Hi there! My name is Topher Hester (although I have to use my birth name for this campaign) and I'm a massive Shinedown fan.
My goal is to try to see and meet them again this tour in Albuquerque. However, I can't afford travel, or a ticket, but I have a friend that will let me stay with them.
I know this may seem frivolous, but I wanted to share my story with you, so that it may make more sense on why this matters so much to me.
Many of my friends know that I have already seen and met them. These guys are my world, and this tour matters a lot to me, though.
This tour comes right in on a very important milestone to me- 6 months self-harm free. The reason I am able to make that milestone is because of Shinedown.
When I saw and met them on Halloween, it was the best experience I had ever had. I gave them bracelets and letters and they were the most amazing people to me. They were kind to me, and treated me well, and gave me an amazing experience. Eric Bass, the bassist, even posted a picture of him wearing the bracelet I made him, and said "Got this gift tonight with a very sweet note. Keep your head up. You're stronger than you think."
That tweet saved my life. I had only been clean for a couple weeks before I met them, but two days after Halloween, my mental health deteriorated far worse than it ever had before (for unrelated reasons) and I ended up in a psychiatric hospital for 21 hours. What was the best experience of my life gave way to the absolute worst. However, I was lucky: because of that tweet, instead of actually attempting to end my life, I went for help, and while I ended up in the hospital, I was still alive, and clean.
Within a week came the presidential election, another experience that drove me near to suicide with a lot of the hatred I faced from people for being transgender, and Zach Myers, the guitarist, actually kept me from doing anything to myself that night.
Shinedown is more than just a band to me. They're my reason for living. And seeing and meeting them again would give me a chance to really enjoy it, now that I have better support for my mental health.
My goal is $800, because that's about how much the plane and ticket I am aiming for would cost with the fees the site charges. I have until February 20th to raise this, and it would mean so much to me. This band has saved my life time and time again.
I would definitely be willing to try to do something in exchange, such as write small things that people want, or need, or proofread things as well. Any help is appreciated greatly.
Thanks so much,