-By Dr Craig
I have yet to get comfortable, even 18 years after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, with requiring the help of my friends to help me have the resources to meet my basic survival needs. I require near total care, 24/7.
So, for years, fundraising efforts have been required. This year, my beloved Michelle managed the printing and mailing 400 invitations, spent many hours soliciting donations for my November 17th Benefit Concert’s auction, negotiated arrangements with the venue and drafted an agreement, has been a leader in team communications, and has done even more. She does all of this, in addition to working over 50 hours/week and being a dedicated Mother. I am so grateful that Michelle is my beloved life partner. Our love is deep. Michelle was my first true love 30 years ago, and we were fortunate enough to reunite a little over three years ago.
My dear friend Sandy travels, over an hour after a long workday as a postal service mail carrier, every Thursday afternoon all year long to help me with typing, phone calls, caregiving, and sometimes fundraising efforts. On her way to my house, Sandy also stops at the store and picks me up some items I need. Her husband Phil is also helping out when I have needed items, and he will help Sandy at the benefit concert. Sandy has taken a leadership role with my benefit and has spent tremendous time planning the benefit, soliciting donations for my auction, promoting the event, managed the printing of admission tickets and graphic designs, and even hand crafted some fabulous items for the auction. Her daughter Madeline designed the ticket and flyer, as well as spent hours helping Sandy solicit auction items. Sandy is an amazing friend. Sandy is an incredible friend. Sandy’s kindness makes my life much better. Sandy is a special person with an amazing heart.
Ric, a friend from high school, volunteered to be an event coordinator when he learned about my desperate situation of being close to not having enough money to continue to meet my care expenses outside of a nursing home. Ric is proud to follow in the footsteps of his father, who frequently helped people in need with fundraising efforts. Ric secured a good venue, one block away from the house I lived in from first through fourth grade. He is also promoting the event and helping with the auction. I am grateful for the heart of this old friend.
My friend Joe LaBeau is orchestrating the musical entertainment for the event, and he has informed me that the entertainment will feature Erich Goebel and The Flying Crowbars, with special guests Paul Wiley and Joe LaBeau. This band has been featured in a Michigan public radio story about the blues in Motown. Usually, Joe will have several other guests perform and it is always wonderful. I played saxophone next to him in 6th grade band. Seven years ago when Joe learned about my condition and my need for a benefit, he stepped up and put together the entertainment and has been doing so ever since. I have very special memories of Joe at the events, feeling his heart.
My childhood friend Rob covered the expense of a mass invitation mailing to my supporters. Rob initiated the first Craig Oster Benefit Concert when he learned that my mother had used up the last of her inheritance from my grandmother to support my care. Rob is the attorney who established the Craig Oster Trust, pro bono. I love Rob. This year, he is also paying for the musical entertainment! I am fortunate to have this brother with such a big heart.
Kevin and Debbie Bennett are promoting the event in the media and volunteering at the event. Debbie has successfully arranged for an article to be published this past Thursday about my story and the amazing benefit concert this coming Saturday, in The Observer featured an article in the following editions: Westland, Garden City, Plymouth-Canton, Livonia and Redford. Kevin took care of the press release. Kevin was one of my best friends who I met as an undergraduate student. We went almost two decades without communicating, but when I contacted him for help with my desperate situation, he and his wife were there. I am grateful for them in my life. Their daughter Marissa has also helped.
The co-founder of THE HEALERS campaign, Carl Polonyi, is working in Las Vegas, yet is contributing significantly in the preparation of a great event. Carl has done so much to get THE HEALERS campaign where it is, and for that I am grateful! Carl Polonyi is an exceptional leader and innovator. Carl has given so much work on this benefit concert. There is hope for developing a commerce stream for THE HEALERS innovative ALS scientific research, because of Carl Polonyi and his dedicated efforts. He is a brother. We work well together, and I am so honored by his level of caring about my having secure care 24/7 so I may contribute to scientific knowledge about ALS as well as educating and inspiring many people. Carl was also instrumental in the development of THE HEALERS television series. This brother has given countless hours and has reached into his pockets considerably to help me develop THE HEALERS.
Coco and Roger Newton gave a donation that allowed me to continue living independently for a good number of weeks until this benefit concert could occur. It felt like God gave me the security through them, and I didn’t have to live in terror regarding my basic survival until the benefit could occur. Words could never express the gratitude that I feel in my heart. They were the answer to my prayers, and they have been very instrumental in my getting THE HEALERS television series proposal so far in Hollywood and in the progress of THE HEALERS campaign. They have helped me in important other ways, and this couple also assisted my Mother in ways that helped to save her life.
Speaking of my heroic Mother, Bonnie Conn-Oster, she will be at my benefit concert on Saturday the 17th! Last January, cancer was crushing her heart, windpipe and spine. Doctors said that beating it was not possible. Now, she is juicing herself! She also appears in THE HEALERS television series Hollywood reel, which will premiere at my benefit concert! My Mother helped save my life through unbelievable and extraordinary efforts. She has made a number of phone calls to help promote the event for me and even solicited auction items. My Mother did this even though she is still in a difficult place physically despite the cancer being gone, because so much damage needs to be reversed. I am so blessed with the Mother I have!
I am grateful to Troy Anthony Garriga, Jr, for producing a number of Hollywood sizzle reels for THE HEALERS television series that he and I developed, some of which will be shown at tomorrow’s benefit. Troy is working on getting the series on television. It is a long shot, but Troy believes in my mission to help people with my healing journey, and supports my goal of finding a way to take care of myself. His efforts have been nothing less than heroic. Most of his work on my behalf has been without pay. The Newtons paid the bulk of the money that allowed them to travel to Michigan and film for a week, my friend and advisor to THE HEALERS, Dr Kirk Laman and his wife Hassna, donated about one-fourth of what it took, and Dr Charles Glassman who is a member of THE HEALERS campaign advisory team made a donation for the filming of THE HEALERS. Troy brought Brandon Klock, a remarkable producer and videographer, to Michigan to film for THE HEALERS. Brandon was kind enough to place the reels on DVD so that they may be shown at the event. I am so grateful that all of these people believe in my cause enough to make THE HEALERS television series a possibility!
I could go on to talk about my other friends who are in some way contributing to the wonderful forthcoming benefit concert, and I want all of you to know how grateful that I am for your support and your love in my life. Although I require 24/7 total care and have extreme limits regarding what I am currently able to do physically and my life is exceptionally challenging, from the above brief summary you can see how God has blessed me with so many beautiful-hearted people .
If you live in the Greater Detroit/Ann Arbor/Lansing areas, I hope that you will consider joining us for an amazing 4 hour event! Click here for more information if you would like to attend. Click here if you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation to support my basic care, you may do so via secure online transaction or by mailing to the Craig Oster Trust PO Box.
With love and gratitude,
Craig Oster, PhD