Monday, August 15, 2011

Home is Where You Hang Your Hat

This is a very important, very personal appeal.  I need your help.  Actually, I need your hats.  I want to tell you about Shayla, who has been my friend for over fifteen years.  We have known each other through some very rough times (and of course, some very good ones), and right now she's having a really rough time.  She's an active member of the internet community - heck, that's how we met in the first place - so that seems like the logical place to seek help.

Shayla has a medical condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri, also known as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.  To put it in layman's terms, her body creates too much spinal fluid, and without the assistance of daily medication, it would crush her brain.  As it is, she's lost her peripheral vision and suffers from chronic fatigue and a smorgasbord of other side effects from the condition.  She does the best she can with it; I've known her long enough to vouch for that.

This year, she's developed some complications and had to have surgery to remove a brain tumor that was, thankfully, benign.  She also was in the hospital with a kidney stone, which was caused by the medication she takes for her chronic condition.  The good news is, all her actual medical-related bills have been covered.  The bad news is, some very big other expenses have not.

You see, unfortunately, all this time in the hospital meant that Shayla couldn't complete her spring semester in college, and the incomplete status is posing a potential threat to her financial aid - which is the money she quite literally lives on, uses to pay her rent and support herself and her two adorable kitties.  She does have a very good landlord who allows her to pay the rent six months at a time, scheduled around when the financial aid arrives, but because of the current situation there's no way the money will come through (even if she wins her appeal) by the time it's due on September first.

Because of the brain surgery, Shayla shaved her head.  So she had the rather clever idea to raise the money via a hat auction.  What she's requesting are donations of handcrafted hats - quilted, knitted, crocheted, tatted lace, whatever anyone can create in a short amount of time, because this has to happen fast.  Donations are being accepted now and the actual auction will take place starting on August 24th.  I believe it will be done via the internet, so expect an update on the situation next week with the link.

Here's where I'm looking for your help.  I am requesting that every single person who reads this blog post help in at least one of three ways:

1.  Make and donate a hat.  Any size, any craft - heck, Shayla even suggested origami paper hats!  Send your completed hat to:

Shayla Dunn
2841 Moland Street #10
Madison, WI  53704

2.  Can't make a hat?  Would you be willing to make a financial donation toward helping Shayla keep a roof over her head?  Anything upwards of one dollar would be gratefully welcomed.  Shayla has a FundRazr account which you can find right here if you'd like to make an online monetary contribution.

3.  Please, please, if you do nothing else - boost the signal.  Send your friends to this blog post, especially if they're creative types who would be willing to assist with the hat auction.  Post it on Facebook, on Twitter, wherever. 

I've seen the power of the mighty internet work wonders.  I've seen what happens when we unite.  I'm asking the internet community to come together again, and help one of our own.  Shayla needs some love right now, so let's give it to her.  It's a great chance to really make a difference for one person!


  1. I posted to Ravelry. People there may have more knit and crochet hats than they know what to do with!
    -- melydia's sister


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