Friday, May 16, 2014

Learning to reach out

I'm Tommie Brewster and this is part of my story..........

                                          and the Appeal on my behalf is HERE




I was first diagnosed with an optic nerve glioma ( tumor) over 3 years ago and since that day, I have used all my resources of strength, faith and of course money to keep myself going. 

I am used to promoting my music and my radio shows online; living on the far edge of the world and wanting to be heard gave me only that one option - to go out there and introduce my music and myself to anyone who was inclined to listen.  And largely my efforts have been successful, doing all of the music, the radio, the promotion etc. entirely alone and I have connected with some wonderful, warm people all around the globe, some of whom have been kind enough to purchase my music and enable me to carry on with my dream.

All of this was not easy to do at first, but became easier.
What was not and is not easy is going out into the world and telling everyone my troubles. 

My life has been a hard struggle almost from day one, but I am not alone: we all have hardships and heartaches.  So for me, my mantra has been to present a happy face to the world, to help in any way I can, for as many as I can and to use my gift of music to do that.  I have given my energy, my love and music to the cause of children who are victims of abuse and/or trafficking. I care deeply about this evil in our world and thinking of only one child somewhere in the world, alone and abused, terrified and without hope, is enough to stop me from ever complaining.  So generally I don't complain.


Knowing that of me, you may appreciate that when I had to face the fact of having no money left, or nothing left to sell that would raise money to help save my life, and when I confided in only two special friends and they encouraged me to let them launch a public Appeal, I said no.  But then I realised as more and more close friends became aware of my situation that they wanted  to give, they wanted  to help and that my pride maybe was not allowing that to happen.  I have NO family so my close friends are my family and now I realise that my family is much larger than I thought.

So finally the Appeal to raise money was launched.  I find it embarrassing still to be there asking for financial help; I feel naked and I feel vulnerable.  But I also feel loved.  To have received the donations that have come to me so far and to have all the private messages, the love, the support has been a revelation to me.  Maybe I'm amazed!! Yes, amazed that people care for me so much. 

So big thankyou to all who have given, to all who have helped create the Appeal site, the Facebook 'event', to all who have shared it in so many places.  Thankyou.

My situation right now grows worse by the day.  You will I hope have read the short story on the Appeal site
and know that I have already had surgery for the first tumor, that I already had some Proton Beam therapy for a second one and that I am told now I need a final course of Proton Beam therapy to eradicate what is now seeking to kill me.  The tumor was classed as not malignant originally, but becomes classified as malignant as it grows to such a size as to impact on my brain.  I already lost a big piece of my sight as a result of the first surgery ( in effect a hole in my vision in one eye ) but now I am at risk of being first of all blinded, then lose my hearing, then my motor functions and ultimately my life.

I have been a careful person and have taken care to have private medical insurance for most of my life which has funded the hospitalisations needed, the huge costs of surgeons, anaesthetists, drugs, etc. etc. However, it does not cover the cost of flights to and from wherever I need to go to get treatment.

Here in New Zealand, we have an excellent state health scheme, but we are a small country with very limited resources and what I now need simply does not exist here.  New Zealand does not have Proton Beam equipment in any shape or form.  The apparatus alone costs over $20 million US dollars to build.  Our nearest neighbor, Australia, similarly does not have Proton Beam facilities.  The US has many centres for Proton Beam, so does Europe but my nearest point is South Korea.  I need to get there in order to save my life.  That's just how it is.

I need money to get me to where I need to be.  And I don't have it.  The Appeal stands today at about $3500 and the minimum I need is $7800.  The target is shown as $10,000 because my friends hoped to achieve enough to help me survive after the therapy when obviously I will be unable to work.

I have sold just about everything possible to sell, I live frugally on very little and my life savings are gone. Two very special people came along and helped me along the way, more than I could ever have expected, but now I am obliged to reach out further and that is what I am doing.  Time is of the essence, for if I cannot get to South Korea very very soon, I will miss my place in the surgical schedule and by the time the next space is available, it will be too late for me.

I weaken daily, but keep going.  Music has been my life for all of my life and I create music every day. Now I am finding even that very hard but I won't give in.  I carry on with my radio shows - taking blues and the music of fellow artists to as many places in the world as I can.  I haven't given in yet.  

People suggest to me that I approach the many charities around the world.  All that has been investigated.  If I receive any funds from an organised charity, then the money paid out by my insurer will be reduced accordingly so I will be no further forward financially.  My only hope is voluntary donations and I stand here before you asking for help. I have nothing left to lose after all.

I love life and I love people and I'm really not ready to leave either just yet. 


my love to everyone
Tommie