From Zach Spencer

If you're able to, I humbly ask for your contribution for this important trip. I'm so grateful to you all. Thanks for reading all this and for considering donating to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Hello everybody.  I'm a little apprehensive about doing this.  I've never gone to the public like this to ask for money, I guess it makes me a little uncomfortable.  But I feel like I have no choice now.

I have a very close, very dear, very old friend of over 25 years that is nearing the end of her life.  I currently live in Oregon.  She used to live in Florida.  So I used to be able to visit her more regularly and easily.  But as her health has been getting worse and the unpredictability of the weather and coastal living in Florida has gotten worse, her son relocated her to Columbia about a year or two ago.  Her son has been living there for many years and their money goes much further there.  So they made that relocation decision and it seems like she's in a great condo with doctors, nutritionists, house keepers, etc. that visit and assist her with general day to day needs and medical concerns.

We met over 25 years ago when I was in college.  She was a retired health care professional with deep interest in the arts.  And she decided to take some courses in the department where I was studying for my undergrad.  Although there was a pretty big age gap, we hit it off immediately and were fast friends.  Soon, we'd meet for coffee and get to know each other, chatting about art, family, politics, and just life in general.  We became very bonded and soon were integrated into one another's lives.  I got to know her husband, kids, and friends; we'd spend holidays and birthdays together; we'd go to lots of art shows, theater performances, etc. together, sharing our thoughts and critiques on them, LOL; and so much more.  Eventually, we became family.  I always felt so lucky and grateful for her sort of taking me in.  I have always learned so much from her and she has always supported me throughout every stage of my life, all the ups and downs.  We're basically family now.  She calls me her "Bonus Kid" and I call her "Mama K."

Over the last 5 / 10 years her health and mobility has gotten really bad.  Her daughter ended up quitting her job and relocating to Florida to care for her.  And like I mentioned earlier, the family made the decision to relocate her to Columbia about a year or two ago.  I think things were getting really tough for her in Florida with the crazy weather and it became too much for just her daughter to carry the load.  Her son is now managing most of the burden, with her daughter wrapping up state side duties.

So that's sort of our background.  When she first told me she was moving to Columbia, I was excited that it would be easier for her there, but I was also really troubled that I might not ever see her again.  It's been on my mind ever since she left.  She reached out to me and her other state side kids in the fall.  She asked that we all come see her one last time.  It was a beautiful and heartfelt moment.  And I made a commitment then to do everything I can to make the trip happen.  I work one full time job and one part time job.  I don't make tons of money and I have a lot of expenses, especially with student loan repayments resuming.  I have been setting some money aside every few weeks to save for the trip.  But her kids and I have recently ramped up the planning and such for the trip.  Seems like the sooner we get down there, the better.  Which brings me to now.  I really need some help with funding this trip.  I'm about halfway there, but I just don't have much time left to save.  This is why I'm reaching out to the online fundraising community, despite my embarrassment.  So if you're able to, I'd really appreciate anything you can do to help.  I'd be forever grateful and humbly take this trip knowing the better part of humanity has helped me.

I have been trying to understand exactly how important it is for people to say their last goodbyes to loved ones.  I have found some great resources that have helped me and motivated me to move forward with the trip.  I have a video link in the profile of this fundraiser that was very thoughtful and moving to me.  And the links below are a few quick blurbs that kind of spell out the importance of these "final goodbye" moments.

PSS - I wasn't really sure what to select when asked for the "Category" of the fundraiser.  Nothing really fit exactly for the context of my trip, but I did my best with the limited options provided.


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