Wow, wow, wow — and thanks

Wow, wow, wow.

The fundraiser has been a thumping success. It has exceeded all my expectations. I will be able to comfortably cover my mortgage and other expenses for a few months, while I recover my health and get my writing and speaking career revved up again afterwards. No further donations or spreading of the word are necessary: I’ve actually gotten somewhat more than I really need, and I’m seriously contemplating donating the overflow — probably to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk via the Foundation Beyond Belief, and/or to Camp Quest. (I feel okay about asking my readers for financial help, but I feel weird taking more than I really need.)

I hadn’t realized how much of my stress and anxiety about this situation was focused on my financial worries, until I didn’t have those worries anymore. It is a huge, huge weight off my shoulders: I can now go ahead with the surgery, and with my recovery afterwards, with all my focus on my health. And I won’t feel pressed by financial worries into rushing back to work sooner than I’m ready to.

And possibly more importantly: I am deeply loving the atheist community right now. Atheism really came through for me on this one. I am feeling deeply loved and valued by this community right now. And I’m feeling excited and happy and energized to get back into working with it when I recover… in a way that I haven’t in a while.

Huge thanks to everyone who donated, with any amount. Some people have been commenting or emailing to say things like, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t donate more”: y’all need to knock it off. As someone who’s often on the broke side herself, I am intensely touched by people who are short on cash but who felt moved to make a small donation to help out anyway. And the small donations have been adding up, and are a big part of what’s made this a success. Huge thanks also to everyone who blogged about this fundraiser, Tweeted it, Facebooked it, Reddited it, or otherwise spread the word about it. Huge thanks for folks who have been buying my book, or encouraging other people to buy it. Huge thanks for all the suggestions for books and movies and TV shows: thanks to you, I am going to be the best-entertained cancer recovery patient in history. And huge thanks to everyone who simply sent me kind words. The kind words have been an enormous part of what’s making me feel loved and valued and re-energized.

This last few weeks have been an unbelievable shitstorm. But yesterday was the best day I’ve had in a while. Thank you all for making it happen.


Wow, wow, wow — and thanks

68 thoughts on “Wow, wow, wow — and thanks

  1. 3

    And I was gonna donate today after getting my paycheck! Oh well, I’ll still buy your book.

    Really glad we were all able to help. This has been a shit time for you.

  2. 4

    Hehe, you post this barely 20 minutes after I got my own post up spreading the word! I normally lurk here, but I’m so glad you’ve gotten all this support and that it’s helped take a weight off your mind.

    Mind yerself ‘n’ all.

  3. 7

    […] UPDATE from Greta: The fundraiser has been a thumping success. It has exceeded all my expectations. … No further donations or spreading of the word are necessary. … I can now go ahead with the surgery, and with my recovery afterwards, with all my focus on my health. … I am deeply loving the atheist community right now. Atheism really came through for me on this one. I am feeling deeply loved and valued by this community right now. […]

  4. 9

    Be sure to hold on to the extra long enough to be SURE you don’t need it — say, till after you’ve started giving talks again.

    Get Ingrid a nice present for helping you through this.

    Then track down a nice, secular cancer charity to donate what’s left. 🙂

  5. 11

    Greta, I didn’t even get a chance to donate after I learned about this, and I’m thrilled that you’ve received enough donations to relieve some of the stress from your life.

    My heartfelt sympathies over your recent loss.

    I didn’t donate anything, and of course I have absolutely no say in how you use the excess donations you’ve received. But my step-dad passed away from complications due to Acute Myeloid Leukemia earlier this year. It’s how I would donate if I were in similar circumstances.

    Best wishes for you and your loved ones during this time!

  6. 14

    I’m glad to hear that you got what you needed, Greta. You truly are a treasure to the atheism community. In fact, I’d dare say you’re the one blogger I’ve read regularly for years who I’ve never found myself disagreeing with – at the end of your posts, at least. You’re one of the best bloggers at actually convincing people, and that’s what makes you so important to us all.

    Thank you, Greta.

  7. 15

    Just gotta say one more thing. I said in the last post that you’ve been an inspiration to me. One thing I picked up from you, I think, is that while we live in a cold, uncaring universe, we also live in a world filled with warm and loving people, and it’s up to each other to care for each other.

    I’m really glad you’re feeling all that warmth and love today.

    ..and I’m also really glad that many of those warm and loving people are also doctors and medical researchers and surgeons, so you can keep on feeling that for a long, long time yet 🙂

  8. 17

    I’m so very happy for you.
    I also agree with you about the atheist community. It’s a wonderful thing to see so many people come together to help you out in this time of need. Reading your post made me smile with happiness for you and the community.
    (I’m still buying your book though)

  9. 20

    I’m so glad that major source of stress has been removed.

    Huge thanks for folks who have been buying my book,

    Well, to be totally honest, there was essentially zero chance of my not buying it eventually. This just moved me to do it at a good time, and I’ll enjoy it all the more.


  10. 21

    It’s Ok to end up with more than you need. You might end up needing more than you think, and in any case you might just need to pamper yourself a bit during recovery. If any is left over when you return to work, is when you make a donation.

    Our thoughts are with you and looking forward to your recovery.

  11. 22

    My very very best to you, Greta, for a quick and complete recovery. You have long been an inspiration to me, and meeting you last November (2011) in Seattle on my birthday was the highlight of my year! 🙂

    I know your fundraiser has been a success (I’m only sorry I didn’t hear about it earlier) – but I still did go ahead and send a donation to your Paypal account with the exact message in the first paragraph of this comment. I already have monthly donations set up to Camp Quest and the SSA, so I’m not worried that I’ll be shortchanging them, because this was a special “different from all of my other donations” thing anyway. I don’t live in SFO, and so can’t offer anything more than words right now.

    Already have the e-book of “99 things…” – just bought the Audible version too 🙂

    Good luck, and come back roaring! I’ll be waiting, along with a whole lotta others.

  12. 23

    I just heard about the fundraiser and was on my way over to donate. I do wish you’d consider giving subscribers the option of subscribing at a higher level than $5 a month. The New York Times costs $15 every four weeks, and your writing is worth at least that much to me. Come to think of it, I’m not sure the Times is worth as much.

  13. 24

    I haven’t been able to donate right away, and I’d really like to be able to when I have the money.

    Please keep the donation page open. I don’t really care if I’m giving you extra because the unexpected can happen and you may end up needing it anyway. Even if you don’t, I trust that you’d use the excess in better ways than I could anyway.

  14. 25


    I’m with those here who hope that you will hang on to all the donated funds. Do something nice for yourself (and/or Ingrid). And, being part of this awesome response to your situation has given me a renewed “faith” in humanity and I thank you and everyone here whom contributed to that.

  15. 26

    I’d concur with those saying: don’t donate away the extra yet. Once you’re back on your feet and fully recovered will be time enough for that. You never know when another blow might come or some unexpected expense might be necessary. And you don’t have to feel weird about it. That money also represents gratitude for all the work you’ve been doing without being paid for it. You deserve to have a good salary with benefits, and since you’re self-employed, it’s up to us to pay for that.

  16. 27

    Greta, you are a jewel. I am flat broke at the moment, so I couldn’t help, but I did buy your book a while back.

    Like the others said, don’t donate the excess until you are back on your feet. And don’t hesitate to ask for more if you need it.

    Just take care of yourself.

  17. 28

    This is such wonderful news. You should keep some of the overage, and treat yourself to a nice night out when you are better.

    You are totally worth it, and we are all so pleased that this worked out for you 🙂

    Get better soon!

  18. 32

    I’m very happy to see others beat me to the punch. I was feeling bad about not being able to donate at this time. Now that your head is above water I can think of one last item to add to your todo list.

    While recovering IF (I am stressing a big IF) you think of some amazing half hour rant idea, maybe you could rent a decent camera and film it. Post it to youtube as a sort of “wish I didn’t have to cancel” thing for all of us that were planning to see you.

    As with the majority vote, keep the money, wait until after everything is green and you have taken Ingrid out for a nice dinner, then donate the rest (if there is any left) in FtB’s name to a nice secular cancer charity (cite reedbyers)

    Feel our respect and admiration for what you do and why you do it.

  19. 33

    I, too, want to caution you to wait until you know exactly what you will need before donating excess. Cancer has a way of being much more expensive than one would think.

    we’re all glad to know that the community came through for you. Kind of different from the opinion so many have of us unloving non-theists.

  20. 35

    Oh, an addition to my Revenge and Columbo recommendations…

    I’m already reading your book, and #52 reminded me of another – Dava Sobel’s* Galileo’s Daughter. You’ve read it, possibly, but if not it’s a wonderful combination of science, history, and tenderness. I cried at the end, but not in a pained way.

    *Incidentally, I just saw Sobel in a documentary about Ruth Gruber (her aunt, evidently), Ahead of Time, which I’d also recommend.

  21. 37

    And Greta, don’t feel “weird” about it for cryin out loud. As I said on my blog earlier today, do NPR and PBS feel weird about asking people to subscribe? No. They point out that they’re providing something of value.

  22. 39

    No. No. No! Don’t get rid of that “surplus” until you’re out the other side.

    You have a water heater and various appliances and a billion other opportunities for the dreaded unanticipated expenses to eat your savings. It doesn’t have to be sky falling on you awful to cost you more than you can afford.

    And you still don’t know whether there’ll be more medical or associated costs as you get through this. A bit of physical therapy. A few extra taxis. Don’t cost much – but if you have no income and they’re not insured expenses, they’ll add up to more than you’ve got if you’ve given it away.

    Remember, you may not be earning at full capacity for a few months even after you get back to it. Keep a financial cushion handy so you don’t over-extend yourself. Your gift will be welcomed whenever you donate it.

  23. 40

    Greta, please don’t pass along the “extra” donations. Besides what others have said above about more surprises being possible, there’s also what you said yourself in your last post:

    … and I haven’t yet had time to build up any sort of financial cushion.

    Use this opportunity to start that nest egg. Please!

    I bought your book when it came out on Kindle and started it, then got distracted. So I just now bought the audio version, in part because I’m an auditory sort and wish more books came that way (making them all cheaper than they are currently) and also because I want to help support you, now when you need it, but I can’t afford much.

    It’s all well and good to support other causes and charities. We can go ahead and send some money their way sometime. But just now, we’ve sent money to you because we want you to have it, against your current set of difficulties AND to gird you against future ones.

    I value the work you do and want you to remain free to do it.

  24. 42

    Even though I didn’t have the money to donate, I agree with all those who say hold on to until you’re back on your feet. I was happy to pass the news on via twitter and as a result I’ve gotten some interesting followers- including some christian group. I am sure they are so hoping I will follow them. I guess they don’t realize that I, and all atheists understand what they are up to.

    So hoping that all goes well and that you won’t have to face chemo- it’s really tough!

  25. DLC

    I wish I could have sent some cash your way. As it is, I’m fairly broke right now, but aside from the usual problems of an aging, overweight American, I’m in decent health. I can only say to you what I said on PZs blog about this: I hate cancer. and I’ll add in my best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.
    Best of Luck.

  26. 46

    I’m glad some generous people were able to help you when you needed it! Your blog is the first one I started reading regularly, and I’m glad to see so many other people care about you like I do! Payday was today and I was coming over to pitch in, but since you seem ok for now I think I’ll go donate somewhere else. This is a rough time for you, but I hope the love, respect, and caring from all the people you’ve helped is giving you and your family some comfort and strength right now.

  27. 49

    As a toddler atheist, raised in crushing religion that demonised anyone even slightly less religious, I’m beaming at all of this “Good without God”.

    You are treasured by your community of readers, and you deserve that.

    Sometimes something truly awful has to happen before we realise just how special we are to other people. I’m hoping that realisation will carry you and Ingrid through this with a sense of calm and positivity.

    Make it work. 🙂

  28. 51

    I’m very happy the community came together for this.

    It’s a reminder how fucked up our society is that this is even necessary, that someone diagnosed with cancer should have to worry about how to survive the survival.

  29. 52

    I’m sorry my payday didn’t happen before you reached your goal! But it’s awesome, and I’ll join the chorus of keep the overage, because you never know what’s going to happen that might make you need it.

  30. 55

    Just finished reading your book, and going through the archives of Jesus and Mo, since it was linked at the end and I’d never experienced it.

    I hate cancer with a passion, and am so happy this went well. If you find out you’re in a pinch again (I know how expensive cancer treatment can be), don’t hesitate to say so.

    @Aliasalpha – the book is a great read, definitely suggest a buy if you can.

  31. 56

    I second those who say hold on to it. It may NOT be more than you need. Being ill has a way of causing expenses you never counted on.
    If, when you’re all recovered, you have a surplus, then donate it.

  32. 57

    Greta, I am so happy that you got the money you needed to heal without the stress of worrying about bills, and I concur with those who said hang onto the surplus until you know you’re out of the woods with this. I just heard about this today and was on my way to donate when you posted this. In honor of you I will send another contribution to the Pineapple Classic 5k run here in the Pacific NW that Seattle Atheists are supporting to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I wish you speedy healing and renewed health, it’s been a tough year for you.

  33. 58

    I’m delighted to hear the financial side appears to be fixed. But I’ll echo everyone else. Hang on to the extra for now. Just in case recovery takes longer than expected, or in case the fridge, freezer, TV and vacuum cleaner all die in the same week (which happened to my parents once.)
    But for those we were waiting for pay day, may I mention that Natalie Reed is also having a crap time.>/a>

  34. 59

    Just a Christian chap passing through, interested in all thinking.Very pleased to know that you now have some financial security. Giving and receiving always make people feel loved and worthwhile. I hope you will not be offended if i pray for your good health

  35. 60

    Gosh — I am soooo glad you got more money than you need for now. I just want to echo what “mildlymagnificent” said in Comment #39: Please, please hang on to all of it. You just never know when unexpected expenses will happen.

    And I am very pleased that you feel loved and cared about — because we do love and care about you. You deserve it!

    Here’s hoping all goes very well for you this week and that you heal up very quickly, and that this surgery is all you will ever need, with no need ever for chemo or radiation.

    Hugs to you and Ingrid — and lovies to your kitties, too!

  36. 63

    Looks I was a little late to the party, but I did just order a copy of your book, finally. Glad to see that the initial response to your request generated so many contributions that you may not even need mine. I can’t wait for the book to arrive.

  37. 67

    I had a pause in following FTB recently because of just not having time to read through this stuff so I missed the original announcement of your diagnosis and all the issues.

    I’m so sorry that this is piling on you on top of your father’s recent death and I’m so glad that the weight of financial concerns has been taken off your shoulders.

    You remain and continue to be one of my favourite bloggers ever. Do what you need to do. We’ll be right here when you come back. <3

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