength to carry on. Every day, my wife and I look at the dozens of supportive and loving messages, both on this blog and on Facebook. As we read the comments, we always smile, despite everything that’s going on in our lives. It means the world to us that you guys have been so incredibly supportive, and I could say “Thank you” every second for the rest of my life and it still wouldn’t be enough. Unless you’ve gone through something like this, there’s simply no way for me to adequately describe how important your emotional support is. It truly gives us strength. Every time we get a message saying, “I KNOW you’re gonna beat this!” it takes us one step closer to actually beating this.

p.p.s

As an additional “Thank you” to Gary, here’s an embarrassing picture of him doing a duck face:

 

 


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Clare Hoskins March 3, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Shared your gofundme page, shared the link to first book (free book!!) and shared full description of the series, all highly recommended.
What a great friends you have in Gary Patrick and his wife Chas – god bless them ;) you don’t need the stress and they’ve done a fantastic thing in setting your page up. …dont let them down, get some Star Trek pyjamas as someone has suggested on your page ;) ;) ;) sneaky way to influence your wife too – subliminal messages, she’ll end up wearing a Trekkie costume before she knows it. Take care, from one of your fans

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Betty March 3, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Bran, I’ve wandered over here via a FB link from my buddy Donna McNicol. One of the many lessons and gifts (yes, gifts) of the cancer experience is learning to ask for and accept the help of others. I know this because I’m a strong, very independent gal. I also know this because I’m a two-time survivor of two different cancers. You, too, became a survivor the day you heard the words, “You have cancer.” Cancer treatment can be tiring, unpleasant and, well, downright icky; however, there are also many moments of joy, laughter, love and . . . totally incredible experiences that are interwoven into the path before you. Remember that even at 2 AM or in the dark of a sunlit day . . . you are NOT alone. Now go kick cancer’s butt! In survivorship . . . Peace, strength, love and light
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Brandon March 3, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Thank you for the wonderful thoughts, Betty. I’m learning as I go along, but I’m finding that your words are very, very wise.
Brandon recently posted..Asking For Help is Never Easy, and Thanks to Gary, I Didn’t Have To…My Profile

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gpaulr March 3, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Each of us will contribute with and we will be your X-Men.
I call dibs on Cyclops.
You know, this makes this particular Halloween something to really look forward to.

Glen
gpaulr recently posted..Loneliness is zombies.My Profile

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Brandon March 3, 2014 at 11:36 PM

I admit, I’m stoked about Halloween. Gary has already agreed to go as Eric/Magneto.
Brandon recently posted..Asking For Help is Never Easy, and Thanks to Gary, I Didn’t Have To…My Profile

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Nick Russell March 5, 2014 at 2:08 AM

Brandon and Laura,
PLease know that there are a lot of people out here praying for you both and sending lots of positive energy your way. You WILL come through this together and have many, many more years of joy and happiness ahead of you.

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Brandon March 5, 2014 at 6:49 AM

Thank you, Nick.
Brandon recently posted..I Have the Easy Job…My Profile

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