I am 31 and I'm getting old. I probably hate you. I run The Low(er) Tier also. We podcast, publish indies and are getting into development. I enjoy watching the weather channel and complaining about grass. I have two beautiful kids, a wife and am dealing with life and just trying to do my best with it all. My other interests (besides games) are: reading, hiking, playing with my kids, yelling at old(er) people, collecting various virus samples, stalking Smurfee, thinking about working out, itching my bare butthole and seeing how long I can go, without smelling my finger and Batman. I love old school cars (Chevy), football (Packers & Niners) and of course: Vidya Gamze!
My favorite games as a wee lass were: SMB3, Gunstar Heroes, Commander Keen, Blake Stone, Doom/Quake, Excitebike, Anything from Sierra/Lucasarts and MK. Now days I'm a filthy game slut. I play it all, I love it all. I'm always down to game with anyone, so feel free to hit me up on whatever you see I'm on. I've been on Dtoid quite awhile now (almost 5 years) and have only started getting involved the past couple years. You can find me lurking mainly in Cblogs and OH. I also do the weekend recaps in Cblogs and have started a podcast called Low(er) Tier. I love you sick bastards. In a sexy non-sexual way.
I'm also on that thar Tweetarr @MikeMcPhil. Feel free to hit me up, I'm always down to chat.
So thanks to you guys my brother and his family have made it this far. It hasn't been easy, but your kindness (and some help from myself/others) has carried him this far. The Indiegogo was a massive failure, but private donations have helped a lot. The Indiegogo has made $192 so far, but only $40 of that was made available, due to credit card payments (Indiegogo holds all credit card payments until the campaign is over). In the past two months through Dtoid and Twitter, we have made his family almost $1300. That has helped a lot. Between that and food closets and myself, we have somewhat kept food on his table and a bit of gas their vehicles to get the kids to school and such. My brother and I thank you so much everything. Dtoid is an amazing community and our family as well. Now let's get to the good, the bad and the ugly in this update.
My brother has found a lawyer to take his case. He will finally be able to go after these bastards that caused all this and hopefully make sure that they never pull this on anyone else. After a lot of searching and talking to different lawyers, he is confident that he found one that's not a scumbag and is willing to work mostly for free, until a settlement can be achieved. Also the lawyer isn't asking for a huge chunk of said settlement, which is nice, considering most wanted around 40-50% to take the case pro-bono or whatever the correct term is. Papers have been filed and things are moving ahead on that front.
Child support has finally found my brothers ex-wife and is going after her for all the years of child support she owes (around 20g's worth). She has been served and has a court date of Oct. 11th. This court date is to enforce payment and the sack of garbage has zero wiggle room to get out of it. She has a good job and makes about $4k a month. A week or two after the case, payments should start appearing and I can't even explain how much this will help out. An extra $600-$800 a month is a life changer at this point. To top that off, my brother's disability case is also getting closer, so that's two checks a month just over the horizon.
The last good thing is that they have received a lot of free furniture, toys and some clothes the past month as donations. The kids have some clothes now (not enough, but much better off), they have some toys to play with and the house has some decent furniture and doesn't look like a ghost town anymore. All in all the past month has been much brighter than we could have hoped for, despite the Indiegogo failing hard and not being able to draw attention to this whole thing. 80% is on you guys, once again, thank you so much, from the bottoms of both all our hearts.
Now we move into not so happy news. Health wise, things are getting worse. My sister in law has been diagnosed Sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is an inflammation of the lung tissue and other organs, that basically never goes away from my understanding. It can also great growths on various organs, which causes more problems as I'm sure you can figure out. It is treatable, but not nice. They don't know what causes it, but after the toxic black mold exposure (I believe the reading in their bedroom was 24k units and the average presence is 300-400 units in most affected homes, just so you have an idea of how bad the exposure was) and the kids developing breathing issues..... yeah. The best part? The middle daughter is now showing all the symptoms and needs to go the doctor as well. Bloody hell. Moving on with the health issues, my brother has now been diagnosed with full blown asthma. He also requires an inhaler now, just like the children. Once again, all these people were healthy and great before the exposure, now they all have breathing issues (which can all be linked to the mold exposure). Shitty, horrible stuff all around on the medical front and continuing that trend, my brother was hospitalized two days ago. No one is sure what happened, but he woke up puking his guts out, then couldn't breath and then went into a series of small seizures that ended up with him spending the day in the hospital. Doctors aren't sure what caused it, but it could very well be related to lack of oxygen he is getting from his asthma, combined with all the meds he has to now take relating to that and the issues with his arms. It was scary shit and for a second my sister and I were scared we might lose him. Moving on from those nightmares...
The Indiegogo.... sigh. What a failure of a campaign. I take full responsibility for that. I have pushed and promoted as much as I could, but in the end I couldn't pull it off. So we are throwing the specialist out the window and are going to just let it peter out during this final push for help (I'll get to that in a minute). We are thankful for the few hundred dollars it's raised, but my brother can't even touch half of it and as I said, we are giving up on the specialist, it doesn't appear to be needed anyway. Everyone in that family now has documented problems all stemming from the exposure, the medical history shows that none of these conditions were present before the exposure and we feel since we can't pull the Indiegogo off, that will have to be enough. I will throw this out there though. It is really fucking frustrating to see people get 5g's to make a well in their backyard, get money for vacations, vagina's and other things, while I watch part of my family struggle, stress and starve. I'm not saying these people don't deserve what they have received at all, good for them and I wish them all the luck, just pisses me off that we couldn't get even half our goal with all the pushing. I hit up everyone and their mom and haven't relented on twitter, in email, in person and still nothing really, except from y'all. Extremely fucking frustrating.
The final bad thing is the one that's been present through all these blogs, money. It's the main reason this began. There is never enough food in the house for them, never enough gas in the car, no extra activities for the kids (I'm not talking trips to expensive stuff, I mean driving to the park, going somewhere free, getting 4 $1 ice cream cones, none of that stuff), barely scraping by every week. As I mentioned above, the middle daughter needs to go the doctor, well guess what? No money for that. Family needs to pick up scripts? No money. Out of peanut butter? You get the idea. It's a constant struggle week to week with just enough trickles to scrape by. Dtoid, you and I are the only ones making those scrapes happen. You have all been amazing and so helpful and generous, this isn't a rant about not getting money, it's just a fact of the situation. My peanut butter example? The doctor one? All are from the past two days. Not to mention, since my sister had to miss work to take my brother to the hospital, they are now over $400 behind on next months rent. My sister works her ass off, my brother holds the house down and is out looking for work (despite being disabled, I might add) and I am donating every spare cent I have to them and it's not enough. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.
The ugly is that I'm not here just to give you guys an update. I'm here for one final push. Once child support and disability start rolling in, things will dramatically improve in that house and that's only about a month away. Unfortunately a month is a long time when you have nothing and bills are mounting. That lawyer I mentioned? Well as I said, he will work mostly for free, but he is requiring an upfront retainer of $1100 and will deduct the rest out of any settlement reached. My niece needs to go the doctors again and part of the family needs to pick up medicine that medicare doesn't fully cover. More food is needed, as is gas to get my sister to work and the kids to school. Rent is short due to my sister having to miss work and other expenses that have come up (they picked up the kids medicine, but not their own and they needed to get shoes for the kids). I know I have bugged the shit out of all of you, but this the last push. I need to get my family through this last month, so here we are with a revised plan and goal. Let me lay out the expenses:
-Doctors visit and meds: $200
-Money towards rent: $400
-Lawyer fee: $1100
-Food for the month: $300
-Gas for the month: $200 (They both drive cheap old Lincolns that barely run and were given to them)
Total = $2200.00
If we can raise that in the next week or so, we can relieve a tremendous amount of stress off this families shoulders. It won't let them live in luxury, hell, it'll barely be good and probably won't be enough (We are talking a family of 6 with medical conditions, special food needs, etc.), but it will be breathing room from the constant empty cupboards and low gas lights. Not to mention the bills they are behind on, the ones that haven't hit yet and all that good stuff.
Phil, I'm broke/I've donated already/What can I do that doesn't involve money?
I know you guys have given your all, I know you have helped spread the word. Once again, so grateful for everything, every comment, every retweet, etc. I have so many handies to give out it's not even funny anymore, but we can do more. One last time. Spread this link, email it to friends, post it on Facebook/Twitter/MySpace/Vine/Whatever, post a little thing in the breakroom at work/school. I still believe if we can the right people to listen, we can do something for this family more than get them by, while they worry about next week. I am down on my knees, begging you guys. You don't need to donate anymore, just spread the word please. Spread it everywhere you can and for one last time, thank you all. I love you, my brother loves you. We are blessed to have you all in our lives. I will throw the links for paypal/Indiegogo below for ease of access.
Indiegogo takes 10% of whatever is donated and holds credit card payments until the end of the campaign.
PayPal offers in most cases immediate access to funds from anywhere in the world (with a small charge for credit or international). My brother's email (linked to his PayPal) is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if anyone wants to talk to me or my brother, ask for proof, see anything, get emailed pictures, etc. Anything at all, PM me or hit me up on Twitter (@MikeMcPhil). We will gladly answer any questions you have and provide anything you'd to see to show you that we are straight up with all of this. My brother is hesitant to post any important papers/the mold test, etc. due to this being a legal case, but he will gladly private message any of that stuff to you and I will be glad to help him with it. Why am I saying this? Because since I started this, I've had some folks express doubt, ask for it, ask why we weren't posting it and so on. So I want to make it clear that all you have to do is ask and we will provide. One other thing I want to address is hate. I've had some nasty pm's from a few different places (not on here though), since I started posting about this and spreading the word. If you want to talk shit, lay into me for posting this stuff or whatever reason you have, have the balls to do it in public. I am trying to help a family with 4 kids that I am related to. The only family I have, besides my own kids. If you can't understand that, then just keep your closed or as I said, do it in public. I will publish your messages from now on.