The Tale of Two Sarahs
The Tale Of Two Sarahs
What we love most about WonderWe is how it encourages regular people to pay it forward and share with others. This past year, that concept took on extra meaning on our site. This story of sharing and caring began with Sarah Munroe and Sarah Weiss, two elementary school teachers and best friends.
Joy and Pain
In 2016, Weiss and her husband had just welcomed a new baby girl into the household when Weiss’ older daughter, 2 ½ year old Sydney, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Joy was suddenly eclipsed with fear and worry as the doctors informed the couple that Sydney would require brain surgery and a long period of rehabilitation.
Munroe and many at the school where she and Weiss taught wanted to help, but the administration was uncomfortable collecting cash. The principal suggested Munroe investigate crowdfunding. Of the three sites he suggested, Munroe chose WonderWe.
“It was just so easy to set up,” says Munroe, a newcomer to crowdfunding. “Not only was the site simple to navigate, I was impressed that WonderWe didn’t charge fees. All the donations went straight to Sydney’s needs. Plus, it allowed the donations to connect directly to the Weiss’ bank account. That made it really convenient and controllable.”
Munroe’s goal of $500 was quickly reached and then surpassed.
“It was definitely a wonderful feeling to know that people I work with gave some of their hard-earned money to help us,” says Weiss. “We know everyone works hard for their money. It was a little uncomfortable to accept it, but it was so nice.”
Sydney now 3 ½, continues toward a full recovery, “achieving all the milestones and doing fantastic,” Weiss says, adding, “she likes to announce that the boo-boo isn’t there anymore.”
Paying it Forward
It didn’t take long for Weiss to have the opportunity to pay it forward after her WonderWe blessing. This past April, Weiss’ former neighbor, Ashley Oakes, reached out to her for help as her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis (CF) had worsened. CF is a genetic, progressive lung disease that ultimately leads to lung damage and eventually respiratory failure.
“She had always been very private about her illness, so I didn’t know how ill she was or what it was,” says Weiss. “I’m still not even sure what led her to call me asking for help, but I’m glad she did.”
Now 33 years old, Oakes’ condition had deteriorated in recent months to the point where she had to stop working. Similar to Weiss’ situation, Oakes and her husband, Randy, found themselves dealing not only with a devastating medical condition but also with mounting medical bills.
“Ashley is in line for long-term disability, and she’s working with a lawyer to file for social security, but there’s a long waiting period. Both claims will take a minimum of six months to get approved,” explains Weiss. “Meanwhile, there was mortgage to pay. They were terrified of losing their home. That’s what pushed her to go public with her illness.”
Asking for Help
A very uncomfortable Oakes asked Weiss if she might help set up a crowdfunding campaign.
“I know it was so hard for her to ask for help. It was hard for me to take help in my case, too,” admits Weiss. “I told Ashley about my wonderful experience with WonderWe, how they didn’t take fees out of the donations like some others and how easy it was to set up. I think she was relieved to hear that.”
Weiss sat down with Oakes and together they made a list of exactly what expenses needed to be covered. Oakes was sheepish about asking for a large amount, but Weiss assured her that “people just want to help, so try and get past it and let them.” The $10,000 figure would allow Ashley and Randy to keep their home and keep life as normal as it could be under the circumstances. the tale of two sarahs.
The campaign was set up within a week or two after Oakes’ first call to Weiss, and soon the donations began to roll in. “We started by sharing the link with their moms, and they took it from there. Ashley decided to share it on Facebook, and we all did as well. She also shared it at her work,” Weiss says.
As of November 2017, $7400 has been raised, taking a huge weight off Ashley and Randy’s shoulders.
Ashley’s disease, unfortunately, has no cure, but her determination has helped her beat many of the odds, and she and her husband will continue the fight together.
The tale of two sarahs: With the help of WonderWe and the caring of two women, Sarah Munroe and Sarah Weiss, the lives of two families have been changed for the better—all of them deeply appreciative of the depth of kindness their family, friends and co-workers have shown, The tale of two sarahs.