If you've been reading my blog for very long, you might remember one post entitled A Friend Indeed. I changed the names, and waxed poetic about some details, but that is essentially the story of my college-era friend, Karen.
I met Karen in the GCC Concert Choir in 1990, and over the next couple of years, she became an important part of my circle of friends. Every group seems to have a center, and Karen was ours. We all took for granted that she was going to finish her degree and start helping people, while the rest of us tried to figure out our place in the world.
Unfortunately, Karen began to suffer from chronic fatigue, which turned out to be caused by something far more serious. By 1995 she was confined to her bed, and her condition has continued to deteriorate over the years. Her mother, Patsy, is a retired school teacher, and she has been taking care of Karen for the last 16 years.
Meanwhile, that circle of friends had dispersed, as such circles do, and all we could do from a distance was send cards at holidays and birthdays, and pray. Some of us can't even offer prayer. Kids, careers, and all the things that come along with a life seem to carry us away and we can't always keep up with our past. But that doesn't mean we don't care.
We've all been marveling about how the internet has changed in the last few years. Equipment prices have come down, technology has improved, and we've seen an explosion in sites like Facebook and YouTube that make it so easy to reconnect with old friends, and be involved in their lives again. Of all the people I have known who could benefit from being online, it is a crying shame that Karen has not been able to take advantage of all of this technology.
I've started the paperwork to form a charitable organization, and have set up a website (see below) for collecting donations. What I'd like to be able to do is collect enough to buy a computer for Karen, and find one of our friends in her area (the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area) to help set it up and make sure she has everything she needs to get online and communicate with us.
I don't expect everyone to chip in, but if you'd like to help, you can donate through the website at http://sites.google.com/site/friends4karen/ I've started a cause, "Friends of Karen", on Facebook to keep everyone posted on our progress and to discuss developments (such as, "What kind of computer should we get?").